“Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat. In our mad rush for progress and modern improvements let's be sure we take along with us all the old-fashioned things worth while.” Laura Ingalls Wilder
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Breaking (from store bought) Bread
Whoever said store bought food is a convenience? You have to go to the store to buy it. You have to worry about what harmful ingredients are in it. You have to pay more for an inferior product. Baking bread at home becomes second nature after a few months of diligent practice. After you develop the skill .. then you can fine tune your production to, perhaps, include freshly ground wheat. You can also use up a lot of leftovers as a portion of the ingredients. You are in charge of quality and quantity control. At the Thrifty Garden/Home we bake approximately two loaves of bread a week. This is plenty for our family of four. Enough for sandwiches to pack in lunch boxes. Plenty to have as a special treat with dinner. Leftover bread is first turned into croutons then French toast. My family has bread preferences. Adding a small boiled/drained/mashed potato gives a good moisture balance. A small amount of leftover cooked oatmeal or yogurt will add moisture as well. Today's loaf I added leftover whey for the liquid and 1/2 cup of sourdough starter. This won't be a true sourdough bread as I added a package of yeast. My sourdough starter needed to be replenished to keep it going. By adding the 1/2 cup I added much flavor to my bread and will have a good fresh batch of starter for use tomorrow. By practicing baking bread you can stop relying on recipes and you will be able to improvise your loaf with leftovers. Once you become familiar how the dough should feel ... recipes can be put away for your standard loaves. Now and again I will bring out a baking book when it's time to master a new bread making skill. For our sandwich loaves I often add a few teaspoons of dehydrated onion flakes, some caraway seeds and dried dill weed. Are you a bread baker? What is your preferred loaf of bread?