“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

Monday, January 17, 2011

On Bread Baking

Weekly ration of bread .. pic by Mrs. Mac
We've been getting by with just the bread coming out of our ovens.  Seems if I set aside one afternoon or evening a week (Sunday .. so far), I can bake up two batches of dough .. both making two loaves or two dozen rolls.  We are currently enjoying an oat bread for sandwiches, an Italian loaf for garlic toast or pizza, and a hamburger bun recipe that I've switched out white flour with whole wheat white.  The dough is mixed in our Kitchenaid stand mixer with a dough hook attachment and placed in the oven on a dough proof setting in large covered bowls.  I really try to stretch the bread to last an entire week.  Half goes double wrapped in the storage freezer to pull out midweek.

Hubby and I have been checking around for a flour mill.  I'd probably prefer one that is manual .. but with my right shoulder feeling pain from an injury last year .. electric seems a better fit with the amount of flour we would have to mill each week.  Next month is my birthday .. and the one I am interested in (Nutrimill Grain Mill) is currently on sale .. so it got ordered a few days ago.  I'm excited to take our bread making one step further by milling our own flour.  This will probably be our only major kitchen purchase this year.
bread holder for slicing ..  pic by Mrs. Mac


I picked up the nifty bread slicer at a local thrift store.  It's shaped for bread machine loaves .. but can be used with my oven baked bread.  It cost a whole 99 cents.  Using it gives very uniform slices .. unlike my previous freehand slicing produced.  There's nothing like the smell of baking bread wafting through the house.  Are you a bread baker?  If so, what's your preferred method for making it?

22 comments:

Maria Stahl said...

That's a great price on the Nutrimill!

I covet your Kitchenaid.

I mix most of our bread in the bread machine, then take it out after the first rising and do the rest manually.

I like your Bread Making Stats thingie over there =========>. I wonder if it's too late or if I could reconstruct what I have made so far this year and do the same.

Mrs. Mac said...

Maria .. I use to do the dough in my bread machine .. then one day it wiggled off the counter and the top broke .. still works and if one of my daughters wants to start baking .. she's getting the old bread machine for making dough. As far as the Kitchenaid .. it's a work horse for sure ..

Lynda said...

I baked bread yesterday, myself. Two loaves of whole wheat and two of Brioche (to use up some eggs and yogurt). I use the Kitchenaid on one end of the counter and the bread machine on the other. I like your bread slicing thing...and what a great price!

FlowerLady said...

My bread machine made a loaf of Parmesan, blk. pepper, garlic and onion bread today, while we were outside dealing with tree trimming. I love the aroma of baking bread. It is comforting and healing.

Happy Homemaking and caring ~ FlowerLady

The Younger Rachael said...

I love my kitchenaide for making dough, but mostly pizza dough. When I make bread I make it by hand with a big wooden spoon (I broke the last wooden spoon, which was a thin bamboo one). I can make dough for 2 loaves this way, but with my kitchenaide, I can only get dough for 1 loaf. Plus, I like the physical exertion stirring and kneading give. But, no shoulder injuries here. My mom loved her kitchenaide, since she didn't have the strength to knead dough, so it let her make dough and breads even when physically she couldn't.

The Professor's Wife said...

I mostly bake biscuits as I can't have gluten and haven't figured out a good inexpensive gluten free recipe.

My mom has a hand-cranked wheat grinder that she grinds her own wheat from

Maria Stahl said...

My bread machine did the same thing! I still use it. It's not pretty, but it works great.

Kay said...

Yay You for getting the grain mill. I have the one they discontinued offering (the Whisper Mill) but yours has some very nice features.

I too like your lists to the right. This will be our year of more frugality and eating more healthy.

and thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. Hugs!

emilysincerely said...

Your bread looks beautiful! And what a neat bread slicer-thing. I make a no-knead artisan-type bread. I struggle with slicing it because I have tendinitis and some mild carpel tunnel in my hand. I am doing so many things left handed, but I am still working on being comfortable slicing bread with my left hand. It will take time. I am anxious to hear about your new grinder when you get it.

Bellen said...

I'm sure you'll love your Nutrimill as much as we do. We aren't baking as much as we used to (getting my diabetes under control is harder than I thought and bread is my downfall), but when we were baking 2-3 loaves a week, we'd grind 8 cups of grain for a week's worth of flour. It is slightly loud, but that only lasts about 10 min total. Small price to pay.

Dani said...

Love your bread slicer. I, too, am unable to cut a straight slice :-)

Monday's Child said...

I have that bread slicer! The hooks on the front legs are for storing the electric knife made by the same company. I fly through bread slicing that way. Though my bread would stay fresher if I sliced as needed instead of all at once. But I'm lazy. ;-)

Mrs. Mac said...

Monday's Child .. aah .. thanks for explaining what the front hooks are for .. I was imagining it hooked to another slicing unit :) Thanks for the info.

LynnS said...

Your bread photo is beautiful!!

I grind our wheat berries (or oat groats, etc) for our breads now. Last year, I bought the Country Living Mill and I love it!! I love the grain textures I get from the mill. You're going to enjoy having a mill, I know it!

Like you, I mix most of our bread in our Kitchenaide, but there are a few recipes I have to hand-mix and hand-knead. Most breads I hand-knead anyway -- I like the process so it's not a problem.

That bread slicer is clever and you are lucky to have gotten one at at a thrift store! I just use a bread knife, never even seen a slicer like that before. Maybe I should get out more?! lol

Maria Stahl said...

Emilysincerely, have you tried an electric knife?

Morgan said...

I was trying out a breadmachine with some preprepared breadmix which I got very cheaply - 3.5kg for just £1 compared with bread flour at 1.5kg for £1.29 - but I hate the holes which the paddles leave in the bread. Yesterday I made two loaves very successfully by mixing the dough in my Kenwood stand mixer, and then cooking the loaves in the oven - and I was so happy!! I sliced them with an electric slicing machine I have had for a few years now, and I have them both in the freezer. I will be planning to make a couple of loaves like that maybe twice a week - or I may use your example and make rolls instead occasionally.

Diane said...

That's a very nifty gadget. The one grip I have about using our home made bread for sandwiches is not being able to get the slices right. May need to look into to purchasing one of these.
Blessings
Diane

City Sister said...

My sister said that the family grain mill is awesome...it's both electric and/or hand done...

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Oh, I also used to grind most of my flour. I did it by hand, but someone I knew had a cool electric one I thought about getting sometime. I'm thinking it was low and round, but my memory may not be serving me correctly.

I like to use the sponge method, where you put mix together part of the water, the yeast, honey, or whatever sweetener you are using, and some of the flour. After it bubbles, you add the rest of the ingredients, then knead. I also like to push it down after the first rising, and let it rise again before shaping it into loaves.

I hadn't made any bread for a number of years, but did a couple weeks ago on one of our snowy days. One of the loaves didn't get done all the way through, I'm thinking, because after it thawed from the freezer, it had a damp center that did not smell good. That was disappointing.

Your spread sure looks good!

Living on Less Money said...

I found a bread slicer at our local thrift store, too! I paid around $2.00 for mine.

I wondered where you found the wheat berries in the Walmart store. I've never seen them in ours here in California.

I'm following you now and have enjoyed your blog.

Mrs. Mac said...

Hi Living On Less .. I found the wheat berries at our Super Walmart on the shelf just below where they sell flour. Check with the store manager if you can't find them .. here's a link you can enter your zip code to see what's available in your area.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Prairie-Gold-Hard-White-Spring-Wheat/14122834

I hope you are able to find some at that good price. Blessings!

Casey said...

I love the bread slicer. I need to find one like that. Just found your blog today Thanks for sharing the things you have learned.