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Rise Up

My fiance loves carbs, especially bread, in all forms. Sides of potatoes are a must when we make beef and noodles. And huge, doughy breadsticks come with every pizza delivery. Unfortunately, I’m no baker. If it’s a recipe that has any combination of yeast and precision, I will somehow find a way to mutilate it. Dough-making evenings usually end with emergency restaurant runs. And wine.

So last year, when I heard about this Indiana entrepreneur selling these simple no-knead bread kits, I placed an order.

Everything from this kit comes perfectly labeled with step-by-step photos. I recruited my fiance to create bread at home for the April issue. How, then, did we screw up? The images on breadkit.com showed these gorgeous, perfectly rounded loaves. Ours was more like a big dense Frisbee. Flavor was there, but that was about it. Our bread didn’t want to rise to the occasion.

What the clever kit didn’t share with this dummy—and what bread novices everywhere should know–is yeast is a real jerk. It has the temperament of a spoiled two-year-old. If the temperature is even two degrees off, it will either throw a messy tantrum or refuse to budge. So coddle it—make sure it’s in a warm environment (above 72 degrees). Store the packet in the fridge between batches.

So the next couple of times we created bread, the loaves turned out perfect (see photo). Effortless, flavorful bread with a good crust and a soft crumb. Score: Yeast: 1. Us: 4.

>> See "Flavor of the Month: Bread Winner" from the April issue of IM.