Monday, April 09, 2012
Friday, February 17, 2012
A friend of mine started baking bread last fall when she had to give up dairy while nursing her daughter. She did so because there is dairy in a lot of loaf breads you buy at the store. She is also trying to feed her family whole foods. We've been sharing a lot of recipes for different items we normally buy at the store too (cheese-its and granola bars for example) thanks to Pinterest (the most amazing site ever!!!!). After hearing about her wonderful homemade bread, I had to give it a try. Here's my adventures in bread baking!
I've made several quick breads (banana bread, beer bread, etc.) over the years. They are always quick to whip up and no kneading is required (always a plus). I own my Nana's old bread machine and have made a few loaves with it, but it's old and the pan sticks a lot. In fact, I don't think I've used it once in the three years we've been back south (maybe it's time to throw it out). I've gotten pretty good at making pizza dough in the past year (thanks to my Uncle John). It's pretty easy with a Kitchen Aid!
My first attempt, which I don't really consider my first attempt because I used my kitchen aid mixer, turned out pretty good. I cut this recipe in half. It's the recipe my friend used (and has perfected, I'm sure). I didn't want to waste so many ingredients in case it turned out horrible. (It didn’t.) After the last slice was eaten, I was ready. I printed out the recipe again, read over it, and gathered courage.
Handmade by HAND
Before I even got out my mixing bowl, I called my friend and asked her for advice. She gave me all sorts of good tidbits and helpful hints (her biggest one was “don’t leave out the salt!”). I gathered all my ingredients and supplies. I washed my hands, read over the directions… twice. I was ready.
I mixed up the flour, yeast, water, and sugar. I let it rise. I started kneading. I pounded, folded, punched, folded, pushed, folded, and pounded some more. This felt like the longest 10 minutes of my life. I kept looking at the clock. Three minutes?! It had only been three minutes?! My arms started to hurt, but I kept at it. Five minutes passed. I started to let my mind wander. I thought about my friend making bread. I thought about my grandmother and great grandmothers and how they must have made bread. I thought about all the women throughout history that have made bread. I looked at the clock and the 10 minutes was up. I was kind of sad. Kneading had become very meditative the last few minutes.
I let the dough rise, punched it down again, cut it into pieces, rolled them up and put them in pans. So far, so good. One more rise and then they would bake and make the house smell heavenly.
These first two loafs were very tall and had round puffy tops. They tasted great! They were light and fluffy inside with very few air bubbles. It was kind of hard to cut into sandwich slices because it was so light. (So we made really think sandwiches.) I told myself that I would enjoy the kneading much more next time and let the physical meditativeness (is that even a word) take over.
Making bread is a great connection to the women of past. I feel like I’m doing something good for my family and myself. I know what’s in it and I know what I’m putting in my body. And as much as I want to stuff my face with homemade toast with Nutla, I know it’s all about portions.
Are you making thing by hand?
Monday, January 23, 2012
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Even the insides are pretty!