The Moveable Feast Food Blog

The Moveable Feast is a Personal Chef Service that serves the Hampton Roads area of Southern Virginia. This blog is an extension of my web site and will go into more details about food and any food service industries. Any pictures and or recipes that are published here are all the property of The Moveable Feast unless otherwise noted.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Let's Break Bread
Last week on Friday the all knowing weather man, Jon Cash, was predicting 1-3 inches of snow. I thought that with some firewood and some good rib sticking food, we would be snug as two bugs in a rug. So I got inspired. I have a bread machine but there is something about bread that has a whole in it that just isn't appealing to my eyes. So I took a HUGE leap of faith in instant rise yeast and made bread from scratch. I got a little mini cookbook from my mother-in-law some years back. I saved it hoping that some day I could make something from it. It's day had come. I have a huge array of honey. My palate is not made for too many wines but for some reason I have some super palate for honey. Who knew? So armed with my little honey cookbook, I was ready to tackle bread.

I used to be an assistant baker at a large bakery here where I live, but honestly that was from 1995-97 and I think forgotten most of what I learned. Baking in a commercial bakery is way different from baking at home. I had to scale down my expectations just a bit about space and equipment, but mostly the rising process and the oven.

To start off I have to say that I did bake this bread on the spur of the moment and if I had been prepared better, my bread would have been better...well maybe. I usually freeze my flour to keep the flour bugs at bay. I have tried the bay leaf trick, but it is a wives tale for sure. So I went to the freezer and found myself some wheat flour. Honestly, I had no idea how long it's been in the freezer. My best estimate is over 18 months. Do I hear bread bakers shreiking with horror? I should have and at the end I did.

Here is the bread after it was given an hour for the first rising. I turned on the oven and set the bowl with a towel covering it next to the oven venting burner on the stove top. I had hoped that the warmth would help to make the rising much better than it turned out. It took 90 minutes to double in size.

The recipe said it makes two loaves. I decided that I didn't want to put them into a loaf pan so I just divided them and shaped then into oblong loaves. This is before the second rising.

Okay, I confess...I couldn't not help but peaking and seeing if the second rising was going well. I did time this for an hour and they did double.

I used the baking stone that sits idol in my oven most of the time to bake the bread. I never use this and you can see from the black spots I am a messy oven person. Here is a picture of one of the finished loaves. The texture is just like the kinds of wheat bread you buy in the store only more dense. Lessons that I have learned...don't keep your flour in the freezer more than a few months. The bread had that funny freezer taste to it. It didn't stop me from eating it but I can taste my freezer in every bite. think I would bake this bread in the loaf pans next time so that all the pieces will fit in the toaster. So I guess I am not a total failure at baking bread, only baking it with that $50 bread machine that I bought!


At 7:33 PM, Blogger s'kat said...

Baking bread is truly a beautiful thing! And even if we only got a mere sprinkling (well, at least over here), it really makes house and hearth a warm and comforting place.

ps- Prue has a blog! Look on DP "prue and you review" i believe... it's on my sidebar.

At 10:09 PM, Blogger Ed Tep said...

I took a breadmaking class at the local Viking Homechef store becore it closed down. I must say that Itruly admire anyone who can bake bread from scratch. It is such a difficult art AND science.

At 3:38 AM, Blogger vlb5757 said...

I am so bad with baking bread at home. I got used to doing it at a bakery and you get spoiled having the proof box and a commercial oven not to mention fresh cake yeast. I am going to try and bake some more next week. We'll see how it goes!

At 5:23 AM, Blogger Melissa CookingDiva said...

Vickie,...King's Arthur Flour is one of my favorite brands. I order many things from their catalogue, BUT flour. It is just too heavy to ship here. I'll have to convince some local supermarket owner to bring the line to Panama :)

The good thing is that I can get fresh yeast cakes at almost any supermarket. They are great! There is nothing better than preparing bread with fresh yeast, hmmm...those cinnamon rolls! Hugs,

At 12:41 PM, Blogger michelle said...

I laughed out loud at your freezer-burned flour (not to laugh at your misfortune, of course...just, uh, laughing WITH're laughing, right?). I think it looks very tasty! I'm not very good at bread...mine either comes out way too dense or has a hole in the bottom from the breadmaker. I'm sad that the bay leaf trick doesn't work because we recently had a bug invasion in some cornmeal and I freaked out and cleaned everything, threw away a bunch, and stuck bay leaves in everything! Now I get bay leaves in strange places...I may have to just put everything in the freezer now. :(

At 3:28 PM, Blogger vlb5757 said...

Michelle, I heard that you can freeze cornmeal, flours and rices for about three weeks or maybe a little more to prevent the bugs from hatching. You know their eggs are already in the food but dormat. If you give them the right temperature and humidity, they of course will hatch. Gross huh?

It's okay if you laugh. I did laugh when I read your comment. I am going to not freeze my flour as long anymore! The reason I know the bay leaf doesn't work, is because I got bugs in my rice when I had the bay leaf in there. So...


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