Monday, September 26, 2005

Learning to bake bread

Yesterday I had another happy moment in the kitchen. I recently picked up The Bread Bible and made my first recipe out of it. It was a simple hearth bread- and a little involved- but the end product was so wonderful. I don't know why I avoided that book for so long! One of my recent accomplishments has been to bake pretty good bread- but I want to take that a step further, and I certainly did that yesterday. I will certainly share the recipe is someone is interested- but it's pretty long so I may have to e-mail it. Let me know if you're interested. In the meantime I will share some of the details. :-)

This was my first experience with a "sponge", and certainly won't be the last. Basically the sponge is the water, yeast, and some flour combined and left to grow and ferment. It imparts a fabulous flavor to the bread- slightly tangy, and also adds to the tenderness I believe. Sourdough is a perfect example of bread made with a starter. I made my starter before going to church in the morning, and 4 hours later I started the kneading process. I love to knead bread. This also was different. I started the kneading, and kneaded for about 5 minutes. Then I covered the bread and let it rest for 20 minutes. Then I continued kneading for another 5 minutes, or until I felt the texture change- and it noticably changed! I baked the bread after spritzing it with water, and steamed it by throwing some ice cubes into a preheated cast iron pan.

The bread was perfect. It was made with just 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour thrown in- and the flavor from that! The crust was so wonderfully chewy, and the bread had a moist, tight crumb that tore beautifully. I am sure the chewiness is from the steam- and I hope to make this bread again tomorrow because my mouth is watering just thinking about it! :-)

In other news, Abigail has her very first field trip to the apple orchard tomorrow. She is so excited. I'm not sure if she is more excited about the actual field trip, or riding the school bus to the field trip. I will be anxious to pick her up from school tomorrow. Today she picked her special pumpkin from Grandma's garden and declared that it will become pumpkin pie. I'm not sure it's a pie pumpkin, but I will be a good Mommy, and on Friday while she is at school, I will bake the pumpkin for her to turn into a pie when she gets home. She has really taken an interest in the kitchen lately. I'm looking forward to the holidays this year. Actually, Zander wants to help too. I made marinated olives yesterday and he wanted to "pinch" the asiago cheese into the olives for me. It's soooo nice to have a kitchen big enough that my two kids can stand on chairs at the counter and help me out. I get warm fuzzies just thinking about it! Andy took pictures of it- so maybe someday I will post that. (Gotta get that digital camera on my Christmas list!)

1 comment:

Joe said...

Hi Erika,

Doesn't making bread just give you such a feeling of accomplishment? I don't get to make it as much as I like but it is something I get excited about when I need to make some!