TWD: Baking with Julia – White Loaves

I have never considered myself to be a baker. With the exception of masterful pie skills my grandmother passed on to me at 13 and the occasional chocolate chip cookie, I never had even been interested in trying to bake. About two years ago, though I found myself getting more and more curious about pairing down things to the basics and simplifying both my family’s lifestyle and also the way we eat. We moved out of the city into a farmhouse, got some chickens, started a garden. Suddenly I became obsessed with all things domestic, baking included.

About six months ago, I checked out both Baking with Julia by Julia Child and Baking From my home to yours by Dorie Greenspan, and spent the holidays baking and drooling over the baked goods and sweets illustrated in them. I am thrilled to be apart of the new Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) as I followed the last TWD which covered Baking From my home to yours.

So here goes. My first post on the white loaves. My only regret is that I wish I would have looked at the comments section sooner and added, like suggested, the cinnamon swirl to one if not both loaves. I know it would have been delicious. Either way I think they turned out well. I have baked these once before in December and remember being so amazed with out well they turned out. I have definitely had my struggles with baking bread and this recipe seems to always come together really well for me.

Perhaps the biggest struggle I face with bread is the exact way to fold the loaves after the first rise, so I was really glad to see that many of the posts fully illustrated a how to. As wonderful as Julia is about describing and illustrating everything, for a visual person like myself, pictures always help so much.

Another problem I have in the summer, is I never can find the right spot to get the bread to rise. Our kitchen remains relatively cool and I always feel that the proofing setting on my oven is going to ruin the bread somehow. During the winter however we run a wood burning stove and letting the bread rise by the fire works perfectly.

As others noted, my Kitchen Aid struggled. It started to smell hot and was quite warm to the touch. Julia suggested a medium setting, but I kept mine at the lowest and mixed just a bit longer, which seemed to work just fine. If I had more time, I most likely would have just kneaded it by hand, but the mixer does help when it comes to multitasking.  Overall a great start and I am looking forward to the challenge of the tartlets coming up.

If you are interested in the full recipe you can find it on the host blog: Someone’s in the Kitchen, or you can buy the fabulous book Baking with Julia, which is well worth the investment.

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