Hi friends! Happy January! How’s the year going so far? Like everyone else, I am trying to build better habits, eat more fruits and vegetables and get to the gym occasionally. Aside from all that, one of my favorite things for the New Year is to make a Culinary Bucket List. It’s a list of dishes or skills I want to learn over the next 12 months. This year it’s yeast dough. Yeast has always scared me. It can go wrong so quickly, yet when it goes right, it’s a glorious thing. Plus, let’s be honest here, a year of making different breads? Who doesn’t want to do that?
In the interest of full disclosure, I have taken a few baking classes that involved yeast dough. Making bread and dough in the security of a classroom environment (with skilled teachers around you) is one thing, doing it at home, on your own is quite another. This year, I am flying solo! A phone call or two to those aforementioned skilled teachers may (will) happen if I get stuck, but otherwise, it’s a journey of learning.
I also had a bread machine once. It now lives with my sons girlfriend. Using a machine to make bread is easy. It’s convenient. You don’t really have to do much. Put together ingredients, push a few buttons and wait. That is all well and good, and I’m not taking anything away from anyone who bakes that way. It’s a much better, in my opinion, when you can control the ingredients and make something healthy for your family. However, I want to get my hands dirty. I want to really understand how yeast works, what the dough should feel like, how it responds to different temperatures, different types of flour etc.
With all that in mind, here’s a very rough plan of what I’ll be trying to master each month! Huge thanks to Jenni Field from Pastry Chef Online who walked me through my list of breads and made suggestions for how to best arrange the recipes so they make sense for skill building.
January: No-Knead Bread
February: Yeast Waffles
March: Focaccia Bread
April: Pizza Dough
May: Pita and Naan
June: Dinner Rolls
July: Sandwich Bread
August: Cinnamon Rolls
September: Pull apart bread or doughnuts
With all that said, these things are subject to change because A) My oldest son is getting married in early April! Yay Weddings! B) My second cookbook is publishing in April (four days after the wedding!) Yay Cookbooks! And there are a few events happening for that. C) We are planning a 10 day trip to Disney World in late Fall, sooooooooooo…. hence the “very rough plan” on the above breads. Still, it’s going to be fun to experiment and get my hands sticky.
Do you have any thing you’d like to learn in the kitchen? What is the one dish you’ve always wanted to make, but never learned to do? Make this your year to do it!
If you like quick breads, here are some recent post ideas for your noshing pleasure:
Until next time, friends! Let’s go tackle our recipes and challenges with full-faith and confidence that we can do it!
From my kitchen to yours,