Feb 16, 2011

My First Loaf ....er, Loaves Of Bread

After watching the the documentary, How To Cook Your Life, I knew this was where I wanted to begin my bread journey. The movie documents filmaker, Doris Dorrie's summer spent taking a culinary class at a Zen center that was taught by Edward Espe Brown, author of The Tassajara Bread Book. I was mesmerized at the setting, the people, and the reverence for the cooking process not to mention all the wisdom and skill displayed by Brown himself. If you don't have his book yet, I would highly recommend getting it. There are recipes for bread, muffins, pastry, rolls and even butters and pies!

A link to Amazon for this book can be found in my right had sidebar.... #1. ---->

Today I'm making the basic, Tassajara Yeasted Bread following the recipe HERE. The substitutions I incorporated today are: I used clover honey for my sweetener, and a half and half mixture of %100 King Arthur (KA) whole wheat flour and KA All Purpose Flour in the "sponge." In the second addition of flour, I used half and half of KA All Purpose Flour and Gold Medal Better For Bread flour. In our area today it was rainy, and I found I didn't need all of the second addition of 4 cups of flour, more like about 3 1/2 cups. I also punched the dough down after an hour and went for a second rising of 40 minutes. This recipe of bread is supposed to make 2 - 4 1/2 x 8 1/2 pans worth. After brushing the bread with an egg wash, I sprinkled a bit of 7 grain mix from the health food store on top.

Let me just say, it's been YEARS since I made bread that required kneading AND I LOVED IT!! There is just something so soothing about the over and over action of your entire body. Here are a few pictures of today's bread making......

Creating the Sponge

Kneading, Rising and Baking

A few bread myths...
  1. "It takes too long to make bread from scratch." I didn't find that to be true especially with this recipe. Since there were several steps, I would just measure out the flour for the next step while I was waiting.
  2. "It costs too much money to make and buy all the equipment." Bread is very forgiving. Remember, people have been baking it for EONS! Flour, salt, water, yeast and a little sweetener cost very little compared to a $3 loaf of bread at the store AND you know every little ingredient that goes into it. I also found everything it took to put it together; measuring cups and spoons, bowls, spatulas and pans already in my cupboard or I've seen pans at the thrift shop for literally less than a dollar.
  3. "I work and can't stay home to babysit bread all day." Well, have you ever thought about a an electric breadmaker. Most of them are programmable so you don't need to do more than measure a few things before work and set it up to be done when you get home.
  4. "But it doesn't taste like store bread." Thankfully that one IS the truth! It tastes way better!

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