Anime Challenge: Kamisama Hajimemashita Episodes 1-13 (Complete)

kamisamaSeries: Kamisama Hajimemashita (Anime licensed by Funimation under the title “Kamisama Kiss” and available for viewing on their website.)

Related Manga: Kamisama Hajimemashita (As of today, there are 13 volumes and counting under the title “Kamisama Kiss” available in English for purchase on Amazon.com. Manga licensed by VIZ Media.)

Platform: Funimation (you should totally be watching!)

Episodes: 13

Kamisama Hajimemashita hits every check box on my list of things I love in a good anime. I love a hint of the supernatural, a little romance and a lot of humor while not falling fully into the gag/joke/anime trap that some series thrive on. It also has those painful hints of angst and emotional wounds that shape a person into who they will eventually become, which is a theme I adore.

I firmly believe that we, as people, are shaped by our experiences, both positive and negative. A  person who has only positive experiences can never fully comprehend or empathize with the pain another is feeling. It’s why I believe in reincarnation of the spirit. I believe that deity sends us back, again and again, until we fully understand the depths of pain and the highest points of joy a human can experience. Until we can truly do that and still acknowledge our own failures, we are incomplete in some way and are still learning.

That’s a theme that winds its way through Kamisama Hajimemashita. Nanami is a high school student who is abandoned by her father and left alone in the work with nowhere to live and no one to rely on. Through chance, she meets Mikage, an earth deity who manipulates her into taking on responsibility for his shrine and the familiar and spirits he’s left behind.

Nanami’s personal pain allows her to empathize with Tomoe, Mikage’s abandoned familiar who has been waiting patiently for years for Mikage to return. While Tomoe and Nanami fight regularly, Nanami finds herself understanding Tomoe’s fears of being left alone again and embraces ownership of the shrine and her new role as an earth deity to make sure the others at the shrine can have a true home.

Of course all of that happens through thirteen episodes and with a cast of other characters. Even with those distractions, the thread of pain, comfort and learning to understand others is maintained as a theme throughout the series. Each character has their own pain or misfortune and throughout the episodes they learn to connect to each other in the ways that they are able, forming a dysfunctional but caring family.

I loved the themes of comfort, finding a home, finding happiness, learning and growing and the delicately growing romance between Nanami and Tomoe. I love the supporting characters as well. Kurama with his ‘I’m an idol’ ego but soft heart, Ami and her good-natured innocence and excitement about life, even Mizuki with his sweet, heart-rending pain over his loss and his need for a new home, all of them tear at your heart just a little and leave you wanting more.

This has turned out to be one of those animes where I find myself not just wanting but needing to read the manga. I need to know if there’s even more to each story in the manga. I want to know where the characters go from here. I want to continue the warm and bittersweet feelings it brought out in me as I watched it.

I would recommend this anime to anyone, whether it’s something they’d normally watch or not. It’s sweet and gentle, even at the most painful points, and it leaves you with a sense of hopefulness and happiness at the end. I hope that the series is eventually given a second season to continue past the point in the manga’s story where the anime ends. Much like Natsume Yujinchou became a sleeper hit and was given season after season, this series could also do the same.

Coming up next: Kore wa Zombie desu ka? which is twisting my brain.

Anime Challenge: 53/1000.

Anime Challenge: Campione! Episodes 1-13 (Complete)

campioneSeries: Campione!

Related Manga: Campione! (ongoing)

Related Light Novel: Campione!

Platform: Crunchyroll

Episodes: 13

I had briefly glanced at this series last summer and blown it off as it seemed to fall into that mental territory of too much T&A for my tastes. I love a good fight and I love a good magical back story in anime, but I really struggle with the high volume of fan service that often comes with them.

I decided to tough it out this time and try this series out and I’m happy I did.

Godou is a high school student who’s become a god slayer/demon king/campione by slaying the God of War and absorbing his powers. He’s not the only one of his kind running around on Earth but he is the youngest. This change in status apparently requires that he be surrounded by voluptuous teenage girls who try to coach him through this change in life and the battles and prophecies that follow. Normally that would be where I shake my head and walk away, because again, not a fan of the T&A show.

I kept going though, and it was worth it. Erica, the main female character, is a cunning girl who slowly but surely manipulates both Godou and everyone around him into where they need to be to win the escalating battles. While she portrays herself as head over heels in love with Godou, she’s also looking out for him, for the other girls and for the world. I won’t spoil it, but the scene where she almost dies had me ready to cry.

The other girls fall more into that general harem category of talented but not exactly slick or wise about the world. They’re still fun in their own way, however. In particular, I adore Godou’s little sister, who shows an increasing level of irritation and horror as his harem grows in size.

One of my favorite parts is that in so many series with a similar theme, you find a hero who constantly refuses to accept the situation and step up to do what needs to be done. What I liked about Godou is that while he didn’t want to fight or hurt anyone, he was always willing to step up and do his best to protect others.

I also very much enjoyed the art style, especially the magical sigils, beasts, weapons and so on. I also liked that each of the characters had a very distinctive look that, rather than being random, tied into their place in life.

The downside of the series was that it relies heavily on the viewer already knowing the back story, either from the novel or manga, and so several events are referenced in the anime that aren’t shown. I found this jarring as I hadn’t read the manga or novel first. I will definitely be taking a read through the manga at some point, as it is still an ongoing story and the anime does not cover a significant portion of the story in the manga.

Anime Challenge:  0040/1000. (Don’t worry, I’m not behind. I’ve just decided to log by series for completed anime series.)

Anime Challenge: Maoyu Episodes 1-2

maoyuSeries: Maoyu

Related Manga: Maoyuu Maou Yuusha

Related Novel: Maoyuu Maou Yuusha

Every anime season, I check out what Crunchyroll is streaming, to be able to see what’s currently airing in Japan. That’s how I found this little gem, which doesn’t even have it’s own English Wikipedia page yet. I’m sure that will change fairly soon.

The premise is interesting. In a world where demons and humans have been at war for 15 years, the Hero and the Demon Queen meet to fight and end the war. Except that the Maou (demon queen) points out to the Hero exactly how both the human and demon worlds are profiting from this war and the financial impact of ending it, which would be massive starvation as the economy of both populations broke down.

Instead, she challenges him to join her in finding a way to change the world around them so that the war can be ended without the rampant starvation and territorial fighting that would break out within the two populations.

There’s a secondary sub-plot of romance beneath the larger political storyline that it sweet and funny all at the same time. This is definitely one I’ll be keeping on my watch list this season. If you’d like to watch it as well, it’s available on Crunchyroll for streaming.

Anime Challenge: 0027/1000

Anime Challenge: Junjou Romantica Season One Episodes 7-12

Junjou-RomanticaFor the series details, check out my first post on Junjou Romantica. Having finished season one now, I feel that there are some things you need to know about each episode.

 

 

 

Episode 7

  • OMG pouting for octo-sausage.
  • “Stop looking at me through the eyes of a fangirl!”
  • What’s not to love about a sexy man asleep on his man-sized teddy bear?
  • Oh wait! It’s a Misaki-trap!
  • Is it just me or is he slamming his head against the teddy bear’s crotch?
  • HAHAH!!! Misaki is in Hiroki’s literature class!!!
  • A strange tall man appears!
  • Two guys on a ferris wheel! That’s what I’m talkin’ about!
  • I love how Misaki prays to is parents in heaven about his love for Usami. LOL
  • I was raised as a normal boy for 18 years!
  • What do you mean Takahiro is taking Misaki back? No effin’way.

Episode 8

  • I love how Misaki automatically comes up with a reason not to go.
  • Usami, you’re being a dick.
  • Rejection! Paaaain!
  • Okay trying to say ‘don’t go’ will work better if you actually say it.
  • I love how no one thinks Misaki could survive on his own for a few hours.
  • Oooohhh… standing up for Usami! Thataboy!
  • Alone for one night and you want him back already?
  • BE SELFISH MISAKI!
  • No!!! If you cry, I’ll cry!
  • Usami to the rescue!
  • That hug!!
  • okay, that was really fucking romantic and now I’m all wibbly!
  • HAHAHAHA!!! Marimo…

Episode 9

  • Baby Usami and Hiroki!
  • OMG such a cute boy, Hiro-chan! And look, there’s a prince(ss) in your hideout.
  • Baby Usami following a kitten…my ovaries hurt now.
  • Crying little boys make Sonya want to punch people.
  • OMG Little Boy friendships… my ovaries are SCREAAAAMING.
  • Awww! Hiroki, I think  you just made Usami’s life right in some way.

Episode 10

  • WOOHOO! The start of Junjo Terrorist!
  • A terrorist who’s a high school student in love with you…
  • I’m going to finish any dramatic statement I make with ‘It’s destiny.’ from now on.
  • Miyagi to the rescue!
  • OH NO! LOVE STORY TWIST OF PAIIIIN!
  • Never. Mock. Love. Miyagi.
  • Take responsibility, Miyagi.
  • Oh hell he’s got a knife!
  • That look!
  • Tragic stir-fry accident…
  • Deathglare.
  • Hints of a tragic heartbreak in the past…
  • Ulterior motives…
  • Hee KNEE HIM IN THE BALLS SHINOBU HE’S BEING A DICK
  • HAAAAANNNNDDDDS! BAD HANDS!
  • CRYING. You’re an ass Miyagi.
  • You tell him, Shinobu!
  • He’s a coward!
  • RAPE! RAPE!
  • Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!
  • Great life philosophy.
  • Stand your ground, Shinobu!

Episode 11

  • It’s nice to know parking garages look the same everywhere.
  • Oohhhh… the ex-wife.
  • “Quit trying to make a gay man out of me!”
  • Suspicious photos are damaging to growing gay relationships, apparently.
  • That’s a traumatic experience that’ll haunt a guy, right there. Scarred on sex for liiiiife.
  • Are you surprised he wants nothing to do with you now? Asshole.
  • Yeah, because Hiroki is the best choice for love advice…
  • Oh the angst of young love….
  • When chasing after the guy you think you’re in love with, referring to him as ‘little shit’ is never a good thing.
  • “Maybe I want to try falling in love with you”? Really?

Episode 12

  • I love Usami’s attempt to bullshit Takahiro.
  • “Don’t just make shit up!”
  • Male Bonding! AAHAHAHAHAHAH!
  • I love Misaki’s assumption that Usami won an award for a yaoi book.
  • That’s a lot of flowers. No one sends me flowers…
  • Ooop. YoU said the “L” word.
  • RUN, MISAKI!!!
  • He’s so embarrassed I’M embarrassed now.
  • Rubber duckies!

I fucking love this series. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of same-sex romance series, both in anime, literature and television in general. I’m pretty bored with the same old series plotlines and I find this changes it up enough for me.

Anime Challenge: 0025/1000 episodes!

Anime Challenge: Junjou Romantica Season One Episodes 1-6

Junjou Romantica is one of my all-time favorite BL/yaoi manga and anime. I was overjoyed when Tokyopop/BLU translated the manga into English back in 2006 and was even more excited when an anime adaptation was announced.

Plot: The Junjou Romantica series actually encompasses three series of stories, Junjou Romantica, Junjou Egoist and Junjou Terrorist.

Junjou Romantica

Junjou-RomanticaMisaki Takahashi was raised by his older brother Takahiro after their parents died. Through his older brother he meets Akahiko Usami, a well-known author and his brother’s best friend. It isn’t until Misaki is preparing for college exams and being tutored by Usami that he realizes his Usami is in love with his older brother, a love that is unrequited. As time goes by, Misaki becomes more and more involved with Usami, and the first season documents the start of their story.

Junjou Egoist

junjou egoistHiroki Kamijo, a literature scholar, grew up with Usami as neighbors and had his own unrequited love for the other man. Just as he’s realizing that his love will never be returned, Nowaki Kusama blows into his life, turning everything upside down. When he disappears suddenly for six  years, it almost seems as if what they’ve built will fall apart completely. But Nowaki is stubborn and determined.

Junjou Terrorist

junjou terroristYo Miyagi, a professor at the college Hiroki teaches at, is a divorced thirty-something man and shameless flirt when it comes to Hiroki. All of a sudden, his ex-wife’s younger brother, Shinobu Takatsuki, a high school student, blows back into his life and eventually his heart. But Miyagi is resistant to the idea of a same-sex relationship, especially with his ex-wife’s younger brother. Shinobu has a long road ahead of him to convince Miyagi to take a chance on him.

Because I love this series so much, my commentary is a bit excessive and is broken down by episode:

Episode 1

  • Your brother’s about to be raped, Misaki! Don’t just freeze! How does ‘he’s a school friend’ defuse the whole ‘my brother was pinned against the wall squirming’ situation?
  • That apartment is bigger than my house. Now I want a loft.
  • Uh oh, Mizaki found the yaoi! The yaoi about his brother…
  • Misaki in wonderland. Usami-wonderland.
  • There’s a train track around the bed!
  • Usami rose from the dead!
  • I think Misaki has a brother complex.
  • Uh oh! Run away Misaki! Don’t just lay there on the bed!
  • HANDS! BAD HANDS!
  • It is not okay to jerk a guy off and then say ‘that was fast’. DUDE. Not okay.
  • Molested by a man with a giant teddy bear.
  • HOLYSHITMISAKIISPSYCHIC!
  • OMGSERIOUSLYHE’SPSYCHIC.
  • Detente for Takahiro’s sake.
  • Okay, both Mizuki and Usami have a brother complex for Takahiro.
  • DUDE! Have we all just forgotten this guy molested you with a handjob Mizuki? BECAUSE I HAVEN’T!
  • You’re not sure you should trust a guy who did THAT to you, but you will, to get into the right school?
  • OMG hairpins and barettes! CUUUUTE!
  • WHY ARE YOU CALLING HIM BUNNY-SAN?
  • Ooooh… a one-sided love story… so sad…
  • Takahiro has a girlfriend… Poor Bunny-san. He lovesTakahiro.
  • OMG Misaki is giving Usami love advice on how to get all up on his brother.
  • THIS IS THE GUY WHO’S HAND WAS ON YOUR MAN BITS, Misaki.
  • Now there are two teddy bears on the couch. With matching ribbons!
  • Misaki I think we all know you’re not a genius. I love your coat tho’.
  • OMG PANDA TRAFFIC SAFETY SIGN
  • Existential crisis all over the panda about why he wants the guy who hand-raped him to praise him.
  • Screaming “I don’t like men!” in the middle of the road kind of makes it obvious you just might.
  • How could you forget your brother’s birthday?
  • Holy shit! There’s a girl in the house!
  • Takahiro dropped the getting married bomb on the guys! The shocked looks!
  • Misaki is crying over Usami’s pain!! Now I’m crying…
  • Uh oh, Usami has wedged himself between Misaki and Takahiro.
  • Now that’s better! Nothing like a surprise street-side kiss. Look at him blush!
  • Usami wants to be held!!! Do it, Misaki.. give him some comfort.
  • Yay for college acceptance!
  • HANDS! HAAAANDS!
  • There’s a fucking TEDDY BEAR ARMY.

Episode 2

  • Usami looks like he’s been ridden hard and put away wet… and he’s carrying a teddy bear…
  • Why does the teddy bear get its own seat at the table?
  • Sneak attack hug from behind!
  • “I’m out of Misaki.” AHAHAHAHAHA
  • Is it really polite to ask someone if they wanked off while you were working?
  • Nothing like realizing that the author who’s molesting you is also writing porn about you…
  • “It practically wrote itself.”
  • Poor Misaki… no school friends…
  • Is that jealousy over Usami I see there, Misaki? Don’t take it out on the veggies. Respect the VEGGIES!
  • Do I detect jealousy, Misaki? There’s enough Usami for both brothers!
  • Unilateral jealousy! WOOT! Nothing like miscommunication to make a relationship exciting!
  • OMG Misaki crying is the most ridiculously fucking adorable thing ever. NOW I’M CRYING!
  • Seduced into losing what’s left of your virginity by a heartbeat… awwww…
  • OMG it’s an omelette mountain…

Episode 3

  • Oh Hiroki… you’re so… uptight.
  • DUDE.  NEVER FUCK YOUR FRIENDS.
  • What’s not to love about a boy who shoots off … rockets…?
  • I’d let anyone who made me a breakfast like that stay a while… yum-O!
  • There’s a lot of book abuse in this anime.
  • “It’s your kindness that tears me apart.”
  • “Sorry, but I’ll be taking Hiro-san…” ROFL!
  • He doesn’t matter at all but you’re stalking him like a crazy psycho.
  • Oh jealousy….
  • His book is upside down!
  • Mysterious vanishing!!! Oh noes!

Episode 4

  • “My current occupation is a leech.”
  • Death glare from the bed. Don’t wake the crazy author!
  • HANDS! HANDS! BAD HANDS!
  • Saved by the editor!
  • Misaki is like a puppy when offered food. All bright eyes and innocence.
  • Fucking teddy bear sitting on the couch next to him. Next thing you know, it’ll have it’s own tea cup. Love the bow tho’.
  • Yes, Misaki, having sex with someone might mean you like them.  Even if it’s another guy.
  • Oh yes, Usami’s getting it on with the lady editor…suuuuuureeeee…
  • I think Misaki puts out ‘men, please hit on me’ pheromones.
  • Here. Snuggle your man-sized teddy bear.
  • Awww! He’s shaking.
  • “Forget about her! She’s a demon with a woman’s face!”
  • My heart was breaking with you, Misaki!
  • THANK YOU for figuring out all this emo shit makes you sound lame. If you love him, you love him.
  • Oh Misaki, eating your stress out NEVER ends well. Ask any woman.
  • Yeah that’s it, blame the liquor filled chocolates…
  • “I’m turning into a giant asshole because of you, you bastard!”
  • That’s it Usami, wash Misaki like a good pet owner and towel him dry.
  • “Hurry up and give me that manuscript you fucking piece of shit!” Now that’s what I call a good editor.

Episode 5

  • Return from overseas to an asswhupping… wooo….
  • Hiro-san doesn’t take being abandoned well.
  • Dude, vanish for a year and then cage crash space from the guy you vanished on? That’s some balls right there.
  • Not even a letter while gone? Really, Nowaki? SHAME.
  • Oh Hiro… you didn’t move while he was gone because you hoped he’d appear again…
  • Dude, these two are seriously fucked up at communicating with each other.
  • Miyagi, you dirty pervert.
  • So, so much angst!
  • Dumping someone while you’re racing down a hallway makes everyone looks stupid.
  • omg who dumped ramen on the teddy bear?
  • “I do this to the teddy bear too…” AHAHAHAHAH!

Episode 6

  • Nowaki looks so sad!
  • Miyagi, how could you not pass on the message?!
  • THIS LOVE MUST BE SAVED!
  • Oh no, Nowaki! Don’t be so late…
  • Brow wrinkles!
  • The rain, it reflects my sadness at Hiro’s pain!!
  • STRAAAANGERS PAASSSSSIINNNG IN THE NIIIIGHHHTTT
  • No Hiro, don’t cry! Go find him and make him your bitch!
  • OMG Miyagi is going to rape Hiro!!! O.O Hands off!
  • Nowaki to the rescue!
  • Aaannnddd… we’re running again…
  • More book abuse!
  • That’s it boys. Get it all out.
  • Which results in more book abuse and “Quit fucking with me!”
  • AAWWW! Love letters! You gotta put out for love letters!
  • AHAHAH! It was all your fault all along, Hiro.

Anime Challenge: Prétear Episodes 7-13 (Complete)

Pretear_1I’m starting out my 2013 Anime Challenge with  Prétear.

Premise: Himeno Awayuki is a sixteen year old girl who is adjusting to a new step-family after her father remarried. Struggling to fit in with the new family she finds herself on the outside, looking in, and very lonely. Suddenly seven guys, Leafe Knights appear on the scene revealing that she possesses a special magical power, and is the Prétear. From there it’s a lot of demon larvae fighting and some emotional drama, with a hint of romance winding through all of it.

Conclusion: I actually really enjoyed the series, even though I was re-watching it. It was one of my earliest series but for all that it’s short and a little goofy, there’s a lot of emotion wound throughout the story. It touches on loneliness, fitting in, familial and romantic love and the way life itself is both a good and a painful thing.

Notes (my random thoughts while watching):

  • Where the sin I committed sleeps… really?
  • Oh love, why are you so eternally wangsty?
  • Why does Kei look so much like a girl? Seriously, he wears heels. It’s so 2013 and ahead of its time!
  • Where the hell did all this wangst come from? Do I fight? Can I do it? WTF?
  • This demon looks like a carousel.
  • If someone replaced the seat of my chair with paper, I’d punch them in the face.
  • Now I know where Ghost Hunters went wrong. They don’t use costumes when ghost hunting.
  • I want a bunny suit!
  • Sasame looks so sad… people who give advice over the radio should be able to see how depressed they are.
  • OMG this maid is some twisted shit.
  • Sasame! YOU BITCH! NEVER turn your back on your friends for anyone! Bros before hoes!
  • I want men to build me my own nature hut.
  • Jesus you’re stupid, Sasame.
  • Don’t fall for that!
  • Well fuck, he fell for it.
  • NOOOOO! NOT THE HUUUUT!
  • Okay maybe it’s just me, but if someone says they’ll love you if you kill your friend, wouldn’t that stop and make you think a bit?
  • …apparently not so much.
  • If my child vanished overnight I would tear the earth apart to find her… not order a thousand more posters and go back to work.
  • Awwww… a little romance to balance out the angst!
  • If I was missing one daughter and another had locked herself in her room for days, those doors would be coming off the door frame.
  • You know what throws a romantic scene off? Subtitles to the background  music.
  • Poor Mawata. Her mother is an asshole.
  • Sasame needs a pistol-whipping.
  • Mawata needs Prozac.
  • Nothing brings a family together like the end of the world.
  • If Himeno and Hayate pret every time they touch hands, that’s gonna make sex and snuggling a little fucked up. “Oh, let’s hold hands!” “Oh fuck, I’m inside you.”
  • Okay, I’m totally crying during the last episode.
  • CONFESS YOUR LOVE YOU CHICKEN WHORE
  • Does Himeno’s return from death at a kiss make the Leafe Knights dwarves?
  • You blush like a bitch, Hayate.

And now on to our next series. 0013/1000 watched for 2013!

Bread-making Excitement…

Lately I’ve seen a lot of other people having to learn this as well, so I put together an example to help.

IMG_1627

Ingredients: That’s Red Star yeast in the 3 envelope red packet, sea salt, 365 brand organic cane sugar, King Arthur white wheat flour, and 365 brand olive oil. Oh yeah, and warm water.

Here’s the actual recipe:

Amish Sweet Bread

2 cups warm water (warm to the touch, not hot)
1 packet of yeast
2/3 cup sugar (can be subbed with honey)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup oil (vegetable if you can use it, olive oil for me!)
5-6 cups of flour

If you use wheat flour this turns out like a honey-wheat bread. If you use white flour it turns out like a really good Wonderbread replacement! I haven’t tried rye or other flours. I’m way too lazy for that.

IMG_1628

Next, the almighty Kitchen-Aid, fitted with dough hook.

Next, add the warm water and sugar to the bowl of the mixer and stir them together until the sugar dissolves.

IMG_1629

Open the yeast packet and pour it in, stirring it gently (I use my hand to stir the yeast in).

IMG_1630

Yes, it looks nasty. Very soon though, it starts to smell yummy. What you’re doing here is proofing your yeast. Let it sit 20 minutes and it should look like this:

IMG_1631

Smells like a mix of beer and yeasty bread… yum!

The foaming shows that the yeast is alive and producing gas, which is what makes your bread rise. If you get no foam, either your water and room are too cold, or your yeast packet has bad yeast.

Next step, add the salt and oil:

IMG_1632

Oil slick! BP how did you get into my kitchen!?

Give it a quick mix. Then dump four cups of flour in, all at once:

IMG_1633

Turn it on the lowest or second to lowest speed (NEVER go faster than that when making bread) and let it run for about 5 minutes.

IMG_1636

Knead by hand? Never again!

When you check in five minutes, if your dough is sticky to the touch, add more flour, about 1/4 cup at a time and turn the mixer back on, checking occassionally until it’s not sticky. If it’s not sticky when you check, you can just turn it back on. You want to let it knead like this for about another 4-5 minutes. At that point, the dough should be hanging off the hook but not sticky to the touch, and the sides of the bowl should be fairly clean.

IMG_1637

Next, oil a glass or ceramic bowl. I have one of those misters for oil and just spray olive oil on. Take the mixer bowl off the stand, removing the dough hook as you do so. Give the dough a quick turn by hand in the mixer bowl and then turn it out into the glass or ceramic oiled bowl. Turn the dough around a few times in the bowl to make sure all sides are oiled. Then cover with a warm, damp cloth:

IMG_1639

And this is what I mean by a clean mixer bowl:

IMG_1638

Almost seems like a waste to run it through the dishwasher instead of doing it by hand… but seriously, I’m VERY lazy.

The dough should have picked up all of the mix as it was kneaded. If there are bits left, leave them. Don’t force them in.

Now let your bowl of dough sit for an hour. Seriously. Set a timer and go do something else. I make bread while working from home which works out wonderfully. An hour later, go back and you’ll see it’s almost doubled in size. If it looks about the same, move it to a warmer location and let sit another 30 minutes.

IMG_1640

Punch the dough down a few times and knead a few times lightly. It should look like this when done:

IMG_1641

Seriously, give it a few punches, turn it a bit and then cut it in half to make two loaves. I used bread pans to bake this batch, but you can also do free-form loaves on a cookie sheet. As this was a tutorial, I went for standard. Oil the pans and drop the loaves in.

IMG_1642

Shut up. I know my loaf making skills suck.

Brush the tops with oil (or spray) and then cover them again and let them rise for 20-30 minutes. Seriously, go do something that’s not baking. They’ll be fine.

IMG_1643

And yes my towel looks dirty but that’s a stain. Really…

After they’ve sat a bit, they’ll look like this:

IMG_1644

Next, heat your oven to 350F. Put the loaves in near the middle of the oven:

IMG_1645

Leave them there for 30 minutes. Seriously, set the timer and walk away. Do NOT stalk  your bread. Only crazy people do that.

At 30 minutes, pull them out and give the tops a tap. It should sound kind of like they’re hollow, or are a really cheap drum.

IMG_1646

If you want them browner on top, leave them in a few minutes longer. Let them sit for about 5 minutes and turn them out onto a cooling rack:

IMG_1647

I like to take a stick of butter and run it lightly over the top to make it golden (big bread secret there) while they’re still hot. Now leave them alone until they cool if you want to be able to slice them evenly. If you’re a rip in and eat kind of person, go wild.

IMG_1649

And there you go! Easy. I spent maybe 5-10 minutes total on my part dealing with it. The rest of the time I took conference calls and put together project plans.