Let them have bread

So today I finally got around to making bread. And it wasn’t totally as hard as I expected it to be.

I followed Alton Brown’s recipe because, well, I love him and I like the idea of not having to cook the bread in a loaf pan, which I don’t own, and don’t want to buy. Plus, he pre-ferments some of his flour and yeast so I thought it went along with some of the guidelines in Nourishing Traditions, at least a little, even if I used white flour this time.

The bread turned out pretty well. I expected it to rise a little more when being cooked. I think I didn’t give the inital rise enough time which might have lead to it not rising when it was cooking. And the crust was just wayyyy too hard, so I need to do something to adjust that. Perhaps lower the temperature or not use the cornstarch wash he recommends.

I also used AP flour instead of bread flour. Does that matter? I’m not sure. I’ll probably try it the other way next time just to compare. This is definitely a bread that you can make on the weekend and enjoy all week, although I wouldn’t say the slices would be that great for sandwiches. The bread is just too dense for that.

But it must have been pretty good because I ate it with absolutely no toppings. I just shoved it down my pie hole. (I won’t mention how many pieces my wife had…)

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In other news, it was a good food day at our house. We had home made buttermilk pancakes for breakfast, a nice citrus beef stew for lunch and a fried chicken dinner. I had leftover buttermilk from buttermaking and that went into the mashed potatoes and gave them a nice little twang. And FINALLY I was able to get the creamy gravy right. Usually I make it too thick or somehow make it taste all floury, but I got it this time. I’m pretty stoked about that.

You can say it was a good day when you have three homemade meals like that to get you through the day.

FGLB

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10 responses to “Let them have bread

  1. Congrats on the breadmaking! For what it’s worth, I use all-purpose flour for the loaves I’ve made so far.

    With regards to the bread rising, moisture seems to make a huge difference. I either ferment the dough overnight or make a ‘poolish’ or starter dough the night before. Regardless, I’ve found that as the dough gets drier and easier to work, the resulting bread is denser and rises less. The moist, sticky dough that’s a pain to work with seems to make bread that has more air pockets and rises easier…

  2. Way to go! As you know I always use all purpose flour but that is what my recipes call for. Good yeast and moisture temp is very important since to hot it will kill the yeast and too cool you will not get the results. Patience is a good key to have to allow the proper raising of the dough. Let it rest a few minutes before shaping into loaves or rolls.
    Keep working on it. Bread making can be very enjoyable and relaxing.

  3. Try using whole wheat flour, bump your yeast up 10% and use tepid water when you mix your dough. The extra and warmer water will make your dough rise more.

    Also what temp are you baking your bread at?

    If your loaf weighs more then 24 ozs or so-don’t go any higher then 370 degrees, that will let the insides of your bread bake more throughly before the crust gets too dark.

  4. Hey how was the stew? whats the recipe, I am trying to find a stew to make here, but many things I can get here like beef stock. can do the carrots, potatoes, onions, things of that nature, but spices are very limited, except for sesame seed, garlic, and red pepper. don’t be confused by the red pepper though, it has less than zero flavor, all heat. horrible, horrible stuff. My dinner for 4 was great Saturday though. Italian chicken and veggies, mashed taters, and white country gravy(thanks for the gravy pack Mom!). mmm-mmm.

  5. George and Bart have some good pointers to try and I question the 400 degree oven in the recipe as well. Let it proof longer next time and try 400 deg for 20-30 minutes, then turn it down to 350 for the rest of the cooking time. If it’s still too hard, then try 350 for the whole time.

    Regarding flour, I’ve sourced a local, family owned/operated, organic grain producer called Paul’s Grains-www.paulsgrains.com. You can order a variety of flours, pancake mixes, cereals and whole grains directly from their website. Their seven grain products are very good.

  6. Matt did have a good cooking weekend. I must have gained some weight b/c my pants are tight. Ha ha! They boys chowed down. They aren’t used to good down home cookin’!!!!

  7. The dough did have kind of a dry outside so perhaps that is what lead to the denseness of the bread when it was cooked.

    George–The recipe called for 400 in the oven. The recipe called for 1 lb of flour before all the other ingredients but I think it was still less than 24 ozs. I did put the yeast into cold water, but the directions didn’t specify and you put the pre-ferment into the fridge overnight anyway.

    Dan–I came across Paul’s Grains in the bulk aisle at Hy-Vee recently. Have you tried their stuff? I’m going to check it out the next time I need something, although they only have 7 grain as the choice at my place.

    I think the next time I’m going to do everything the same but use warm water in the pre-ferment and cook it at 375. Other than the extremely hard crust I didn’t mind the consistency on the inside. We’ll see how that turns out this next time I guess.

    Thanks all for your information.

    Ben–I’ll get that recipe out for you in the near future. You will need beef stock, at least from a can, preferably homemade and you’ll need to buy 1.5 lbs of beef. 🙂

  8. ok, cool, how do I make beef stock? hahaha. seriously. I can get the beef, it just isn’t real good beef.

  9. I’ve tried Paul’s 7 grain pancake mix and used their 7 grain flour for bread. It’s pretty good stuff. I recently bought some of their whole wheal flour, but haven’t tried baking with it yet, so can’t comment on that. It may be a little more expensive than other flours, but well worth the cost when you consider you are supporting a local, family run operation (who are really nice people to boot) that has been farming organically for over 40 years.

  10. Ben–

    Put some beef bones (with some meat attached) into a large pot. The best are hoofs and ribs but even a roast with a bone in it will work OK. The more bones the better. I would think the store would have some good soup choices.

    Add some water and carrots, onions, celery and a bay leaf. If you like do some garlic (not powder) and salt and pepper if you wish.

    Slowly simmer that for about 6-10 hours. (slow simmer means an occasional bubble not constant bubbles.)

    Strain that out and the leftover liquid is beef broth/stock. When the stock is done the bones leftover should be super brittle. That means you’ve taken all the nutrients out of the bones and put them into the broth.

    Soups are the best way to use meat that isn’t the best cut or texture because cooking it in the liquid tenderizes it and enfuses it with tons of flavor.

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