Friday, June 27, 2008


My affair with yeast started a while ago. We were first wary of each other. Then we tried to work together. Nope - back off and wary again. We tried not to make eye contact every time I opened the freezer.

People inadvertently bombarded me with their yeast success stories - especially here and here. There was a little hope - if this didn't work, I was going to donate the damn thing to someone more worthy!

It worked. And it was Brilliant. And I love Yeast. All's well that end's well.

When I read Siri's post, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for. She also referenced TFL, which is a bread baker's bible. I followed her advice word-for-word. Hey, you might not win any awards with this bread, but you'll feel like you did.

Basic Basic Basic Bread.
(followed from here)

3 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 tsp Fleischmann's RapidRise Yeast (1 sachet)
2 tsp Salt
1 1/4 cups warm Water

Mix all the ingredients together. It shouldn't be too sticky. Just enough water for it to all come together. Knead for 10 minutes. As you knead, you will feel the dough become smooth and elastic - it's an unbelievably cool feeling. It will feel like silk! Okay, I was just really happy!

Put it in a greased bowl and cover and keep in a warm place. In the Chennai heat, any place in my house would be warm enough, but I was so scared of the yeast, that I kept it in a tiny room without ventilation, lights on and covered.

So TWO HOURS later (you need only 45-90 minutes, depending on how warm it is), I finally got the courage to check. And it had not doubled.... it had TRIPLED!!! As my daughter says, Hurrah!!

I punched it down - this is a great feeling too - you can see it collapse in front of you. Then kneaded it a couple more times - I did about 2 minutes of kneading. And put it back in the greased bowl. Leave it alone again in the warm place. I checked after 30 minutes - and.... it had doubled again!

Now take it out of the pan, shape into a loaf (I did a very rough rustic French loaf-type shaping - yes, very rough!). But you can shape it into baguettes or in a loaf pan.

Leave the bread alone again for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180 deg C. I also followed Siri's advice and put a tray filled with about a cup of water on the lower rack of my oven. Make long scores on the bread with a very sharp knife to give those gases an escape route. Prepare a little egg wash and brush the top of the loaf with it - this step is purely optional but I was hoping to get the nice crust.

Then put the loaf on the upper rack. I have a toaster oven, which is very small by oven standards. So was a little unsure if it would have enough room, but it did.

It baked for exactly 40 minutes.

And - Voila! - Freshly baked bread! As I'm typing this post, the bread has already been devoured (I'm glad I got those photos!). It was soft and lovely and delicate with a crunchy crust. I loved it.

Thank you, Siri! I hope to have many more bread baking adventures!

I'm sending this to Nupur, who is hosting July's MBP, Less is More. It was incredible how FOUR simple ingredients, can transform into such beautiful food. MBP was originally started by Coffee, for bloggers to blog-hop!


Raaga said...

Lovely... both of us and our fear of yeast!!

Nags said...

it was a wonderful feeling when i baked bread too.. it didnt come out perfect but it left me feeling so happy :)

Nupur said...

What a wonderful, joyful post! Congratulations on that handsome loaf!! And thanks for a great entry :)

Siri said...

:Clap: :Clap: Anu.. Lovely looking bread.. and we both did a nice job (minus my wastage of 3 cups of flour in first try!) in our first ever bread baking.. don't u think!!

.. and Can I send my bread post to Nupur?.. do let me know da!


Siri said...

..and I just love love the 4th pic.. its so beautifully taken!!..:))

Asha said...

WOW! That's 3rd bread I saw today, looks great. Enjoy, Nothing like fresh bread, right? :)

Ranjani said...

DANG girl!
You made bread...!!!!
That is really imprtessive:)

A&N said...

the bread looks nice! I really like the idea of egg-wash on top but I guess butter isnt a bad idea either?
Good luck with all your future bread-ventures :)

A&N said...

And the Aruvaamanai.....reminds me of my Amma and Paattis :)

Arundathi said...

lol @ raaga!

Nags - yes, I've been smiling all day for no reason! :)

Nupur - You are very welcome, and a lovely theme for the event! :-)

Siri - so exciting!! thanks - i loved the 4th pic too!

Asha - Must be a bread baking month! :)

Ranjani - You got that right, girl!! :D And you know that if I can do, anyone can! :-)

A&N - Thanks for stopping by. Now why didn't I think of the butter!! d-uh! next time! :)

Jeena said...

Oh how I love the smell of fresh bread and oh how I could smell it looking at your pictures!

click said...

once you bake bread, there's no going back. it's good you get yeast easily in india.

vegeyum said...

Oh well done! That first try is always the hardest to get to and then you wonder why you never did this before! Fabulous loaf - I so want a slice.

Cham said...

The slice looks so good :)

Sunshinemom said...

Great start! I am sure the affair is going to continue, and we will be witnesses to more yummy breads!

Aparna said...

Welcome to the world of bread. I started this way and now avoid store bought bread, if I can help it.:)

arundati said...

awesome awesome awesome anu!! i havent had the nerve to try a loaf yet....but after this am heading off to proof some yeast!!...can this go the whole wheat way??

Rajani said...

Arundhati, I know exactly how you feel - these days I am baby stepping the baker's aisle myself! congratulations on the first bread and may you enjoy many more. pls. drop by my blog and see what I did this friday!!!

Jamie said...

There is something so wonderful about bread, and it's even better when its homemade! It looks fantastic!

DK said...

Now that u have entered the realm of bread baking - there is no going back - u will get totally sucked into it and get totally addcited! Whoa! did i sound scary ;-) hehe! Its a good thing - and urs is simply pro looking - mm hidden talents coming out ;-) and U say u had fear of Yeast????? ;-)

Sagari said...

lovely looking breaddd arundhathi

Sagari said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pearlsofeast said...

great so u finally managed to solve the yeasty mystery.It is really great feeling to bake bread and me too now love to do them at home.U bread looks soft and great.

Arundathi said...

Jeena - :) thanks a lot! yes - the smell is incredible!

Click - yes, i think there's really no going back - I've become hooked.

Vegeyum - yes, it took me several years, believe me! Thanks!

Cham - thanks!

Sunshinemom - I do hope so! :)

Aparna - thats so great - not sure if i'll get to the stage of not buying any store-bought, but i can feel it coming on!

Arundati - Yay yay!! you are making your own pizza - you have to make this. Hmm you can do 1/2 APF and 1/2 whole wheat but don't do all whole wheat for your first loaf, only because it's a different texture. *I think*

Rajani - I stopped by and saw that - very very cool! :)

Jamie - Thanks girl! Yes, there's nothing like home made huh!

DK - Yes, I feel like I'm getting sucked in already - know just what you mean. Yes, actually still a little wary and wondering if it'll suddenly stop loving me again! :)

Sagari - Thanks!

Pearlsofeast - Oh thats so great that you make your own bread! Lovely feeling!

Divya said... your bread..looks too good and the joy of making your own bread must be immense!!
can you suggest any other yeast which is available in chennai?or frm whr did you get the one you have mentioned?thanks in advance.

Jude said...

Looks good... There's nothing like the smell of baking bread is there?

Arundathi said...

Divya - You can use the fresh yeast from Nilgiris - it works very well. Just substitute the same amount but dissolve in water first and make into a paste first

Jude - There's really nothing better. I'm so addicted! :-)

Nidhi said...

Finally I can try my hands on Bread, thanks to the recipe so simple.

Where did you find Fleischmann's RapidRise Yeast in Chennai?

Nidhi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Arundathi said...

I got mine from the US but you can get it at Parry's Corner in Chennai. I found that out after I'd gotten mine - and was so glad I did! :D Do try the bread - its addictive!

Manasi said...

HiArundhati, I am garnering the courage to try bread previous attempts ahve been disasters... I hope i can get the results like u did !

Arundathi said...

Manasi - this is a no-fail recipe - do try it!

recipe man said...

wow this looks great! im sure to try this out


Arundathi said...

Recipe man - I hope you enjoy it. thanks.

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Arundathi said...

Sharon - Thanks for stopping by. Will drop in and see your blog...

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