Warning! I’m addicted to baking bread. It’s going to be a problem.
My initial thought after baking my first whole wheat loaf was to move on to the next level, to challenge myself with a more complicated recipe. But after some extreme quality time with Google, I realized I needed to master some basics before proceeding.
As much as I wanted to healthify my bread, white bread flour is the best starter flour out there. Without getting into too much detail, it has to do with bread flour having a higher gluten content than all-purpose flour. More gluten means a stronger web of proteins in the dough which means it’s more difficult for the CO2 created by the fermented yeast to leave the bread. The more CO2 left in the bread, the fluffier it will be.
The next step was choosing a recipe. After more Google QT, I was dead set on making Emeril’s Basic Italian Loaf. Simple steps, simple ingredient list, I was sold.
1-3/4 ounces of yeast?? What the! I couldn’t even begin to figure out a way to split to recipe to utilize my 1/2 ounce yeast packet, and I’m a math girl!
I began my search again, more quickly this time, and found this recipe. The ingredient list was perfect, but the 31 steps were a little out of control. I decided to wing it.
I combined the ingredients and steps I liked the best from Emeril, food.com recipe 1, and food.com recipe 2, and came up with this:
It was more beautiful than I could have ever imagined!
The crust was crispy, but not too crispy. The inside was fluffy and flavorful. This loaf was simple and perfect, especially for beginners.