Category: EC&I 831 (Page 2 of 2)

BREAD WEEK #1: Using YouTube, and Larry, to figure it out.

I did a lot of searching for an easy bread recipe to follow. I thought about starting with the Queen, Martha Stewart, and then dabbled in considering the bread master, Paul Hollywood. Alas, I decided to keep it simple for week one. I repeatedly came across mentioning and links to this YouTube video, featuring a man that seems to be pretty confident this is the easiest bread recipe for beginners. With over 8.8 million views, it must be a solid tutorial.  As Larry says, “If you’re a beginner, this is the place to start”.

Howdy, Larry.

So, let’s do this. I tried really hard to follow this video to the letter – I mention this because I have been known to just throw around a recipe and follow my heart in the kitchen just like my mamma taught me (huge shout out to my mamma, Val. She’s the best cook I know).

Baking is a different story. I figured I better stick to exactly what Larry tells me to. Here’s what happened.

Stage 1: I  got all my ingredients ready and was ready to rock and roll.

Stage one: Get the ingredients into the bowl and mix away.

I added the water and yeast in a giant bowl. I always thought you needed warm water and sugar to activate the yeast. Weird that I didn’t have to do that. Once that was in and I added all the other ingredients, it was time to knead the dough for 8 minutes. Yes. 8 minutes of kneading with my hands, which I thought would be no big deal, but let me tell ya. It’s no joke. Who *kneads* (see what I did there?) the gym, when you’re busy pushing and pulling dough? I have to say that kneading this dough was incredibly soothing. In the beginning the dough was very sticky, and I was super skeptical. I need to learn to relax and trust the process because eventually it all worked out and became incredibly pliable. Surprise! Following instructions works.

Working it for 8 minutes.

Once I was done, I put it into a giant bowl and covered it. I had to let it sit for an hour.  I thought you needed to let it rise in a warm spot. I found it weird that I didn’t have to do that as I clearly remember my mom doing that with her dough as I grew up.  I tried really hard not to peek during the hour, but I couldn’t take it. At 30 mins, I peeked. I panicked because it didn’t look like it was rising, so I moved it into warmer spot (under the window with the sun shining). It felt right in the moment, and I could hear Val’s voice telling me it needed some warmth. This was the only time I didn’t follow Larry.  Sorry, pal. Val knows best.

Peace out, dough. See you in an hour.

Stage 2: After one hour, I took the cloth off, and it really looked like nothing happened. I didn’t think it rose at all. I thought these things were supposed to double in size! Again, I need to learn to trust the process.  I took it out of the bowl, and as soon as I touched it, it definitely felt much bigger and lighter. The giant white bowl I used deceived me.  Once it was on my countertop, I found Larry’s method for shaping the dough interesting.  I had to spread it out, fold it over, make it into an odd, elongated triangle, and then roll it up into a log and plop it into the buttered pans.  Then, AGAIN, I had to let them rise, covered, for another hour. Honestly, woah. This breadmaking takes a really long time. Sigh. I was starting to lose my mojo.

Young woman lying buried her face in sofa feels tired

Not me getting tired of waiting.

Despite Larry not suggesting to let it rest in a warm place, I put it back under the window in the sun. It just felt right considering it worked out well the first rise. I tried my hardest not to peek again, but I couldn’t resist. They looked fantastic.

Ready for the oven!

Stage 3: After another hour of rising, into the oven they go. 40 mins at 400 F. The smell was incredible. Good thing I checked them at the 35 minute mark because I thought I smelled burning. They were starting to get a little dark on the top, so I pulled them out and brushed the tops with melted butter, just as Larry suggested, and let them cool.

I made that!

Stage 4: Get at it. It was soft, felt light, and, as Larry suggested “let’s butter a slice and giv’er a taste!”.  Delicious. My kids and husband also loved it. Half a loaf down the hatch, just like that.

DELISH. I hope you’re proud, Larry.


We will be crushing this all week.


Overall, Larry’s video was extremely easy to follow.  I had no problem pausing and rewinding where needed.  I realized that I didn’t use quick rise yeast as the recipe called for. I just used active dry yeast. Are these two different kinds of yeast? I’m not sure if this altered the recipe or not, but, clearly, I have 2 tasty loaves, so it doesn’t really matter. I don’t have much to be critical about except for the fact that I wish Larry would have told me how long the entire process takes. That’s my fault because I didn’t watch the whole video before I started. I will 100p do that next time. Now that I know this about this recipe, there’s no way I could bake bread after work….too many other distractions. This has to be reserved for a weekend when I have 4 hours “to spare”.   I started this at 2:40pm and didn’t get the loaves out of the oven until 6:40pm.  Four hours is a long time to spend baking bread.  Perhaps next week, I will see if there’s a quicker recipe – if that’s even an option. Am I totally naïve, or does baking bread always take this long?

So, Larry. Right now, since I have no comparison, I’d give it 4.5 dough balls/5.

fresh raw dough

fresh raw doughfresh raw doughfresh raw dough





Interested in making this recipe? Here’s the full video I followed. If you try it out, let me know your thoughts!

A legend in the baking…

Bready or not…here I crumb…

The learning project is right up my alley. Ideally, if there was enough time and money was no issue, I would choose either the cello (always been a dream of mine) or pottery (I don’t have a kiln).  So, I think I’ll stick with something in the realm of what I think I’m good at: cooking. BUT. I suck at baking. SO. I think I’d like to learn how to bake bread.  My family loves all things bread, and quite honestly, there is no greater smell than fresh bread. Adding a pat of butter onto a warm slice of homemade bread is divine. Of course, I’ve never filled my own house up with that smell because, frankly, it scares me. I am super confident whipping up a meal, but I have zero experience baking bread. I just head to Cobbs because it’s easy. Duh.

First, white bread.

Then, homemade buns.

Last, focaccia.

I’m thinking I will tackle three different types of bread throughout the next 6 weeks. Two weeks of trying two different recipes for each type of bread. PaulHollywood might be proud of me….

What do you think about that? Too easy? Too hard? Lay it on me.Baking Puns - Nice Buns

Not very social with the media….

Ahhhhhhh. The Facebook.

I first become acquainted with this soul sucking vampire of a machine when I got back from backpacking in Europe in 2006. I remember thinking this was the absolute coolest thing to exist since Napster. I quickly became enthralled and would spend countless hours looking at people’s profiles (let’s get serious: creeping), looking for people I used to know in high school to “connect” with, and posting my own albums of the experiences and events of my life.  In the beginning, it was glorious. It quickly became an obsession. I would sit on my brown chaise with my laptop and my dog, Magnum, at my feet and scroll. Loving people’s statuses, checking for comments and likes, and joining groups brought me joy. It was the only social media I really became hooked on. However, after a few years, I found myself starting to get annoyed with people. It seemed more like “bragbook” or a place where people would post cryptic statuses for attention. People started to get hostile. Political. Honestly, the vibe started to shift. I noticed my vibe started to shift. Then, one incident occurred that was the nail in the coffin. I was part of a mom’s group…you know, the kind of group that is supposed to be a community who supports each other and answers all the questions of the unknowns of motherhood and parenting. You know. A village.  The first red flag should have been that I had to be “accepted” – basically, I had to be recommended by another member and then the “leader” would let me in after several days of waiting. Once in, I quickly realized it was not as supportive as anticipated and there was way more attacking and mom-shaming than I ever wanted to be a part of.  Basically, I stood up for a mom and tried to clarify something, and was called a troll and attacked. I’m a sensitive soul, and even though I have no idea who these people are in real life, I did not like how it made me feel. I spent far too much of my mental load worrying about those keyboard warriors than I needed or wanted. So. That was it. I was done. It was sucking the joy out of my life. I deleted my profile about 5 years ago now and haven’t gone back. Peace out, Facebook.

Snapchat? No, thank you.
Tik Tok? No, thank you.
Twitter? No, thank you.

Instagram? Yes, please.

I love it. In my old-ish years, I recognize that I don’t need to follow anybody or comment on anything. What I love about Instagram is that I can just mindlessly scroll when I need to turn my brain off. It’s easy. I laugh a lot at memes or reels. I love sending them to my friends along with posts that just  make sense between us. I love the ideas I curate looking at teaching profiles. I love learning about how to incorporate BIPOC texts in my classroom and how to weave social justice topics seamlessly into my teaching and everyday life. I love being able to learn about being a mother or how to parent and raise resilient children and gentle boys. I love learning about mindfulness, self-regulation, the vagus nerve, and resilience from gurus like Gabor Mate.  I love having belly laughs with my friends over the simplest…and stupid…memes. I love feeling nostalgic when I watch all the throwbacks to the 90s.  I love bookmarking recipes and watching people cook all the food. I don’t have to belong to any groups. I don’t follow or watch anything that makes me sad or upset. I just keep on scrolling if it doesn’t appeal to me. I barely make posts. I have never in my life made a reel and have no intentions to.  Instagram is quick. It’s simple. It doesn’t suck my soul dry of joy – it does just the opposite.

To be clear: I don’t use social media to be social.  I use it to learn and laugh.  If I stop doing that, then peace out.

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