Progress report: my bread making skills are improving!

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know I’ve struggled with making food with yeast.

I wrote about my best attempt in 2010 in a post entitled Yeast: My Nemesis no More.

This bread worked…sort of. But it was a bit dense and flat.

Even if yeast wasn’t entirely my nemesis, it was still a bit of a bother.

You might recall my dismal attempt this fall to make French Bread.

What I ended up with was a paddle without the holes.

Well, I was out of bread this weekend and I was inspired by reader Amanda’s clear instructions on how to make Amish bread. I took a deep breath and gave it a go.

Ready to see how I did, on my third try making bread by hand?

Yeah, I impressed myself. It actually looked mostly like bread this time! And it smelled…delicious!

It even sliced mostly like sandwich bread…

And I was even able to turn it into a grilled cheese sandwich for my daughter! It’s actually very tasty bread!

I learned a few things through following Amanda’s MOST helpful instructions and on this latest try, but the most important being this:

GIVE IT TIME. I think this is the key! In the past, I’d read and followed the instructions to a T. So if it said, let the dough rise for an hour, I’d give it exactly that amount of time. Worry more about how the dough is looking than what the recipe says. For this bread, I found I actually needed to give it a full two hours for the first rise. I think I needed to have given it another 15-20 minutes to rise in the loaf pan and it would’ve been perfect.

I’m certain that with another 2-3 tries I’ll have this bread making skill finally under my belt!

Is there a recipe that you’ve been working to master? Do you make your own bread from scratch like this?


  1. Donna Y says

    I am not a favorite in the bread making club. So, that is why I called defeat and starting using the infamous Bread Machine. It still has it’s problems but atleast the bread is not a complete disaster. And then I can atleast put more of the blame on the bread machine. 😀

    • arussell says

      I’ve never used a bread maker, but could see why one would be handy! Over the past year and a half or so, I’ve had a fascination with cooking items from scratch. It’s kind of become a hobby of mine I suppose!

  2. Shira says

    Congratulations!!! It looks delish! I bake all my own bread from scratch every week since July 2010. You rarely catch me buying bread in the market. If it’s ok I’d love to post a link to my favorite bread recipe. Also a few key things for me is try not let the salt touch the yeast (so I always mix it into the dry ingredients) and I always just buy bulk active dry yeast and let it sit for a good 10 minutes with the warm (almost hot) water and a pinch of sugar before starting in on the recipe. Sometimes recipes call for the sugar and oil to sit with the yeast. I think whole wheat honey breads are by far my favorite. Keep up the good work!

    • arussell says

      Of course you can post a link!!! Please do! Thanks for sharing your tips. The recipe I made for my latest attempt has the sugar sit with the yeast.

  3. Maura L. says

    I grind my own flour from wheat berries and do all baking from scratch with the fresh ground flour EXCEPT good old fashion bread for sandwiches. I just cannot get a texture down I like. So, whole wheat sandwich bread from Costco it is!

  4. D'Anna says

    WTG!!! I could always make dinner rolls but edible bread eluded me so with a little help from Betty Crocker and a baking monk on PBS I now can make a decent loaf of bread. I never knew if I over-kneaded, not enough rise/rest time, too hot, too cold and I saw this baking monk with several “bad” loaves cut open and explaining what had went wrong with each one…
    revolutionized my concept.

  5. sarah says

    I had trouble getting my bread to rise before and found the temperature was too low. The best places in my housefor rising my bread are on the dryer when it’s running, between my cooking crockpot and the wall, or on the stove when I’m baking something in the oven.

    Also, when I don’t feel like waiting so long, I make Irish soda bread (substituting milk with lemon juice for buttermilk).


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