Okay, here it is -- (drum roll please) -- a picture of my first ever homemade bread baked in my oven!!! To say I'm a little excited is an understatement of the greatest proportions. Now I know that for many of you (whom I envy and who put me to shame), you are probably saying to yourself, "What's the big deal about that? I bake bread from scratch all the time." Well, I'm not always the best of cooks, and baking bread is completely new to me.
My in-laws had given us money for Christmas (yeah, I know, I'm still talking about Christmas). We decided to buy a bread maker. I have made all of our bread since then, with the exception of hot dog and hoagie rolls. Several times I wanted to mix it in the bread maker and then bake it in the oven. Each time I would get the bread pan all ready, but when it would come time to take it out of the bread maker and put it in the pan I would panic. What if the kitchen is too cold for the bread to rise? And believe me, the kitchen is cold. What if the bread pan isn't the right size? I don't know what temperature at which to cook it; I don't know how long. (You're right, rather pitiful, huh?)
Today, I was mixing 100% whole wheat & honey bread, and again I got a bread pan all prepared to bake it in the oven. This time I DID IT! I actually put it in the oven. WOW! I tried something I had read about, that gave me that extra little "push" I needed. I put the bread in an unheated oven and set the temperature at 170 degrees. When the bread was increased double in volume, I turned the oven up to 375 degrees and baked it until it was done. (No more worry about the house being too cold for the bread rise.)
I will definitely be using this method again. Whahoo!!!