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.
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!