I have been wanting to make my own bread from scratch for quite some time ("from scratch" scratch, not bread machine scratch) so this weekend I decided to give it a whirl. I've been keeping a recipe handy for Portuguese Sweet Bread for quite some time and figured that was as good a place to start as any.
Last night I started in on the dough, and immediately it looked like a disaster. Where the recipe indicated I should have a "smooth batter" I already had a very thick ball of dough. I was rapidly spiraling into panic as I had a lot more flour to add, and it already looked like the dough was too dry.
I persevered and continued kneading, using most of the recommended amount of flour (I left 1-2 cups out) and suddenly realized at the rate I was moving it would be 3am by the time I finished. We were heading to Sarnia to the in-laws in the morning so I decided to let the dough rise, wrap it up and refrigerate it, finshing the bread in Sarnia the following day.
After we arrived today, I attempted to form the dough into loaves and things were once again looking quite grim as the dough was essentially like rubber. It was very hard to work with and it was quite a struggle to form it into the required long, thin tubes for coiling and braiding. Once again, I pushed through and quite frankly expected the worst. After forming it into loaves and allowing them to rise for another hour, I glazed the loaves and sprinkled some sugar on top and threw them into the oven.
The result was far beyond my expectations considering how awful the dough-making process went:
And it was damn tasty too! Let's hope that I can reproduce this result the next time I attempt this recipe.