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.


jack-of-all-thumbs said...

OK, I'm adding it to my Christmas gift list. Homemade bagels sound good, and the picture of your daughter shrieks 'challenge'!! If she can make bread, then I have no excuse for not trying.

On another note; I'd like to order your fudge for holiday gifts; can you send me the link and any hints/restrictions as to what's available?


Annette said...

I love the Artisian Bread in 5. We have not ventured into the other types bread-just the basic seems to be the most I have time for.

our friend Ben said...

We love our bread here, too, Alan. And your bagel-baker is adorable! Did you know the followup to Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, is now available? Amazon's offering it discounted for $16.37 (something like $11 dollars off list price). Go for it!

the inadvertent farmer said...

Alan...the new one is out with whole grains. 'Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day'. It rocks!

Glad you are enjoying the fresh bread!

Daphne said...

I tend to not bake bread over the summer, but now is the season. I'm not a big loaf fanatic since there are only two of us here and we don't eat that much bread, but I do love to make grilled bread. I often have dough in the fridge during the cold months. It takes a while for it to start to rise for loafs, but for grilled bread, I just roll it out cold, brush it with olive oil and throw it on the grill (I have an indoor grill). It is super fast and bread always tastes better when it is hot.

Sheria said...

I'm so inspired by your bread baking! I have visions of serving homemade bread at Thanksgiving dinner.

What's this about fudge? I read Jack's comment. Please send me info about your fudge. I would also like to order some for Christmas gifts.

Sheria said...

Don't know how I missed it, but I just saw the fudge order box on your blog!

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Hey, are we kind of living a parallel life or what? I have been enthralled with my Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day since June...I've been bad about posting my successes on my blog, taking the easier route and posting photos and short, pithy comments on my Facebook (baaaaad blogger, I know) - but don't you just love this book?
I baked two loaves of challah just tonight and I'm particularly fond of the European peasant bread. It is possible to have fresh bread every day!! :-)


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