Well, since it seems like the weather isn’t getting any better around here, I guess that means I have a little extra time this week for blogging! Classes were canceled for Tuesday, so while it doesn’t mean I got the entire day off, it was nice to sleep in instead of waking up to -7 degree weather!
Earlier in the month, I decided that I would pick up a new hobby – baking my own bread. After learning more about just how much crap can be found in store-bought bread (especially the amount of sugar…yikes!), I thought it would be fun and beneficial to have more control over what I eat. Bread seemed like a great place to start.
So, when the polar vortex bullshit started a few weeks ago, I went out to get a few supplies: I had a gift card left over from the holidays, so I went out to get a few things I knew I’d need. Our baking/cookie pan was a total disaster, so I got a much bigger, much nicer one. The book below also called for a broiler pan, so I picked one of those up too – not sure why I’ve never had one before, but hey…I do now! I also needed a good dough scraper, so I grabbed one on my way out.
The book I decided to start with to help ease me into bread making is The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day:While the “5 minutes a day” is a bit of a loose concept (almost none of the process takes 5 minutes), it’s a lot faster method of baking than using traditional double-rise methods. Basically, the dough is made ahead of time, then stored in the refrigerator. Whenever you’re ready to bake, you pull out the dough you need, let it rise on the counter, then bake. Essentially, it’s the same as regular baking, but you’re splitting the two rising times into two different days. The dough also stores in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, depending on the dough, so if you’re like me, and you only want to make a small loaf, you can. The concept sounded great to me, and the fact that I can make it ahead of time means I can have bread whenever I want, without the 4-hour time commitment.
I decided to start with something easy, so I went with their European Peasant Loaf. It was super easy to make, even easier to bake, and tasted great. I made a half recipe, so I had enough to make two small loaves. It was perfect. The only problem was that D. liked it too, so I burned through my first batch faster than I was hoping to! I guess that means I will have to make more next time. I’m hoping to spend more time this winter learning how to bake different breads, especially sandwich bread. I’m a sucker for a good egg sandwich in the morning, and while I usually like them with an English muffin, sometimes a good, hearty wheat bread is even better. That, and it tastes amazing with jam!
So if you’re freezing your ass off like I am today, go bake some bread!