Monday, October 24, 2011

Calling all Bread Makers

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As I recently mentioned, my sister and I have become smitten with the whole modern homesteading movement.

For me, it's less about being "green" (politically-speaking) and more about living simply...slowing down...getting back to basics.  It is a way for me to honor God by loving my family...doing those "ordinary tasks with extraordinary love."

But it's going to be  hard...embracing new ways of doing things that I've never done before...

...like baking bread. 

I'm sure that there are going to be some flops...loaves that don't rise...have too much air...are too dense.  I don't have any expectations to make perfect bread right from the start...

...but I do have a few questions as I was paralyzed in the baking section of the grocery store last night!
  With recipe in hand, I set out to purchase all the ingredients necessary to make my first loaf(ves) and quickly came to realize that there are way more choices than I ever imagined or planned on being bombarded with.

So, I ask you...



What brand of flour do you use?  My recipe calls for unbleached, white, all-purpose flour.  I had no idea there were so many choices...Gold Medal, Wheat Montana, Bob's Red Mill.  Is this just a matter or personal preference?  I know that there are different types of flour...whole wheat, bread flour, etc..but regardless of type of flour are some brands better than others?

Yeast  Again, I had no idea about all of the choices.  The recipe website I am using suggested buying yeast in bulk rather than by the packet to save $$$$.  This makes sense, but as I was looking at the jars of yeast I noticed two different types...one seemed like a "traditional" type of yeast and the other said "Quick Rise" yeast.  I didn't know what to do....both jars said "for traditional baking and bread machines".  As I am not using a bread machine...should I have bought the "quick rise"?  I went with Active Dry Yeast.

Loaf Pans  How do you bake your bread?  (I guess I should clarify..bread for slicing/sandwiches)  Do you use a particular brand or type of loaf pan?  Are bread pans different from the loaf pans I have to bake quick breads?  (Clearly, a novice here!)  The recipe I am using doesn't require any type of pan at all...rather, you shape the bread and place on a baking stone.

Okay, I think that's about it for now.  If you are able, feel free to answer my so basic questions in the comment section or direct me to one of your fantastic bread-making posts, as I'm sure many of you have written a post or two on bread-making! 

I'll be back later today to post on how my bread-making adventure goes...

Happy Monday, 



I'm linking up with Jill at The Prairie Homestead for their Monday Barn Hop

10 comments:

  1. Baking bread is so rewarding. I just made some this weekend. We love the smell of it baking and the taste is something you'll never get from a store. I use unbleached flour and sometimes a whole wheat mixture. My yeast comes from Costco and I keep it in the freezer in a ziploc bag. I love making bread and whenever invited for dinner anywhere, I'm always asked to bring the "Bread". I do gladly. Have fun!

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  2. I have found a difference in flours as far as rise and texture-I always use Bread flours- just my preference.
    "King Arthur" is my favorite, but "Gold medal" my 2nd choice if on sale. I'm not a fan of"Lilly White" flour- just poor quality breads for me.
    I do purchase yeast in bulk- you can get 1 lb. for just over 3.00- which is less that what a 4oz jar sells for here. Active Dry is what I get.
    If you have a recipe that includes honey- try to find local honey as it is MUCH tastier than store bought. It's also more manageable- less crystallization.
    As for pans, I purchase any bread pan on sale.
    These are just things I do, the differences are subtle, but when you start making breads more often you identify your likes and dislikes..start baking with what you have and tweak as you go along- hope that helps and good luck!

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  3. Thank you, nonnabella!!! Your information is so valuable to me! I can't wait to put my first loaf in the oven...the rise time is torturing me...but I'm sure the wait will be worth it.

    It was so easy this morning to whip up my first batch of bread dough...why did I not do this sooner?!!!

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  4. I can honestly say nothing about all the different yeasts You have, we have fewer to chose from here :-) But I use a clay pot to put the bread dough in. The clay pot must soak in water at least two hours but it is worth it. The bread comes out so much more mosit than otherwise.

    But You don't need a pan at all, just place it on a baking tray.

    Good luck :-) Bybthe way, rosemary makes even a failed bread taste great :-)

    Christer.

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  5. Bread makin' is kinda like kissin' frogs...ya gotta find the right recipe for you. Believe, there were many 'flops' before I found 'the one' so don't give up too fast.

    I use rapid rise 'cause I don't wait well. The recipe I use can be used as loaf, rolls, cinnamon rolls, hamburger buns.

    Good luck sweetie...may your buns rise to the top of the pan!

    God bless ya!!! :o)

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  6. I started baking bread when my first child was a toddler. That was about 12 years ago and I still have flops! But, it is such a fun project (the kids LOVE punching down the dough!) and so worth the effort.
    I always use store bread flour, and the Active Dry yeast. Both work out fine for me, so fine our loaves rarely last long enough to even cool down!
    Good luck and enjoy the delicious results!

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  7. I took up bread making recently, but I took the easy way out and use the method described in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes...no proofing, no kneading and you can store your dough in the fridge to use! It's rather brilliant, and yes, sort of a cheat, but fresh baked bread is fresh baked bread, regardless of how it's made :)
    I buy my flour (unbleached, all purpose) at a bulk foods store, which is infinitely cheaper than buying at the grocery store.
    Happy baking!

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  8. I use king arthur unbleached white for all of my baking. I can buy it in bulk and I just don't have the time or money to have several different flours on hand :-) As far as yeast goes, I have instant yeast, or fast rising yeast right now in my fridge. I bought it in bulk thinking it was active dry, because I didn't read the package :-) The only difference is that you only need to let the bread rise once with instant yeast, with active dry yeast you let it rise once, punch down and then rise again. Here is my go to bread recipe. http://www.townsend-house.com/2011/10/bread-and-recipe_14.html

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  9. Thanks for stopping by MY blog :)
    I think the density of the artisan bread is because of the type of bread. I've tried the boule, the whole wheat (quite dense) and the peasant loaf and all are a little heavier.
    I was thinking of trying their sandwich loaf, which might be a little closer in texture to the bread we buy in the store (that's what they say in the book anyways).
    But it's amazing bread, regardless! I've been designated chief bread bringer to family events :)
    Christina

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  10. Baking bread was something I'd never done either until this year, and it's definitely something that is trial and error (more error than anything for me). It is VERY rewarding, however...and delicious. Check out my tutorial on making bread at http://thebeardfamily.wordpress.com/2011/06/30/simple-honey-wheat-bread-tutorial/ if you're interested. BTW, I'm new to this homesteading thing, too, and I absolutely love it so far...blessings to you!
    Amy @ Simply Blessed

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Your kind words are appreciated! As Mother Teresa said, "Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love."

Valerie