Monday, May 4, 2009

Bread Baking 101

I haven't made bread from scratch in over a year. Yes, I know the stuff we buy from the grocery store is unhealthy - even the whole wheat kind. But I just never could get my groove on last year.

This year the girls have really been pestering me to teach them to make bread, so I decided to get all the ingredients together with my groove.

Katie loves to grind the wheat into flour. That's her favorite part of any recipe that calls for flour. She's always the one to pour the wheat into the grinder. Please don't tell me you buy your flour from the store. You know they take all the healthy stuff out of the flour so it will last longer on the shelf, right? You know they take all the healthy stuff they removed from the flour and feed it to farm animals because it's got all those nutrients in it and makes the livestock really healthy, right? You know they blow bleach through the flour to make it white, right?


Emily added the yeast. One thing about yeast is you need warm water to activate it. If your water is too cold it won't activate the yeast; if your water is too hot, it kills the yeast. These are the lessons I am trying to impart to my daughters.

Once you get all the oil and honey mixed in you have to let it sit and "sponge" for a bit. When you first leave it sitting, it looks like this.

After it sits undisturbed for thirty minutes, it has all these little bubbles in it. That's what "sponging" does.

Then comes the best part. I hate to knead the dough. I really do. I think it is one of the most rotten chores a person can do.

My girls love it.

I might as well have handed them play-doh they were so happy. Eventually they will discover this is a chore, and therefore not fun.

But for now, I'm riding that pony as far as it will go.

Our bread did not turn out quite as fluffy as it should have. We are going to have to adjust our recipe each time until we discover what is the best combination of ingredients for this humidity level and height above sea level and all that. I'd explain how, but it involves lots of calculus and trigonometry and higher math, and would be too complicated to explain in a short time.

Just trust me.

And don't buy your flour from the store.

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