Loaf, actually

Never thought I’d bake bread at home. It seemed too technical for someone who uses her oven to reheat pizza and roast cauliflowers, too iffy. But I gave it a go last week. Thanks, entirely, to that wonderful thing called the internet!

My first loaf

I followed this excellent King Arthur Flour recipe for classic 100% whole wheat bread. Here is KAF’s wonderful step-by-step blog post with photographs. I followed the blog post closely, but did the kneading by hand. The recipe calls for 1/4 cup of honey, molasses, or maple syrup. Thanks to this entry in The Cook’s Thesaurus, I learned that I could “substitute 1 cup sugar for every 3/4 cup of maple syrup, then increase the liquid in the recipe by 3 tablespoons per cup of sugar.” Which I did.

Hey, wholesome! Crumb to me now.

The recipe says to “slice when completely cool.” Completely cool. Really? When you’ve baked bread for the first time and are dying to see how it turned out, is it humanly possible to wait that long? I waited 20 minutes after the loaf came out of the oven, 10 of which were spent taking pictures. For a first attempt at a yeast bread, I was thrilled at the outcome. A good-looking, great-tasting loaf. Substantial, but not too dense. Easy to slice.

Tastes great plain or brushed with butter. A dab of strawberry jam.

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