..there is something simple on my list of needed skills that I need to be able to do..it is not flying a plane or catching a jabberwocky..it is baking bread. Baking bread always reminds me of my grandmother..she did it everyday and when we spent time with her it was always with fresh loaves of bread for meals. When I was a kid my mother would bake bread for the family and us kids would complain because it did not look the same as the other kids at lunch..soon she stopped making bread and we used store bought bread..what a sin!
Anyway, baking bread is something I keep meaning to do but never got around to doing it..I have all the things I need in my kitchen but my ‘bread baking’ has been making mini versions in the cast iron pan that are a cross between a pancake and a pita. So Sunday I decided I was going to bake some bread…once again, I was not looking for perfection just a finished product that I could then improve upon it. While baking is not an overly time consuming task it does go in steps that need to be followed in order to get a good end product. Mixing all of the ingredients is the first step.
.I used soy milk instead of real milk but otherwise we followed the recipe in ‘the joy of cooking’..which I highly recommend. I have a really old version I use and it has all of the usual recipes as well as things like how to cook porcupine..not that I have ever used that one.
great recipe book and for someone like me who has never baked bread it went into the details for the things I was confused about..how long for bread to rise, punching down techniques, etc..after mixing I followed the directions and kneaded the bread,
covered it and set it aside on the top of the stove to rise for an hour. An hourish later the dough had doubled..so I punched it down, flipped it over and let it rise again. One more hour and I kneaded, made into 2 loaves, put it in pans and let it rise up again ( 1/2 hour )…then into the oven. Cooking in a cookstove is a little harder then it is normally..I can get it to the temperature I need (450 ) but it takes planning, timing and patience. I cannot just turn a knob for 10 minutes on 450 then 15 on 350..I need to get the fire going good with the stove door closed then open it partially for a minute or 2 to get it down to 350. I use smaller pieces of wood to get maximum surface area on fire for the wood about 20 minutes before I want to put the bread in after the fire has been going for a while. Usually I burn logs that are bigger so I don’t have to tend it as much. Also, for the cookstove the corner near the firebox is hotter than the rest so I switched the loaves after 15 minutes. We usually leave the stove door open when not cooking to get the extra heat too.
20 minutes later..and I had warm, delicious, moist bread..I gotta say, for my very first attempt I am quite happy with the outcome..it looks and tastes like bread..hehe. I am going to try to do this at least once a week now so we have bread for the week..I was actually shocked how quick the actual work was and besides the waiting it took no time at all! If you have not done it yourself then go try it..it is really satisfying to have flour and other basic ingredients and a couple of hours later have 2 loaves of fresh bread!
..also as a note let the bread cool before attempting to cut. I mangled one of the 2 loaves because I wanted to taste it and could not wait!