25 September 2011

Homemade Goodness

Oh my goodness.   It has taken me a ridiculous amount of time to get this post published.  I'm not quite sure what happened this last week to make us so busy/tired.   My apologies.
I've put off writing this post because according to my father/ taste-tester "we needed to sit down and have a bread-making talk."
Apparently he wasn't impressed by my pastry skills.

I'm going to write it anyway.

We're eating homemade bread starting last week now.  That's the plan anyway.
I want my daughter to grow up with a momma who cooks, bakes and has yummy homemade goodies instead of supermarket snacks.
Don't worry, I'm not so naive that I don't realize when she gets older Twinkies and Nutty Bars might make it onto her list of requests.

Besides, I went through that.

I loathed my mother for not buying us Lunchables (and for not writing notes to me on a napkin in my lunchbox)  Silly me...

I remember standing on the stool with my little apron on as my mom tried to teach me how to bake, and now I regret not paying more attention.
Cookies, brownie's, and cakes I can do.
Bread is different.  Bread is a living, breathing pastry.  It's finicky and cocks an attitude when the weather changes.
Also, I was also taught to follow a recipe religiously when it comes to baking.  It just doesn't work like that with bread.  The recipe is more like a set of guidelines.  Use your own discretion.

I don't know about you, but using my discretion was hard to do when I didn't know what the h%$# I was doing in the first place.

Okay, so first I tried a couple recipes out of the America's test-kitchen cookbook.  It's like the cookbook for dummies so I thought it was a pretty safe choice.
(If you're a visual learner, this would be a great cookbook for you.)

They were... alright.

The white bread was almost too easy to make.  It got my hopes up, then, ever so kindly SMASHED them as I attempted the wheat bread.  Thanks.
So I did a little googling.  I'm not a gambler, but Google is like Russian Roulette for recipes.  Most of the time you get lucky, but ever once in a while you get a rotten egg.
Hey, sometimes I like to live on the wild side.  .
After browsing awhile, I found an oatmeal wheat bread recipe over at Epicurious.    It looked harmless enough. Besides, I wasn't about to give up on wheat bread.  The nutritional value of white bread isn't enough to keep me around no matter how easy it is to make.

So here's how it all went down - in a nutshell.

So besides white flour and wheat flour, this is what you'll need.
Milk, yeast, honey (or sugar), butter, and Old-fashioned oats. Oh yea, and some salt.

Basically, you proof your yeast in the liquid, whether it be milk or water.  Keep your liquids around 95 to 115 degrees or you'll kill your yeast.
Then, here's the best part, throw it all together in your blender with the dough hook attachment.  No kneading here.
Your hands will thank you.
When your dough is the correct consistency (I told you I'm just skimming the surface here) let it rest a couple minutes then put it in a greased/ buttered bowl.  Cover the bowl and let it rise.

Here's where you use your discretion.  It may say 1 hour, but just let the size be the judge here.

After the dough doubles its size, think of everything your significant other has done that day to bust your chops then PUNCH that dough down (one time is enough) as you recall.

Now dump that dough out on a floured surface and flatten it out into a rectangle so you can roll it into a loaf.
This particular recipe made enough for two loaves so I decided to try one in a metal 9x5 pan, and the other in a glass 8x4 pan.
Let those loaves rise again in the pans after swiping the top with a little water/butter/oil, whatever you like.
Again, let the size be your judge here.

When they've reached their peak go ahead and brush the top with an egg wash and add some oats if you'd like.
Throw 'em in the oven, and you're done.
When they are done the bottoms will sound hollow when tapped or you can insert a themometer (not the one you use when you're sick) and if it reached 200, you're good to go.


This picture is a it deceiving.  The front loaf is about half the size of the back. 
Lets just say, I'm not a fan of baking bread in glass pans.

So that's an amateur take on bread making for ya.  I apologize if you're a seasoned baker and my directions just made your shudder, I'm sure. 

How did they taste?
Better than store bought, but nothing impressive. 
(That is what my father wanted to "talk" about.)

What is something new you've tried lately?  
How did it come out?

1 comment:

  1. You're so domestic! And I mean that as a compliment, not as a negative attribute.

    I'm really intimidated about baking with yeast, so I just don't do it. I'm all about the quick breads (which are more cake than bread, so clearly not the nutritious food you're looking for!).

    I've heard really really good things about artisan bread in 5 minutes.
    Maybe you could find it at the library??