Monday, January 23, 2017

Baking your own bread

Appetite, Bake, Baked, Bakery, Bread 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.

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