Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Gotta have the bread

Yesterday was procrastination-free: I was so busy I had to multitask my wicket cold with about a million other things, including the urgent mixage-uppingness of bread dough. And it occurs to me that while I have mentioned here my most amazing bread recipe - easy, delicious, and freezer-friendly - I haven't shared any yeast-management tips.

First up, use a wide bowl for the water over which you will be scattering your yeast. If it's too narrow some of it will get clumped up on top in a traffic jam that keeps some from getting wet and melty. Poke it down into the water and it will cluster together in a panic, the outermost yeasts sacrificing themselves to keep the innermost ones dry (and believe me, they will stay dry no matter how much you mix them with gooey flour.) If you try to get around the problem by straining the resulting mess into the flour, avoid spilling it all over the counter. But even if you do, odds are good it will still rise very well, particularly if you set a bowl large enough to completely cover your loaf pan full of dough. Here is the handiwork of my 32-cup Tupperware thingy under just such conditions:

I don't think I've used the giant bowl for much else, but it's so great for this that I've never regretted buying it. Now get out there and bake some bread - if not to eat, then to make your house smell great!

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