Monday, March 2, 2009

Makin' bread

The book below has transformed our household. Honestly, I'm shocked by how much bread my husband and kids eat. Now I can better afford their appetites and feel pretty good about the quality of their bread. I know a book that promises homemade bread in five minutes a day is a bit like a diet commercial, cellulite lotion, or scum cleanser. Really, though, it is exactly that simple. I checked this book out from our local library twice before I purchased it.It took me a few times and a little asking around before I got a loaf that is consistently close to perfect. That said, I've never made anything from this book that wasn't gobbled down. It's hard to make it totally flop. Trust me, prior to this book, I had NEVER had any success at bread making. I'd pretty much resigned myself to the fact that making bread was obviously intended for a more elite individual than me. I can't say it enough, "MAKING BREAD IS A BREEZE WITH THIS BOOK!" Really.

Here are a few things I have discovered after some tinkering. Definitely go buy a pizza stone; I got one at Target for around $10. The amount of moisture, rise time, and temperature in the room can affect the bread. If you're not getting decent rise, than consider adding a smidgen more or less flour, letting it "rest" for longer, and turning on the oven while it's sitting on top to help with rise. I highly recommend King Arthur flours; they do come in organic. The quality of the flour has seemed to affect the quality of the loaf. The picture below is the average loft I get in a loaf.

The recipe that I make the most, and now have memorized after several months of using this book, is the "Light Whole Wheat." I have adapted it; I use 2-2.5 cups of flour, and the rest white (or bread flour.) I use 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt instead of 1.5. As they say in the book, this recipe really is a "workhorse." I use it for baguettes, loaves, calzones, and pizza crust. Below, is the pizza made according to their guidelines. So good.

Whenever I forget to renew the supply of dough in the fridge, I curse myself. Having it there, and ready to go makes meal prep so fast, and easy. Now, this little red hen is off to play in the snow. We got about 3 inches here. Schools are closed and there's plenty of snow for these southern kids to go sledding. To them, this is the blizzard of the year.


Cheryl A said...

I need to check out that book! Thanks for the tip. We're on a bread making kick in this house now.

nytesong said...

I love to see people enjoying baking bread. Yours looks great!