Friday, May 16, 2008

Baking Bread

There is nothing like the smell of hot bread coming out of the oven. The kids are always looking for a piece even before it has cooled enough to cut it. Last year I started making bread almost daily. With the cost of organic bread over $3. per loaf and our daily usage over a loaf a day, I decided that I could just as easily make bread for a lot less. I found a great recipe to throw into my bread machine and off I went. But this recipe called for all white flour and I really wanted to use wheat flour, so I started experimenting. Finally I perfected a recipe that I could get up in the morning, throw everything in and four hours later (just in time for lunch) have a loaf of fresh bread.

But what if I missed a day? Then we would have no bread. What should I do? Running the electric bread machine all day was going to cost me more than buying bread, so I had gained nothing! Besides the annoying hole in the bottom of each loaf from the machine paddles was driving the kids crazy. So I decided to start making bread the old fashioned way … again experimenting with recipes, I found a great recipe that I could use whole wheat flour, only a tablespoon of sugar, and mixed well and baked well and the kids liked it! I also could do two loaves … one to eat and one to put in the freezer and if I knew it was going to be a busy week I could easily double it without adding to the electric bill.

In the final hot weeks of August last year I made more bread than ever. I was in my ninth month of pregnancy (with baby number five)and there was something about kneading the dough that I found very relaxing. This was the first thing that I did when I woke up every morning, sometimes I would lie in bed and just wait until a decent hour to get up to start my bread. Needless to say the freezer was full of bread when our little bundle of joy arrived … actually there was also two fresh loaves of wheat bread and two loaves of zucchini bread that I had made (with the help of my mom, my oldest daughter, and my mother-in-law) during the wee morning hours of labor.

Well, ever since Sam arrived our lives has been chaos … here is a quick glimpse: he arrived the last week of August, we sold our house in September, moved in October, moved again under not so great circumstances in November and spent the winter with our wonderful family … living out of boxes in their house! We recently moved to a new apartment and we are finally getting settled again!

So yesterday, for the first time since just before Sam was born, I decided to make bread. As I have not seemed to unpack my old recipes, I decided to try a new recipe that had been posted on a yahoo group. I already had plans to alter the recipe which indeed always gets me in trouble but for some reason I feel the need to perfect it! So I made five loaves of bread yesterday … two were just as the recipe says and they came out great! One I added maple syrup and oats and it looks good but we have not cut into it yet! The other two … well, I learned long ago that when bread does not work out, MAKE CROUTONS!

Just incase you would like to give it a try I am going to add a recipe section on my new blog. I would love to hear bread stories and share recipes! Happy bread baking!

1 comment:

Tricia said...

My mouth is watering just thinking of homemade bread, especially the loaf with maple syrup and oats. My husband adores fresh bread and refuses to eat the All-American preservative infused sliced stuff, but the prices are getting outrageous, even with the non-organic kind. He and I were just discussing yesterday that the bread he likes has jumped from $1.89 to over $3.00 a loaf. I may have to follow your lead and start baking more. Any yummy recipes for a crusty artisan bread?