If yeast intimidates you and you end up missing out on recipes you really want to try out, then this calendar is for you! I kept avoiding bread recipes because I assumed they were really hard to make! But now that I’ve actually tried making some, I seriously can’t stop! Making bread is incredibly therapeutic and you can serve/eat it any time of the day! You can make it as sweet or savory as you like.
I’ve included lots of step-by-step images in each post. Hopefully, they’ll convince you that making bread is not hard! But it does need planning. Unfortunately, we can’t just make the dough and bake it. We need to let it rise, twice. But guess what? You don’t need to finish the bread in a day. Prepare the dough in the afternoon, let it rise and then refrigerate it. The next morning, just take it out for the second rise and then bake it! I don’t think I need to tell you how amazing the smell of freshly baked bread is in the morning (or any time really)!
You don’t need any special equipment. You can simply mix by hand if you want. I used a hand mixer fitted with the hook attachment for the first three recipes. For the last one (no knead bread), you just need a wooden spoon.
Using The Baking Calendar
If you like to see all the ingredients and recipes for this month at a glance, you can print out the easy bread calendar. I’m using instant yeast in my recipes because it’s much easier to find than fresh yeast. And more convenient than active dry yeast. I’m too impatient so anything marked with “instant” is a winner! If you prefer using active dry yeast or fresh yeast, you can check out the recipe notes in the blog posts.
As mentioned in the previous calendars, I strongly encourage you to keep a notebook and a pen next to you when baking. Write down things like the oven setting used, the oven shelf. Keep a record of any issues you might encounter to make troubleshooting easier. Snap some pictures whenever you can, to track your progress. And if you are willing to share them, I’d love to see them. You can email them to me at email@example.com or tag me on Instagram @wheelofbaking.
Okay, let’s see what we will be learning this month!
WEEK 1: Pain Au Lait
We will learn:
- What the three types of yeast are.
- How to mix the dough and why butter isn’t added from the beginning.
- To test the elasticity of the dough and determine when to stop mixing.
- Why we should punch down the dough after the first rise.
- To shape the pain au lait.
- How to know when it’s time to bake the pain au lait after the second rise.
- To add chocolate flavor to the pain au lait.
- Read How to make pain au lait.
- Prepare the dough, let it rise for about 90 minutes and refrigerate it overnight, if desired.
- Shape the dough and let it rise for about 90 minutes.
- Bake the pain au lait.
WEEK 2: Vienna Bread
We will learn:
- How to proof yeast to make sure it is active.
- Why bread dough sometimes tears.
- What to do if the dough is too elastic.
- Read the post How to make Vienna bread.
- Prepare the dough and let it rise for about 90 minutes. Refrigerate it overnight, if desired.
- Shape the dough and let it rise for about 60 minutes.
- Bake the Vienna bread.
WEEK 3: Pain De Mie (with chocolate chips and candied fruits)
We will learn and review:
- How gluten is formed.
- Why gluten is important when making bread.
- Why milk is used in some types of bread.
- How and when to add chunky ingredients (chocolate, nuts, fruits etc.) to the dough.
- How to shape pain de mie.
- What to do if the bread is browning too quickly during baking.
- How to slice pain de mie.
- Read the post Pain de mie (with chocolate chips and candied fruits).
- Prepare the dough and let it rise for about 90 minutes.
- Shape the dough and let it rise again for about 90 minutes.
- Bake the pain de mie.
WEEK 4: Easy No Knead Bread
We will learn:
- What a lean dough (versus a rich dough) is.
- What kneading actually does.
- Why it’s possible to skip the kneading step.
- How to get a thin baguette, if desired.
- Read the post Easy no Knead bread.
- Prepare the dough and let it rise for 2-3 hours.
- Refrigerate the dough for at least 12 hours, if possible.
- Shape the dough and let it rise for 45 minutes.
- Bake the no knead bread.
We did it! We learned how to make 4 types of bread! Who’s afraid of baking with yeast now?! I really hope you enjoyed this calendar and that you are no longer intimidated by yeast. What other recipes would you like to try out using yeast? Is there a specific recipe you would like broken down into step-by-step pictures to make it easier for you? Let me know!
Next Baking Calendar
My husband has eagerly been awaiting next month’s calendar! Can you guess what it will be about? I’ll give you a hint! First recipe: it’s thin, easy to make but fancy, can be savory or sweet. And most importantly, is impossible to resist! Any ideas?!