I didn't really make any New Years resolutions, but I did kinda decide to do a bit more exercise, not push myself so hard to get everything done, and to bake bread! I have made bread before but I have always used the bread machine to at least mix the dough if not do the whole thing. Buts its been getting less and less successful and a bit depressing.
So for 2013 its out with the bread machine and in with the Kitchen Aid (and yes I know I could really commune with the dough and knead by hand, but our 550 with the dough hook makes short work of big batches of dough, lets me get just the right amount of flour in, and makes way less mess - so deal with it...)
And thanks to a the recommendation of a good friend I have been converted to the ways of the River Cottage Bread Handbook - excellent theory and practise of making bread, easy recipes and great advice. I have learned the 'bakers ratios', how to tell if the dough needs a bit more kneading and probably most impressively the secret of the oven spring (basically cranking the oven as high as it will go for the first 10 mins of baking to get even better rise....)
There is even a section on building your own clay over (hey isn't that worth a couple of victory points....someone will get that....)!
Anyway I hope this bread tastes as good as it looks - if the basic white is OK its time to try some unbleached/wholemeal combinations....