Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bread Making 101-V The last and final chapter

Depending on the temperature, humidity et cetera, et cetera, you're loaves should have doubled in size after about 1 1/2 hours:

After you are done baking they should look like this, all toasty and warm:

And now they are ready for the tummy (to get a better handle on your slices refrigerate or partially freeze for a cleaner cut) :

You should realize now that bread making is largely experimental. There are "good bread" days and "bad bread" days, but mostly the bread turns out well with just a few idiosyncrasies. For instance, I think that my batch of yeast is not as fresh as needs be, but the bread will be fine. It just won't be as fluffy as I like. Also, I should have just made one decent size loaf and maybe a few rolls because the loaf was so tiny, but is it going to kill me? Nah, it's just a preference. What ever you do, don't give up and email me for heaven's sake if you have a question.

Bread Making 101-IIII

After 15 min. (you are letting the dough rest after the trauma), gently knead the dough again and make a little ball as before, then take the dough ball and divide it in two:
Then rollllllll it! And mark it with a "B". Just kidding, just roll it out flat:

Then roll again:

Tuck the little rolls into the pans and they are ready to go. Let 'em rise, let 'em rise for about an hour or two. Spray 'em down, cover 'em up, what a tasty treat for you (I promise no more rhyming on the rest of the blog)!

Bread Making 101-Part III

Next you get to knead your little dough on a lightly floured surface until it is smooth and soft like a baby's bum; if you don't have anything to reference that to, sorry for you. But it looks like this:

You need to spray the bowl and the dough baby with Pam or brush with oil, whatever your fancy is. Then you cover him up with a blankie (dish towel) and let him rise until double in size:

When you poke him in the middle, he should be airy and soft, oooooh...

Sadly, you must punch it down and prepare for the next step:

Bread Making 101-Part II

Next, add all of your remaining ingredients with the exception of the water. You can dump it all in, but I think the more gingerly you do it, the better. You can do this by hand, but I prefer to use the Kitchen Aid to do my bidding (that's the dough hook on there if you're not already familiar).

Start your engines now and add your water slowly (note: I rarely use all of the alloted amount). Scrape the sides as you go along; you should start to see the dough pulling away from the sides and making a ball (it doesn't need to be a perfect ball, but somewhat of a ball shape):

You should be ready to take your little bread baby out when it looks like this:

It may look a little wetter than usual, wetter dough means that your bread will be a little bit lighter and moist; and I like it that way darling! If your dough is still really sticky and is plastered to everything when you try to take it out, it's way too wet.

Bread Making 101-Part I

Never made bread before? My friend it is as easy as cake-uh I mean bread; well, you get the idea. Start out by putting the yeast in your bowl, add the gluten, about a 1/3 of the sugar and a little bit of warm, warm water to get it all nice and bubbly (the post for the recipe is at the end if you've missed it). It should look like this:

It should be all bubbly and have a nice yeasty fragrance. This is a good test for your yeast too. If there's no action with your yeast after a while, you know it's time to say adios and get some fresh stuff. Actually, I think my stuff is a little old, it's usually a little more puffy, but it will still work.

Basic Bread Recipe

There are tons of great recipes out there so if you've got your own go ahead and try it out. The process is pretty much the same:

For 2 loaves:

4 teaspoons gluten

1 tablespoon yeast

2 teaspoons salt

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup oil

2 cups water (start with only a little, you will probably not use it all)

3-4 cups of flour

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

If you want more to eat than whole wheat kernels when disaster strikes, you should start here...

Your food storage should be part of your pantry. Here's a fancy illustration to make my point:

You need to haul your food storage up from your icky crawl space and use it. This means opening up a can, setting it on your shelf and using it everyday. A very easy way to start is to grind some of your wheat (a hand grinder will do the trick, but unless you prefer cakes and pastries to be the consistency of bricks, you better start saving now for a good one) and start throwing it into everything that requires flour and none will be the wiser. Experiment with bread, pancakes, muffins, etc., and voila, not only will you start making a dent into your massive wheat supply, but it won't go to waste-and-the added nutrition will make your eyes sparkle! Periodically, add other food storage items into your diet such as powdered, milk, beans, and honey (did you know that you can substitute honey for any sugar in a recipe and it has only 1/3 of the calories of the leading refined white stuff?) . Besides, you really don't want to rely on a food that you have never before used during a disaster (Did you know that if you're not used to eating a lot of wheat, you can develop an allergy to it- and- a study showed that many people under stressful situations would rather starve than eat food that is unfamiliar?). Yikes! Lets get it together already. So lets start at the very begining, a very good place to start.....