A few weeks ago, I made my first loaves of bread.

It turned out pretty good, but I thought maybe a bit dense.  It didn’t seem to rise as well as I’d hoped.

Today, I tried again.  This time, I substituted white bread flour for the white all-purpose called for in the recipe.  Also, I only used 2 1/2 cups of the white flour.  Both times I used my KitchenAid stand mixer for the kneading.

Also, I had an unopened jar of yeast in my fridge that had a “sell by” date of March, 2011.  It was still sealed, so I decided to try it anyway.  It was fine.  My bread rose MUCH better than last time.  The first rise only took 45 minutes (whereas last time I let it go for an hour and it still didn’t rise like today’s bread did).

The result?  Amazing.  This bread is so much lighter and fluffier.  The flavor seems brighter and sweeter.  I’m smitten.  And since I got the process down from ~3 hours to ~2 hours, I think I’ll be making much more of my own bread from now on.

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