Today was the first day of Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia and assignment number one was White Loaves. This is the first time that I have made bread dough using my KitchenAid standmixer instead of a bread machine. The dough had a beautiful texture to it right from the start. The job was too tough for my mixer so I finished the dough by kneading it myself. Tough work. I have a new-found respect for those strong prairie women. I was beginning to breathe hard by the time I was done. Although my arm fatigue might have had more to do with six sets of tennis and a session of yoga in the past 24 hours than with the actual dough. So what did I learn? I did measure the water temperature which I have never done before. Attention to detail always helps the end results when it comes to baking. I have never kneaded the butter into the dough after the other ingredients. This would have been easier but persistence in hand kneading paid off I think. The method for shaping the actual loaf was also new to me. You roll the dough out and then fold 2/3 toward you, then fold it over toward you again. You pinch the seams together, roll up the ends and place the nice little loaf in the greased pan. I let the dough rise longer than the recipe called for (had to go to a meeting at the school!). The final step, of removing the bread from the pans for the last ten minutes, to ensure that all sides brown evenly was something new to me also. The results are fabulous. My grandmother, a prairie farm wife herself, taught me to knock on the bottom of the bread. If it sounded hollow, then the loaf was done. I took out the loaf when I thought it was done using this method but double checked it with the thermometer as suggested in the recipe. Turns out Grandma was right! The thermometer and the knocking test produced the same results. The loaves are cooling now on the kitchen counter. The house smells heavenly and I feel like I have reconnected with my heritage. Can’t wait to have toast and tea in the morning.