|Traveling dough. I couldn’t resist buckling it in for the photo : ) Usually I just set the bowl on the floor and cover it well to keep it out of direct sun.|
In gathering my thoughts for this week’s program about homemade bread I so wanted to promise you that making your family’s bread would be neat, easy, and delicious. I have tried all the shortcut methods to homemade bread – as you may have – in hopes that I could produce good bread with less work in less time. And less mess, too. Because let’s face it – baking is messy!
There are some very “okay” recipes out there for making bread that looks like it came from a bakery. Unfortunately, most of these are sadly lacking in flavor. I’m not satisfied with “okay” bread. I want good bread. Bread that is a pleasure to eat and that sustains me. So while I cannot promise to offer you bread recipes that are “easy and mess-free!” I can promise that they are delicious. It seems one of the most important ingredients in good bread is… time. And I can offer you some tips to get you thinking about how you can work bread-baking into your life.
Did you know that bread dough is portable? In the moderate temperatures of spring and autumn you may simply bring your bowl of rising bread dough along with you when you run a few errands or have a short appointment. Park in the shade, position the bowl of dough out of direct sun, and leave your car window open to prevent heat build up if it is warm out. I have been known to tote bowls of rising yeast dough to the store, my children’s schools, doctor’s appointments, and the even salon! (The bowl above was photographed at the orthodontist’s office just this week.) As needed, I return to my vehicle to deflate the dough — up to 2 times — knead it briefly in the bowl, and then go home to finish baking.
|Favorite Buttermilk Bread + Blackberry Freezer Jam = <sigh…>|
The first recipe I want to share with you is my family’s most requested: Favorite Buttermilk Bread. Fresh buttermilk (I’ll even show you how to culture your own; Kitchen-Cultured Buttermilk) lends these loaves lush texture; honey extends the keeping quality, and it is a generous recipe that bakes up into 3 loaves to eat now, share, or freeze. The flour ratio calls for one-quarter whole wheat to three-quarters white flour; a good place to begin in your quest to improve your family’s consumption of whole grains without inviting mutiny. The dough is adaptable; Traditional Pan Loaves, Bosom Loaves, Victorian Loaves, Cinnamon Swirl Bread, Home-Style Buttermilk Pan Rolls, Big Soft Bread Twists, and Cinnamon Sugar Wands can be made from the same dough.
|Good thing we have a second fridge; it is devoted to bread dough in preparation for the show.|
|Various and sundry items destined for Kitchen Wisdom programs “Thrifty Soups” & “Honestly Homemade Bread.” Our kitchen table is under there somewhere… I think!|
And then I’d like to show you how to make a straight-forward Classic French Bread that is easy enough for a beginner. Only four ingredients are listed on the recipe, but your refrigerator and a baking stone play important roles. (See Preparing for Hearth Baking for tips.) If you are a beginning baker my hope is that you will find a comfortable place to begin; if you are a veteran baker I hope you will enjoy my recipes just as much.