Skill a Week: Baking Bread

First off, sorry for the lack of updates recently. Had some family stuff going on and updating the blog here was not my highest priority.

What have I learned this week? I made bread! This was one of the things I had on my list of aspirations for 2013 – to start baking my own bread. This for a number of reasons:

  • Baking is useful for making a lot of foods, and bread is a simple baked product
  • I can make healthier, cheaper bread
  • It seems like a nifty skill
  • It opens the doorway (through yeast) to other micro-organism ventures, such as brewing, wine-making, yogurts, fermentation, pickling, etc, which are intriguing to me

I saw a few recipes that looked dead simple – and they are. The most basic bread is just flour, water, salt, yeast. Four ingredients, and about 10-15 minutes of time.

I followed the steps described by the gentleman who put together how to make perfect French bread in 10 minutes. There are similar batch recipes.

Another useful resource (for this, but also cooking generally) is this Bulk Foods website. I haven’t ordered anything yet, but the prices are great.

Anyway, I made two loaves, no problems, with this method. But eating them knocked me out. I’ve been tired generally recently but the bread was a bit exhausting (though delicious when hot). It’s so much flour. So I’m looking at a few possibilities. I’m going to try putting some wheat flour in the bread (to replace part of the white flour), as well as some oats and other grains. Just dump it in and see what happens. I’ve also got a book of bread-making recipes that looks interesting – one bread is a tofu bread, which I think will cut the carb content somewhat and add protein. Also I might add milk to the bread, or eggs. More ambitiously, I might try substituting in a bit of protein powder, for maybe 1/4 of the flour. This has worked fine for pancakes and crepes. Lots of different things to test!

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