Going into 2020 I wanted to come up with a new skill to learn, so I decided to learn how to bake bread. From everything I had read, baking a loaf of homemade white bread sounded like a complex challenge.

I decided to give it a shot yesterday. I had a loaf rising and the kitchen put back to order in less than twenty minutes. Two hours later, I punched the dough down, got it into a loaf pan and left it to rise for another hour. Half an hour in the oven and my folks were eating hot buttered bread.

I joked that it was my first attempt and I wouldn’t get a Paul Hollywood handshake. Dear Old Dad, around a mouthful of warm buttered bread, sputtered, “To hell with that bastard,” and shook my hand. Mom said it was good, too – and she is a ninja when it comes to baking!

Homemade bread was not quite the challenge I was expecting – but that is kind of the trick. Nothing is ever as bad or as difficult as we imagine, so I just dive in and improvise.

I have another loaf of bread rising in the kitchen as I write this. I used a different recipe. I’m curious to see how it turns out and compare it to yesterday’s results. As winter rolls along I want to try different recipes and types of bread. I also want to master some Philadelphia staples like sticky buns and English tea biscuits. I eventually would like to be able to knock out a loaf of bread before breakfast for everybody’s breakfast, but for now, this is pretty sweet.