There is nothing better than having the smell of fresh baked bread permeating the house. I know, many people use their bread makers to do this job but for me, I seldom get the result I want. Its hard to monitor it so the bread comes out perfectly.
I prefer starting from scratch, mixing it by hand, kneading it, shaping it, and baking it because I have more control over it at every step. I can add a bit more flour, let it rise a bit more, punch it down a bit earlier if it rose faster than expected.
Bread is something you really can't hurry or it won't turn out properly. I've learned to add a certain amount of flour and just stir till it holds together before getting stretchy or it doesn't have the proper finished texture. If I try to make it faster, it turns out wrong. So along the way, I discovered a way to make sure I have bread whenever I want it.
Usually, I stop and make a huge pot of dough, enough for at least two to three loaves of bread. I mix it up, let it rise, then pinch off enough to bake one loaf of bread, or make a pizza, some rolls, before I put the rest of it in a ziplock bag and store it in the fridge.
I found I can leave it in the fridge for a few days. When I'm ready to work with it, I pull it out, pinch off what I need, put the rest back in the fridge and let the part I'm working with have a chance to warm up in the pan I'm going to bake it in. I let it rise then bake as normal. In a little while, I have hot bread I spread butter and jam on to enjoy.
I can buy bread at the local store but its usually that soft white bread you can mush into balls. It can be kind of old or even moldy so I prefer to make my own. It is always so much better - taste wise, is healthier and has fewer preservatives.
I admit, I tend to consume 1/4th of a loaf as soon as its cool enough to pull out of its pan. The hot bread is sooo inviting that I just cannot resist it. Once its cold, its just not quite the same and you can't rewarm it in the microwave to get the same experience. At this point, I sometimes spread the bread with butter, sprinkle it with a cinnamon/sugar mixture before broiling it to create a crispy candy like topping.
Yum. I seldom use bread in a sandwich but sometimes I do toast it, cover it with a Greek yogurt cream cheese and top with Swiss cheese and avocado. Please feel free to share your favorites with me. I'd love to hear.