Thursday, January 18, 2018

No.72: New Habits, Little by Little: Homesteading 101 - Make Your Daily Bread

I live in a farmhouse on five acres in the country.  It's time for this suburban girl to learn a few things!  
Welcome to my self-taught Homesteading 101.

I should probably start with this disclaimer: I'm still buying bread at the grocery store and this doesn't happen every day.  But steps in the right direction!

I've been fascinated by the art and skill of bread baking for awhile now...and honestly, more than a little intimidated.  But I've been telling my kids that to be better at something, we have to work hard at it and well, maybe Mama needs to listen to what she's preaching.

Below are the four recipes I've tried so far:
  • "Best Bread Machine Bread"
    • I started this on my bread machine's dough setting and then separated into two loaf pans.  After they rose again (about an hour or two, depending on the day), I baked for 40 minutes at 375 degrees.
    • Consensus: Delicious!  The kids ate the entire loaf in one sitting.  We've made the recipe four times since.
  • Ciabatta Bread
    • After getting a recommendation for ciabatta on Instagram (thank you Katherine!!), I googled and found this recipe.  Um... this definitely wasn't Ciabatta 101.  This required a two-day process and I even made my own starter/sponge!  
    • Consensus: I may have done something wrong here - I don't think it was as airy as it was supposed to be.  Still super delicious.  We ate it with soup.   
  • Ciabatta Bread
    • THIS is the recipe I think Katherine was talking about, hah!  The bread machine does most of the work for you, but the second half? Oh.my.word.  I was a hot mess.  The gooey, sticky dough is supposed to rest under a bowl for 15 minutes and I had the hardest time getting it underneath.  My kids kept yelling, "IT'S ALIVE!!"  Don't even get me started about transferring to a baking sheet to rise...  
    • Consensus: Yum.  My technique needs improvement, but definitely airier than the one I made above.
  • White Bread
    • Mark found this recipe and led the baking of this one.  It makes two massively tall loaves!  I'm thinking that we could separate it into four instead and it wouldn't make much of a difference.
    • Consensus: As far as sheer size, these are the clear winners, but I prefer the taste of the other breads above.
Still on my list: bread cooked in the Dutch oven, something that uses almond flour, pretzel bites, and maybe a cinnamon raisin loaf.  And probably a workout plan too.  Thank goodness there are 8 people in this house or I'd need a bigger pair of pants!

10 comments:

  1. My son has been making dutch oven bread for a couple of years. He tried it on a whim (he isn't a baker otherwise), and it turned out awesome and delicious right from the first time. The recipe he follows is at the end of this post:
    https://www.artofmanliness.com/2017/01/18/bread-baking-101-beginners/

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  2. Dutch. Oven. Bread. SO EASY AND SO GOOD. I'm never going to bake bread a different way again (except for the occasional batch of French baguettes). I think I use a version of this recipe but I'd have to double check: https://www.lecreuset.com/dutch-oven-bread.

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    1. Thank you for the recipe! I think you've convinced me - Dutch oven bread is happening next. :)
      P.S. Do share your recipe/technique for French baguettes too!

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  3. I bake A TON of bread and still buy sandwich bread at the store - I can't bake fast enough to keep up with the kids' consumption!!

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    1. Right?! I originally thought bread baking would help lower the amount I buy at the store. Ummm nope - more like they just get a warm, freshly baked snack, haha!

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  4. I’m so glad the ciabatta recipe worked out (mostly...) — yes, it’s the second recipe! It is a bit sticky but when you get better at handling it you can even split it into little misshapen ciabatta rolls and bake it less time. My son basically doesn’t like human food but he likes ciabatta so I make it a lot. But I just started dabbling in sourdough and feel like a beginner all over again!

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    1. Ooh, I love that idea of little rolls. I'll have to keep practicing!
      I'd love to read your sourdough technique someday too.

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  5. This is something that my husband and I really really want to get into this year. I'm already home during the day, so why not? Good luck in all your bread baking adventures! :)

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    1. Ooh, you'll have to share how it goes at your house! I'm finding bread baking so satisfying - only a handful of ingredients and you get THIS?! Amazing.

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