Fresh Sandwich Bread

I am positively in love with my Cuisinart Bread Machine, but I fully realize that filling a pan with ingredients and shoving it in a machine that does it all does not qualify as "baking bread." It's more like "making bread." Sure, it's better than eating the stuff from the store, but it doesn't take skill. That's my point.

So when my friend Renee, who also taught me to make perogies, agreed to teach me a thing or two about bread making, I was happy to learn. I can cook a mean meatloaf, but baker I am not. Honestly, though, after baking bread with Renee, I sort of feel like maybe I could do. Sort of....maybe. 

We used THIS RECIPE from The Hungry Mouse, which, is a fabulous website. 

So, to start you have to combine some warm water, yeast and sugar. And whip it. Whip it good. 

These are Renee's bread pans. They are Emile Henry (pronounced Emile "en-ray"). 

They are fantastically awesome and I want some. So if anyone wants to just send me some in the mail, that would be totally cool. If not, I understand. But hopefully Renee is gonna take me to their shipping center in December and we're gonna make a mad dash for them at a discounted price. *wink wink*

By this time we have spent ten minutes talking about the bakeware that I now feel I can't live without and the yeast is ready. So we added the flour....

And then we mixed it! By "we" I mean Renee mixed it and I took pictures. But to be fair, I did knead it later. 

Unfortunately I couldn't knead it and take pictures at the time. So you are going to have to use your imagination. BUT, I was really pretty good at kneading and for that I credit massage school. 

While I was kneading the bread, Renee was getting this Saran wrap ready by giving it a nice sheen of olive oil. The recipe calls for this, and while Renee said you can go either way on this step she was also careful to remind me that it's easy to do and so we should just do it. So we did. 

Cover your dough with your olive oil coated Saran wrap. 

Now we are going to let it sit for a long time. A long time being an hour. 

When our hour was getting close, we oiled these amazing loaf pans.  

Now for the fun part: punch that dough! REALLY HARD! 
If you want to, you can talk really mean to it too. The bread won't tell. You can yell something like, "You suck!" or "I hate holes in my sock!" Whatever you are mad at that particular day... 

When we were done abusing the bread dough, we had to cut it in half. I thought it looked like a butt. 

We then patted our two butt cheeks halves of dough into loaf shapes and allowed them to rise some more. 

And the we baked them..... 

Look how pretty!!!!! 

I thought that these came out perfectly, but Renee told me they hadn't risen the way she had hoped. My yeast was perhaps a little too old. I do keep it in the refrigerator, but I should probably buy some new yeast. Well, next time. 

Still, I was pretty happy with the results. It was yummy. 

There was one incident with the bread, though. My husband was like, "Can I have a piece?" And I was like, "Yes, of course!" Before I could say anything he took the knife and cut the WHOLE LOAF clean in half and took a piece of out of the middle. I was in shock. 

REALLY?! I said to him; followed by, "Who does that?!

Only my husband. 

But the piece did look perfect, didn't it?! 

So tell me, do you bake bread or buy it? What's your favorite type of bread??? 
Share your bready thoughts in the comments section below! 

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