Adventures in Bread-Making: Attempt #1

We’ve been obsessed with the Great British Bake-off for quite some time now. After watching all the warm and toasty morsels they’ve made, I knew I wanted to expand my baking skills and try baking some loaves of my very own.

We recently received a Le Creuset from Alex’s Aunt Lena as a wedding gift. So when I saw the recipe for the Le Creuset bread with minimal kneading, I knew I needed it in my life.

I borrowed Alex’s mom’s KitchenAid stand mixer and set to work on Sunday morning. I had done lots and lots of research on Friday at work… watching YouTube videos of recipes like this one by Cutlery and More, reading blog posts like this one from The Kitchn about making a sourdough starter, and searching through photos of the most gorgeous baguettes. I decided to follow this recipe by Kitchen Joy because it seemed easy to follow and didn’t take over 24 hours to produce a final result.

I mixed together 4 cups of bread flour, 1 tsp. of salt, 1 tsp. active dry yeast, and 1.5 cups of warm water in the KitchenAid. The ball of dough formed (although in retrospect, I should have mixed it longer). Then, in my frenzy of getting out the door to see our friends at noon, I totally messed up and left the dough to rise… in the fridge. BIG MISTAKE.

When we came home almost 7 hours later, my dough didn’t double in size because the temperature slowed down the yeast. I took the dough ball out, rolled it around, and waited for it to reach room temperature. I also added a tablespoon of olive oil which gave the dough more elasticity and made it easier to roll.

After I let it rest at room temperature for about an hour, I put it in the Le Creuset and prayed to the bread gods. Keep in mind, it was about 8:30PM on Sunday night so I was eager to start baking even though I knew I should have let it rest and rise longer. I baked it for 30 mins. with the lid on, then removed the lid and baked for another 30 mins.

I was so nervous, but the result was glorious! Golden, crunchy, and aromatic! See it in action on our Instagram Story. :)

There’s definitely room for improvement, but like our homemade pasta, I’m so pleased with my first try. We’ve been eating a slice for breakfast every day this week and even toasting some with garlic and herbs to make croutons.

Notes for next time

  • Knead dough longer. Potentially add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil.

  • More salt + add garlic to the pockets