It’s good to bake bread

As some of you may know, my latest cooking interest is bread. Inspired by the Food network and such anime as Yakitate Japan, my epic adventures began with my trusty copy of Joy of Cooking. I started with “White bread”.

It was exciting. Words cannot describe the abject wonder I beheld before my eyes. It was my first yeast bread, and the fluffiness and mystical yeast-powered rise felt like a magic trick that I would love repeating. I had the same feeling the first time I processed my first roll of black and white film. In hindsight, I didn’t knead the dough long enough, and was too impatient for the last rise, so the bread ended up being a little dense and the structure a little too fine. Anyway, I’ve baked several times since then.

I made the above loaf with whole wheat flour, so I could pretend to be all healthy and “artisan-like”. I used 5 cups of whole wheat and 1 cup of all-purpose, if memory serves. This bread was reasonably flavorful, but I think the heaviness of the whole-wheat flour prevented the dough from developing a higher rise, so it was somewhat dense too (though not as dense as the first loaf). I used the same recipe as “white bread”, with just the flour substitution.

The above loaf was done with a recipe taken from the very same inspiring anime. This was the “easy” recipe that” even the producers of the show” could handle. The strange thing about this recipe is that it’s baked in a rice cooker. Again, I used the whole wheat flour, and the result was crusty, but moist. Again, I was a little impatient and the final rise was a little short.

I’ve baked other loaves too… but I only *occassionally* feel the need to take pictures. You might feel that I already have too many pictures, but this is my blog, isn’t it? 😉

This is my latest bread “creation”. It’s the challah recipe in Joy of Cooking, with 50% whole wheat flour. The loaves don’t look as richly golden as I had hoped, but my oh my, the taste is good. You can see that the loaves are a little squashed and the braids aren’t as round as they should be, and I’m not really sure why. I do know that the dough was pretty sticky even after I finished kneading, but I did knead as long as I was supposed to, and it was indeed pretty elastic. The texture this time is the best I’ve ever done. It’s smooth, moist, and elastic. The crust is nice and crispy but not like the tough armor that many “artisan” breads have. It is that tough baked cladding that I never want in my bread, since it tends to hurt my gums when I bite in.

Anyway, do let me know if you have any tips. I’d like to bake alongside someone who is actually *good* at making bread, so I know where to adjust my technique.



  1. Do you have Solar Hands?

  2. Sadly, no. Though, with training, I may achieve the Solar Gauntlets.