Well, since we have had Muffin Monday and Soup Saturday here at Mountain Harvest Basket recently, I thought it was time for "Bread Baking Sunday". Well, so much for continuing with the fun alliteration...oh well, maybe "Sandwich Loaf Sunday"...
I have baked bread before "from scratch", but always with the aid of a bread machine to do the mixing and kneading etc. I would usually take the dough out of the machine before the baking cycle, and shape and bake it in my oven since I don't like the way my bread machine baked bread turns out. Funny shapes and hard crusts come out of that bread machine, but it does make mixing the dough an easy task. However, easy does not always give a good homemade product. So this time I decided to try my hand at mixing, kneading etc all by hand. I really want to be able to make great tasting, healthy and less expensive fresh breads for myself and my family.
So I started with this recipe I got from Farmgirl Susan from her great blogs Farmgirl Fare and A Year in Bread. She calls this bread Farmhouse White. I have tried several of her other recipes over the past year and have always been pleased with the results.
Since Farmgirl Susan's recipe for Farmhouse White bread makes 3 loaves of sandwich style bread, I decided that for this first bread making experiment I would only make one loaf just in case I really screwed up and it didn't turn out. I didn't want to waste 3 times the ingredients my first time up at bat.
I followed her instructions carefully and I was very pleased with the results of my first time making and baking a loaf of bread completely from scratch. Of course, her loaves of bread look so much better than mine do. Mine wasn't as tall and fluffy looking as hers were. She gives some hints on which loaf pans to use to get that tallness, and my pan was not exactly the right size. This does give me a good data point from which to progress with future baking projects.
I was very pleased with the taste and texture of this bread. It was moist yet not soggy. It was elastic enough to make a good sandwich without falling apart as my previous breads had. It tasted great, perhaps a bit salty for me (since I don't use salt in much of anything), and the crust turned out a beautiful light golden brown.
I will make this bread again. I will find better loaf pans. I will experiment with different kneading techniques and play with the ingredients.
Someday I want to make whole grain breads and crusty artisan loaves as well as this basic white sandwich style bread. I had a fun time baking on a cold and rainy Sunday. I just might enjoy this as a new hobby. I'll see how it goes.
Any suggestions from you all on which bread baking book I should buy that will tell me the basic methods and also have other recipes for me to try?
Farmer, gardener, baker, cook, massage therapist, cat & chicken Mom, partner & business owner. Sells earth friendly products for you and your home, including natural soap, candles, body balms, cat toys, cat beds & many other handmade crafts.
This Harvest Basket is a collection from mountain rural life, the everyday wonders of nature and the forest, my vegetable & herb gardens, fruit & nut trees, chickens, kitty cats & my loving partners. My endeavor to live a natural, healthy and peaceful life on my 3 acres in the beautiful Sierra Nevada foothills also includes home cooking, baking, canning & crafts. Join me on my journey of learning and growing each day. I will share my Mountain Harvest with you.