Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘bread’

Afraid To Fail – Silly, But True

Posted by terrepruitt on December 15, 2011

I have a Nia student who bakes bread all the time.  Challah to be exact.  YUM!  Several times when I’ve gone to her house she answers the door with flour on her.  I have another friend who bakes bread and pizza dough and yummy things all the time.  She even makes her own little slider buns.  So cute.  So yummy.  I am a bread lover.  Bread it awesome.  Bread is so versatile.  I love bread.  It is absolutely silly that I don’t make my own bread.  But I was afraid of yeast.  I know that sounds ridiculous, especially to you bread makers, but it is the truth.  The whole “active” and rising and “proofing” just scared me.  What if it wasn’t active?  What if it didn’t rise?  What is proofing anyway?

I was talking with someone who was telling me someone else wasn’t doing something.  We were trying to figure out why.  Why wouldn’t this person want to do that?  The person talking suggested it was because she was afraid and didn’t want to fail and her comment was, “So what?  Fail, but at least you tried and you can do it again.  Do it until you don’t fail.”  Ah-ha!  It was one of those moments.  What I was not doing because I was afraid of failure was much less serious than what we were talking about.  I am being vague to protect the innocent.  🙂  But believe me, yeast is a lot less serious and traumatic than the other situation.  So I realized how silly I was being.  It’s bread.  It’s yeast.  Whoppedee-do, if it doesn’t work.  Granted I wouldn’t want to waste all the ingredients that go into it, but it is not THAT big of a thing.

Dance Exercise, Nia teacher, Nia class, Nia student, Nia San Jose, San Jose NiaI had even bought the yeast a long time ago (well, not THAT long ago because then again, don’t want it not to be able to be activated).  So I decided to start with something I think of as even easier than bread—pizza dough.  Now you might know that I think of both sandwiches and pizza as the perfect foods.  They are bread/grains, veggies, dairy, and meat —- perfect.  Even more perfect because you can eat it with your hands.  Anyway . . . . I found an easy pizza dough recipe.  After going back and forth, “Do I follow the directions on the yeast package or the directions on the recipe?” I decided to just go with the recipe.  Actually, now that I am typing this up, I bought the yeast to make pita bread, but I let it sit until I had the above mentioned conversation at which time I decided to try pizza dough because I felt it was easier.

Anyway . . . my first shot was ok.  The flavor was good but it was very “bready”.  It was REALLY THICK, so I decided on my next try I would split the dough up and make two crust.  But the second one didn’t rise nearly has much.  Ya see, the recipe says to let the dough rise for 30 minutes.  But a few of the comments said they let it sit longer.  So I did that.  I let it sit for hours, then I rolled it out to as large as my pan, which seemed pretty thin to me, but during the baking it puffed up.  It was like thick crust pizza.  So that is why I decided to split it the second time.  But the second time the ball of dough seemed smaller, so I used it all and rolled it thin and it still puffed up.  Not as puffy as the first time, but thicker than I wanted.  I like thick crust, but I was trying to make thin(ner) crust pizza.  After I cooked it —- and we ate it, I thought, “Oh the temperature.”  Was that it?  Did it not rise as much because it was colder the second time?  I didn’t think about that until AFTER all was said and done.  But it was much colder in the house the second time than the first time.  So bready-people/pizza dough makers the temperature that the dough is left to rise in affects it, huh?

Here is a picture of my second pizza.  This is two meals.  Mine is the bottom portion, a half with spinach and mushrooms, and one with just spinach.  The top portion has mushrooms and raw onions for my hubby.  He is not a bready person, but he says he like the pizza even though the crust is REALLY thick.  I will keep at it.  I will experiment and play.  Now that I am not so afraid to fail I can play.  I am sure that one of these days I will get some bad yeast or I will do something wrong, but that is ok, at least I tried . . . . . and I look forward to all the pizza it will give us!

Posted in Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Beer Bread – Less Sugar, More Herbs

Posted by terrepruitt on August 27, 2011

I would not be surprised to learn that I was one of the last people to learn about beer bread.  This past June I was at my mom’s and she said she would whip up some beer bread.  As much as I love bread I have never tried to make it because, yeast is a scary mystery to me.  So I was curious as to how she was going to “whip” it up.  I knew that to mean quick and not whipped like whipping cream so I wondered how that could be done.  Yeast has to set, right?  She and my niece did it and I was amazed and thrilled.  It is so easy.  There are really thousands of sites on the internet that have beer bread recipes.  I found that out when I went looking for recipes that call for “self-rising” flour.

Nia classes, Nia teacher, Nia San Jose, Nia Los Gatos, San Jose Nia, Nia teacher loves breadMost of the recipes — the easy ones are 3 cups of self-rising flour, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and 12 ounces of beer.  Bake at 375°F for about an hour.  The first time I made it I actually handled the dough too much and I think it came out tough.  I had mixed it a lot then, had a hard time putting it in the pan.  It kind of sticks to whatever you use to try to push it to the corners of the pan.  Then AFTER I had spent some time fitting it into the pan I realized I should have greased the pan so I popped the dough out, greased the pan, and spent a considerable amount of time getting the dough back into the corners.  Kinda made it tough.

The next time I was careful NOT to play with the dough so much.  And it came out better.  Plus I used less sugar.  I know it is only three tablespoons, but it makes the bread too sweet for my tastes so I probably used about a tablespoon less.  I added salt (yeah, I did), garlic, and cheese.  I used Asiago because that is what I had and I wanted something with a gentle bite to it.  It turned out REALLY good.

I am not sure if I made it again before this very last time.  Hmmmmm . . . . can’t remember.  I don’t think so.  Even though I love bread, my hubby is not so much the bread fan, so that means I end up eating most of it and I don’t need to do that.  Even though I love that fact that there are less chemicals and stuff in this bread it is still an uber refined carb and I can always use to eat less of those!

This last time I made it with two tablespoons of sugar.  I have yet to pour the butter on top as most recipes instruct.  My hubby and I usually put butter on it so I don’t feel we need to have double butter.  In this batch I used garlic salt, garlic powder, and marjoram.  I love marjoram.  So I sprinkled some into the dough.  It is good.  It could even do with more marjoram.  I just wasn’t sure so I did use a lot, but now I know it works I can put more in.  You can barely see the flakes in the bread.

I still want to try it with other herbs.  Or maybe even a heavier beer?  And definitely even LESS sugar.  I might even try eliminating the sugar all together.  Since this really is a well-known recipe and I am thinking many of you have made it, what have you used?  Have you added any other herbs?  What typed of beer do you use?  Have any of you tried it with a gluten free flour?  Does it work?

Posted in "Recipes", Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »