Als ich wisse das Morgen der Erde enden wuerde, immernoch wurd ich mein Apfelbaum pflanzen.

Even if I knew the world would perish tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree. - Martin Luther

"Factory work's easier on the back, and I don't mind it, understand, but a man becomes what he does. Got to watch that. That's why I keep at farmin' although the crops haven't ever throve. It's the doin' that's important." Madison Wheeler in Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Food I (Almost) Never Buy - Part 3

I had hoped that today and tomorrow would be cool, rain all day, fallish kind of days.  I did all of my garden work on Friday (picked beans, hot peppers, corn, tomatoes and planted fall crops  - lettuce, turnips, rutabegas, kale, collards, mustard, arugula, cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts and cauliflower) since the weather forecast had indicated rain for the next five days. 
This morning I started tackling produce.  I made a huge crock pot of chili, a double batch of corny corn bread (corn bread with corn in it - good for using up corn that is past its prime), and two huge pans for the freezer of Soccer Boy's creatively named "Mommy's Recipe" - which is just chili with corn bread and cheese topping in a casserole dish.  
Today's canning adds 9 pints pickled hot peppers, 9 1/2 pints of beet relish (can't wait to try this, it has horseradish in it!), and 6 pints of pickled beets.
Tomorrow is the last free day before the business of fall truly sets in, so no matter how hot it is I have bread to bake.  Here's hoping for a cool one.
My standard bread recipe is from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. During the school year I typically make bread about every three weeks.  I make six loaves and a batch of hamburger buns at a time.  We rarely eat more than two loaves a week so this amount is about perfect. 
I am not going to try to give a bread making tutorial here.  There are many resources with videos and instructions.  People are frequently impressed/stunned/dumfounded? when they hear that I make almost all of our family's bread.   For some reason breadmaking is one of those things that seem to intimidate others. Bread making is not difficult or mysterious.  If you have any kind of skill in the kitchen you too can make your family's bread.  Here's how I do it. 
I do apologize.  Apparently, when I took these pictures, the day got away from me and I never did take a picture of a finished loaf.  I was probably too busy sitting with my feet up and enjoying it.
Some tips...
1)  I have a good mixer (Kitchen Aid) with a dough hook.   I don't knead anything by hand.  
2) I stick with one recipe.  Since I make it so frequently I almost have it memorized.
3)  I have a big freezer so there's plenty of space to put the extra loaves.
4)  I start early in the day on a day when I know I'll be around for the most part.
5)  I only use King Arthur flour.  I really think it makes a difference.
6)  I set up four mixing bowls (for the four batches) and add ingredients assembly line style to each as I go.
7) I measure all the wet ingredients into one mesuring cup. 
8)  I have a bread riser.  I don't know if you can even buy these any more.  It's a metal bowl with a domed, ventilated lid.  I bet Great Grandma had to bake bread more than once every three weeks!
8)  Practice makes perfect (or at least makes it go faster).
Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread adapted from Deborah Madison
The Sponge:  This allows the bread to have a wonderful light texture.  This whole wheat bread is not heavy and dense like other whole wheat breads I have tried.  If you haven't used a sponge before you just mix it slightly.  No kneading until later in the recipe.  You can find gluten flour at natural food and bulk food stores.  Stir the following together and then let it sit for an hour.  No need to cover.
2 1/4 c. warm water
1 T dry yeast
1/4 c. honey
1/3 c. wheat germ
1/3 c. flax meal
1/2 c. gluten flour
2 c. whole wheat flour
The Bread:  Add 1/3 c. veg. oil
2 1/2 t. salt
3 1/2 c. whole wheat flour (1/2 c. as a time until you have a nice dough). 
Let rise for an hour.
Punch down.  Move to pans.  Rise for the third time.  Bake 40 min. at 375.  Cover with foil the last 20 min.
Slice one piece for everyone in your family and enjoy with butter.  An added side benefit is that the house smells fantastic.  The other five loaves get cooled and then put into freezer bags or wrapped in freezer paper and then put in the freezer.
Usually when I start making bread in the morning the house is a mess and the laundry is crawling into the washer, but by the time I'm pulling loaves out of the oven, dinner is in the crock pot, the house is mostly decluttered and the laundry is mostly finished.  Heaven!
Adding salt to the sponge.

Finished dough waiting for second rise.

My great grandma's bread riser with dough that has finished its second rise. 

Punching down!
In the pans, waiting for the third rise.

Hot dog buns and hamburger buns

Almost done!

No comments:

Post a Comment