Winter is back. It was in the teens last night and we have snow in the forecast for tonight. Spring will come. It always does and since we can’t do anything about Mother Nature I guess we will have to just keep on going with winter. A great time for hot, tasty bread. I am sharing a few tips I have found helpful. I am not offering any recipes right now because I use many different ones and there are a ton online and in many cook books. Just keep trying different ones and you will find the ones you like best.
I have discovered sourdough bread. I am getting better at it almost every time I make it. I love how it looks when it comes out of the oven and I love how it smells and sounds. It crackles for a while as it cools down.
Of course to make sourdough bread you need a starter. The first time I made it I found most of my starter on the floor and all down the sides of the jar. It overflowed. I have since started using a larger jar.
To proof my sourdough bread I used a bowl with flour covered towels and it didn’t work well. The dough, which can be a bit sticky, stuck to the towels and it was hard to flip it into a baking pan. I proof it in a cast iron pan now and cook it right in the same pans. It isn’t the best way so I am going to order some proofing baskets soon.
I want to get better at the sourdough and will keep trying. Practice makes perfect!
I make bread a lot. I don’t like to buy it. It is expensive and it doesn’t always taste that good. Trouble, for me, is that sometimes the bread doesn’t come out that well. Sometimes it has a hole in the middle. (Good for egg in a hole). Sometimes it is dry and crumbly and doesn’t slice well. I keep making it though because most times it is good and everyone eats it right up.
I use a good bread flour and also whole wheat flour that I get at the health food store. I just think it is a bit fresher. Whole wheat flour can get rancid smelling and tasting if it is old. I keep whole wheat flour in the fridge.
Testing yeast is always a good thing. I try and not rush. If the yeast doesn’t bubble up you won’t get bread to rise.
I use my stand mixer to make bread. It is the main reason I bought it. It is great at kneading the dough and it is less work for me. Often I take it out and knead it by hand for a bit more until it is really ready. Then in a bowl it goes to rise up! Then shape it and let it rise again. Then slash it a few times with a sharp tool, I use a razor. Then wait for it to cook in a hot oven. That is sometimes the hardest part because you have to smell it while it cooks.
Doesn’t that look yummy?