Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bread - the stuff of life

We love bread at my house. The kids would eat it exclusively if we let them. Unfortunately, the bread we love isn't really available in our culinary wasteland. We have been forced to eat really pathetic grocery store bread. Even the best of it is soft, sweet, and pasty.

Growing up we made bread at home. Mom baked once a week, and it was an all day project. The bread was whole wheat, brown, heavy, last you through the day kind of bread. It was good, but you wouldn't want to pack a loaf of it very far. It wasn't as lethal as Dwarf Bread, but you could probably build with it. As the oldest of 7 kids I got to help a lot. I learned about mixing, the feel of the dough, kneading, rising times, glutton formation, etc.

When I left home I continued baking a bit. I can make really good cinnamon rolls and reasonably good bread (it never turns out as good as the bread from a good bakery.) What I couldn't do was find the time to bake very often. I don't know how my mom did it, but I can't find a day to bake once a week.

About a month ago Kim over at NDiN did a couple of posts about her Bread Challenge. She described her journey toward making all her own bread. It inspired me to try it too. The thing that gave me hope was the book she referred to - Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

I got the book and we have been trying it. We LOVE it. So far we have made some really great Rye Bread, Baguettes (not as good as you would find in Paris, but almost. Certainly better than the ones we can get at Walmart.) Pizza, Pitta and other flat breads, and today we made Bagels.

We need to work on our bagel technique a bit, but they taste really good.

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