♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ = Very good!
As a beginner in baking, I know exactly how many times I’ve looked up a recipe online only to be dismayed by the final result. I often wondered if it’s because of my short-comings in the kitchen, but it turned out that most recipes that are out there are doomed to fail.
First, it takes time and effort to weed out the crappy recipes. Unless you know a baker, or an enthusiast who is willing to teach you how to, you’re on your own. First, find as many videos you can and see how many people tried it! Youtube would be your best friend when it comes to this, because you can see exactly what people are doing. It will take days to weed out the so called “wanna be bakers” from the “legit, I bake every other day” Don’t frown upon people who’s videos look a bit home-made, trust me, most of these people bake regularly and they know what they’re talking about. So, baking bread is not simple, but you can simplify it!
Proving bread.. place it in a warm draft free place.. yeah, this I notice is sketchy…. depending on the humidity and temperature of your kitchen, it’ll take more or less time to prove your dough. There is no definite time. My solution, turn the oven on the lowest setting before you start baking. Once it’s pre-heated, turn if off and place your dough inside, covered with saran wrap. First try 30 minutes, then check if the dough is doubled in size, if not add another 10 minutes… you get the picture. If you’ve never baked before, it’s better to use rapid rise yeast because you won’t have to deal with making sure your yeast is alive. In using rapid rise yeast, you eliminate the possibility of killing the yeast and then ruining the whole batch of dough. Be patient. For somebody who doesn’t like waiting, this is the hardest part. I get too anxious and excited to see the final product. Try to do other activities while you’re baking. It takes roughly about 15-20 minutes to mix and knead the dough, and another 1-2 hours of proving. Most of my mistakes were trying to cut my proving time in half, only because I think it looked like it has doubled in size…Oh yeah also keep track of the size of dough before you prove so you know if it actually doubled in size.
You don’t need fancy gadgets, i.e. dough mixer to make delicious bread. Trust me on this, a bit of elbow grease will get you there eventually. Being short also doesn’t help when it comes to kneading the dough with your bare hands. Try to elevate yourself to get more weight and leverage, or you can just ask a tall guy who’s not very busy to knead it for you….
If you like to know about history and more detailed explanation on breads/pastry, Joe’s pastry is the best place to start.
Sarah Kim = Japanese milk bread recipe