At the time I STARTED writing this post, I'm sitting here in an apron waiting for my new powder-blue vintage-y egg timer to buzz, which will mean that my FIRST EVER attempt at yeast bread is done and ready for evaluation.
Everyone's afraid of yeast, and I never understood why. But now I do. Because it's like having a million other little people in the kitchen, and they're VERY picky, and they want things just-so, and they're going to make your life miserable for you if you don't give it to them. Besides that, EVERY source on yeast says something different about how to treat it.
...so I made up my own source, bastardized a bit from Paul Hollywood's "100 Great Breads" that I've been using. The dough got doughy, which was right, but then I had to solve a wee little problem: I live in Seattle, and it's hard to find a good spot for dough to rise, because our house is always cold.
Paul Hollywood says that yeast doesn't necessarily need to be warm in order to rise, but I don't exactly trust that, so finally I went with some advice from one of my favorite blogs, 17 and Baking. She said to microwave a cup of water for 3-4 mins and then stick the bowl with the dough in the microwave. Since its warm and humid in there, it's a great spot for the dough to rise.
And it did! It poofed! Very exciting, though I wonder if it poofed quite enough...but I left it to rest for MUCH longer than Paul Hollywood suggested, so I figured it was fine.
It's an English Cottage Loaf, so it has a very specific old-timey shape to it, which I matched exactly before shoving it in the oven.
And then, 30 minutes later...
Yay! I made a Cottage Loaf!
It came out with a nice crunchy crust and a soft buttery center. I'm thinking it COULD have poofed a bit more, as it came out a bit dense, but overall I think it was a pretty good first attempt at yeast bread!
So now, ENDING this blog post, I feel flushed with victory. And now it's on, yeast. I've caught the baking bug. It's SO ON.