The instructions were simple enough.. or probably over-simplified.
I followed the instructions to the tee.. except that I hand kneaded the dough for more than 10 minutes (5 times more than stipulated on the packaging). Still I was not able to do a satisfactory stretch pane test. Then I thought, maybe bread mixes were different?
I left the bread to proof, but instead of doubling in size, it just spreaded a little on the baking tray. I popped it into the oven after more than an hour of proofing and this is what I got.
It certainly looked and smell impressive. The crust was so thick and crispy, like those artisan breads! But it did not quite 'rise' to the occasion, so the inside was rather too dense for my liking.
The fact that it didn't rise could be because the yeast was dead, since it was so near expiry.
I have since decided that baking from scratch is a lot more satisfying and rewarding.