It's been a while since I posted. I have been making bread, but I've gone down to only once a week and I think I missed a week, so I've only made a loaf of challah and then a regular pan loaf. However, I've learned two very important lessons and figured out one not-so-important thing.
Not-so-important thing: Adding egg to dough makes the final bread's crust somewhat flakey.
Important lesson #1: My breads have been crumbly because I have not kneaded them enough; the dough should stretch when pulled, not rip.
Important lesson #2: Salt. The. Hell. Out. Of. The. Dough. Salt is a breadmaker's friend. Salt is the source of flavor. Salt is the most eternally blessed substance in cooking and it holds even more honored of a place in baking. Salt.
By far, the second lesson is the most important. Also, since the last time I posted, we ran out of the Fleischman's yeast and had to get some more from the co-op. Not only was it a mere one-eighth the price, it has a much stronger and more natural smell and flavor. Huge improvement. I think I might make a poolish and some French bread for Easter. Whatever, we'll see.
On another note, the weather is about as perfect as a human could possibly hope for. Namely, to go outside is no longer to risk death.