“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?


Tammy said...

I have hamburger buns raising on the counter even as I type! :D

Tammy and Parker

DarcyLee said...

You're right, whenever we get practice doing something over and over again, we naturally get better at it. I'm learning that with sourdough and pie crusts-2 things that used to intimidate me.

Star said...

Now, I could really do with your help please! I am English and what I cook over there does not come out the same over here...when I make bread over here, the loaf comes out heavy and it's hard to cut through the crust. What am I doing wrong? I was about to get brave and have another go this week, but .... don't want another failure. I have used dried yeast and the loaf proves well. I cook it in a hot oven for half an hour and then take it out. I bang it and if it sounds hollow, it is done. Fine so far...but the next day it is as hard as a rock and I have to chuck it out. HELP please.
Blessings, Star

Mrs. Mac said...

Star ... I think it might be your flour ... I'll email you and check what you're using.

Maria Stahl said...

I had not bought bread since before Thanksgiving and was so proud. But I let us run out of homemade one time too many and next thing I knew, Barry sneaked 2 loaves of store-bought into the house. I was so mad.

wv = catalowd, as in, our cats are only catalowd expensive veterinary cat food that costs more than the groceries for the rest of us

LynnS said...

I've made my own bread for about 25 years now -- it's more wholesome and makes the kitchen smell good! lol

Our favorite breads are made with WW. We use more rolls than breads, though, and we have 2 favorites. I'll have to post the recipes soon.

Kimberly said...

I have a basic whole wheat recipe I use for sandwich bread, rolls, baguettes, buns, whatever--even cornucopias at Thanksgiving. :)
1/4 c yeast
1/4 c sugar/sucanat
2 tbl salt
5 c warm water
15+ c flour (I milled hard red wheat usually, but also blend in soft wheat and sometimes AP flour when needed. The amount of flour really varies depending on how coarse/fine I ground, what type I use. I go by feel. It should be soft, but not sticky.)
Mix it all together in a heavy mixer adding flour as needed. Let rise in a big bowl for 45 min. Then shape as desired and let rise until doubled.

This makes 4 baguettes, 3 sandwich loaves,or tons of rolls depending on size.

My general rule for baking is 15 minutes at 425 then 15 min at 375--less for rolls, of course.
Because there is no fat, this is NOT a good keeper. I let it cool, slice it all and freeze whatever we don't need for that day. Then I just pop slices in the toaster as needed.

Star said...

Thank you. My email is Stella3333@earthlink.net
I have been using the self rising flour or sometimes a little of the all purpose. I use dried yeast and have tried putting 2 sachets in instead of one to get a good rise! I do get a good rise, so I think I'm ok so far. I read Kimberley's post about the oven temperatures and will try that next time. Very hot to start with, then cooler for the second half of the cooking. That might work. Yes, I agree it could be the flour but I am not familiar with all the flours over here in the U.S. I don't understand the abbreviations in Kimberley's post either.
What is sucanat?
Does c mean cup? if so how do you get an exact measurement?
What is hard red wheat?
What is AP flour? is that all purpose?
I don't have a heavy mixer. I use my hands.