The Tragic Optimist

more bread baking

Chris got me a new bread baking book for my birthday, Baking with the St. Paul Bread Club (I’m all about the bread babking by local authors).  I’ve been quite happy making my Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, so  I was initially unsure about trying it.  The ABi5 recipes are easy, they require no kneading, no proofing, generally nothing more than stirring the ingredients and some space in your refrigerator.  But Chris brought up the fact that ABi5 has given me confidence to try more baking and thought that I might want to try some other techniques and recipes.  And honestly, I haven’t been making much bread recently, mostly because the ABi5 makes enough for 4 loaves, which is awesome in the winter when I want to bake all the time, but less great in the summer when I do a lot less baking.

So I gave it a try.  I started with a whole wheat sandwich bread that used buttermilk, because we had buttermilk that needed using.  I messed up the proofing the first time – I didn’t bother measuring the temperature of the water, and it was too hot and killed the yeast.  The second time, the water was too cool, but a little sugar solved that problem.  Otherwise, the recipe wasn’t hard at all.  And in some ways it was nice to have a faster bread – it requires less time to rise since you knead the dough.  Zoe and I did the mixing and kneading Sunday morning, we hit the farmer’s market for lunch, and got back just as the dough finished rising and popped it in the oven.  The resulting bread was good, but I think next time I might make it with honey rather than brown sugar.  I really like the honey flavor in bread.  It’s perfect for sandwiches, and has stayed fresh for the rest of the week.  I’m willing to give a couple of other recipes a try.  I’m not abandoning my ABi5, but I think I’ll probably use those recipes more in the winter, when I’m going through batches of dough more frequently.

Ok, truth be told, I mostly just wrote that so that I could share this video of Zoe kneading the dough (I already shared it on facebook, so if you’re a fb friend you’ve already seen it, but you know you want to watch it again).  As if the resulting bread wasn’t enough, this makes me want to bake a lot more bread:



  1. Roopa

    Ann – I love how Zoe is baking at 2. Even better – I like the apron with “Artist at Work” – we need more expressive artist like her in general. Side note: I was starting to laugh roughly around the same time the camera started laughing too – before coffee, this was actually very amusing to me.

  2. Oh she is TOO adorable! I love this video! An instant classic in your collection, I’m sure. 🙂

  3. Charlotte loved this video of “Dosie,” as she calls Zoe. We had to watch it several times, and Charlotte started making her own kneading and slapping motions.

  4. Ha- cute video. Hi, I’m Barbara from Fairhaven Health. We manufacture natural, doctor-designed products to help couples conceive. We offer supplements, teas, diagnostic tools, etc. including products such as FertilAid for Women and Men.
    I’ve been reading your blog and you’ve got some great content! If there’s interest on your part, we’d be happy to send you product samples for you to review or to use as giveaways. Just fyi, we’re by no means a large pharmaceutical company and are committed to helping women conceive safely and naturally.
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  5. How sweet! That would make me want to bake bread all the time.

  6. geeksinrome

    she is amazing! I love her technique — she’s a real pro 🙂
    the only thing baking over here is us humans with highs in the upper 90s & probably 100 today. blah.

  7. ahhhhhhhhhhhhh! she is way too cute! ivy smiled at her (we watched it together!)

  8. How cute! I can’t wait to bake with my Zora (“zo” on my blog). Thanks for stopping by. Sorry it took me for-evah to return the favor. Did you know that I am a librarian, too?

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