This is very much out of my comfort zone, so I wasn't expecting spectacular results. I decided to go for simple white bread, figuring once I had the technique down, I could experiment with different flavors (two varieties on my agenda: cheddar and cinnamon swirl!).
I used a no-knead recipe from The Italian Dish. The recipe is only slightly labor-intensive (I hesitate to say even that) and very easy to follow. I halved the recipe since this is my first time attempting bread and if it turned out disastrous, I didn't want as much carnage lying around to depress me.
My dough before letting it rise, covered.
My dough after letting it rise, uncovered - shortly before going into the oven.
My dough rose two hours in a bowl covered with plastic wrap before being placed in the fridge for two more hours. It rose for forty minutes uncovered while the pans preheated in the oven. Finally, I slashed it across the top and put it in the oven, fingers crossed.
That's what it looked like going into the oven. Nice, right? I was tempted to feel impressed with myself, but then I remembered how pretty my cherry danishes were before going into the oven, and I was humbled. I sat waiting anxiously as my bread baked, hoping it wouldn't be a catastrophe.
It baked for only twenty-five minutes. The color looked right ("a dark golden brown") and I didn't want to burn it.
It turned out GORGEOUS!
And not only that, but it tasted awesome. Especially with a thin layer of butter spread over its surface. Mmmm.
My family loved it and we almost ate the entire thing, since everyone had seconds and most of us went back for thirds, too. I know, we're indulgent. But it's that good. And such an easy recipe!
It's dense bread, not light fluffy sandwich bread - though I suspect a sandwich on it would be delicious. It's thick, chewy, and the flavor is phenomenal.
I can't wait to try this recipe again, but this time, with new flavors. I'm getting excited thinking about all the different things I can do with this new skill! Definitely give this one a try, if you can. You won't be disappointed!