Thursday, February 12, 2015


Even though I have managed to make some respectable Danish, croissants and caramel rolls, I struggle with bread and dinner rolls. They either come out not baked through or like hockey pucks and with each failure I became more despondent. I decided to give it one more try, carefully measuring all the ingredients, getting the right balance of liquid and flour - and when I pulled the pan out of the oven, I discovered I'd created BREADZILLA!!!

Evidently my dough was a bit too wet, the loaf rose and blew like Mount Vesuvius, bread dough cascading down each side and consuming the pan. It could have been molded into a bread wig. I was ready to give up, then heard that my friend, Eva, was making 30 dozen dinner rolls for a scholarship dinner at the school, all by herself and by hand. I asked if I could come observe, take pictures and learn from a master bread baker, I even offered my services of washing dishes.

Eva was hard at work with her first batch of dough, she measured, mixed, beat and kneaded, all the time giving me her tips.
 Don't use soft water to activate the yeast, salt interferes with that process - Eureka! I never knew that!
 Do use a thermometer to determine the correct temperature of the liquid, do not go over 120 degrees! 
Add flour sparingly and knead, knead, knead.
The final ingredients should be salt and fat, refer to tip #1. Eureka!
Eva said the sweeter the dough, the less it should be handled, now I know why I'm successful with sweet rolls. Pizza dough, on the other hand, needs to have the crap beat out of it, that is why you see these guys slinging it around in the air above their head. Which I have never tried but I'm up for the challenge.

Eva made 37 dozen rolls in one day, by hand, she's The Woman! I decided today was the day to take my new found knowledge and make a loaf of bread that was edible.

Eva mixed all 37 dozen by hand....

.....I believed that is why I purchased a Kitchen Aid stand mixer.

Moving from a whisk to a big spoon, Eva continues mixing flour into her dough....

.....while my Kitchen Aid's whisk goes merrily around and around the mixing bowl.

It's time to get tough, Eva scrapes her dough out of the pan, onto the counter and begins kneading....

.....while I switch out the whisk for the dough hook and let my Kitchen Aid earn it's keep.

You don't want to get in an arm wrestling contest with this woman!

It is still a crap shoot about how much flour to use but after the dough pulled away from the sides and formed a ball......

.....I used another tip from Eva, the Window Pane Test. You take a ball of dough and start stretching until it makes a little window pane, if it falls apart, it needs more flour or kneading. I think it's ready!

It raised for an hour, I punched it down, stretched it into a rectangle, folded in thirds and fit it in  the pan.

After another raising, I was getting my hopes up...... Mount Vesuvius this time!!

But will it taste as good as it looks??

Yes, YES, and YES!!!!!

I really should have made a loaf for Bruce too, Burp!


  1. Ha! I laughed out loud at your breadzilla! But your remedial products were prize-winners! My arms ached when I read about 37 DOZEN Rolls, hand-kneaded, groan...what a gal. Yeah, the mixer is a God-send for sure!

  2. What a beautiful loaf! I think you have mastered it - and even after you HAVE mastered it, there will be times when it just doesn't seem to look right - but it always tastes good, especially when it is toasted with strawberry freezer jam on it! What a great post! Hope you are feeling alright......Love, Janet

  3. Great post Julie. Good Grief that's a lot of bread, and she doesn't look like she's even breaking a sweat, all that kneading. Your loaf was a success, it looked perfecto - do you make your own jam?? it looked delicious!! I use the mixer for the Pioneer woman's pizza dough, it's not bad but I'm still on the hunt for a GREAT crust. I should try Joyce Strasser's recipe again, I made it the summer I babysat Brian while Janet waited...and waited....for Christine to come. Fresh bread in this cold winter sounds wonderful, and your pictures look perfect!