Saturday, February 6, 2010

Adventures in bread-making!

Today I was struck with the sudden urge to make bread. I guess this just stemmed from the fact that I love bread, and I also got inspired while reading, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle". In Barbara Kingsolver's family, her partner Steven Hopp makes all the bread that the family comsumes. I think it would be really rewarding to make all of the bread that you eat- it's such a staple in the American diet- sandwiches, on the side with soup or salad.. and it's also delicious!

I began my bread adventures with King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour. We have local flour at the Co-op but I wanted to use King Arthur because it had a bread recipe on the back, which I needed, since I was doing some impulse baking! I also got some dry active yeast (yeast is intimidating if you've never baked bread before!), some of Kroger's organic milk, and I had all the rest of the stuff at home. Here's the original recipe I followed:

Oatmeal Sandwich Bread (from King Arthur Flour)
1 and 1/4 cup milk
2 Tlbs butter
3 tablespoons honey
1 cup rolled oats
1 packet dry active yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups King Arthur Bread Flour
mmm... yeasty.
Manual Method: In a large mixing bowl, or in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all of the ingredients, mixing to form a shaggy dough. Knead the dough, by hand (10 minutes) or by machine (5 minutes) till it's smooth. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, and allow it to rest for 1 hour; it'll become quite puffy, though it may not double in bulk.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into a log. Place the dough in a lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan, cover the pan (with an acrylic dough cover, or with lightly greased plastic wrap), and allow the dough to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, till it's crested 1 to 2 inches over the rim of the pan.
Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 190°F. If the bread appears to be browning too quickly, tent it with aluminum foil for the final 10 minutes of baking. Yield: 1 loaf.


Overall, I think my first loaf turned out surprisingly well! It didn't burn, it wasn't under done, and it had a perfect, quinticential bread shape. Mike even commented,  "I'm impressed that you let the bread rise for all that time, instead of sticking it in the oven after 20 minutes. Good job!" I'm glad that following the directions is an impressive feat for me. :)

I decided to make a second loaf and freeze it, since I was on a bread making kick, and I was eating the whole first loaf immediatlety haha. I used the same recipe as above, but with a little twist of my own-

Olive Oil and Rosemary Bread
1 and 1/4 cup milk
3 Tlbs Olive Oil
4 Tlbs Rosemary
4 Tlbs McCormick Italian Spice grinder (or any Italian spice blend)
3 tablespoons honey
1 packet dry active yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups King Arthur Bread Flour

Obviously, this is a very similar bread, but it was a vague attempt at Olive Oil and Rosemary. It also turned out pretty good! I would have added a bit more olive oil and a bit more Rosemary next time, but it was pretty delish. I froze this second loaf because I didn't want to each 8 servings of bread in one day. Well.. I did want to, actually, but I shouldn't.
My mom had offered to give me her Bread Machine, but I don't think I really need it- making bread by hand took a bit of time, but it was rewarding, and not at all as tough as I thought it would be.
Another Homesteading skill= accomplished!


  1. Mmmm... I love homemade bread! I haven't tried sandwich bread yet, but I think I might after reading how well yours turned out! Here's a recipe from Mother Earth News that I made a few times last year: It tasted great, and I got 4 loaves out of the recipe. I bought the book too, but I haven't had time to experiment yet. Have fun!

  2. Hi Arika -- my daughter Sian lives right on Oakwood -- she is an AVID fan of King Arthur's blog. She was touring me thru some of the gadgets on their website yesterday on our snowday. FUN. I'm currently working on a 18 month old sourdough created from the famous "No Knead Bread" recipes in Mother Earth News. I love making bread. We've barely bought a loaf in all that time! And you know, the GOD of the River Street Bakery sourdough, Eric Moore, lives right at the corner of Oakwood & Congress. We should have a neighborhood bake-off! Wouldn't that be fun?!

  3. Lisele-

    I didn't even know King Arthur had a blog- I'll have to check that out! A neighborhood bake off would be soo much fun! Or even a baking group of sorts.. great idea!