Loafing Around

Yes…

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I do still try to find time to make sure I slow down and make a batch of bread, roughly every week. The process of slowly kneading the dough, rolling and squeezing and folding again and again, is a good meditation.

Then there’s the reward of a house full of the smell of baking bread…

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And there’s really nothing quite as satisfying as being able to eat (and share) the results every day!

-cvj

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5 Responses to Loafing Around

  1. Nick says:

    That looks delicious! Do you have the recipe? I’d love to try it.

  2. Clifford says:

    Hi,

    Well,there is nothing special at all going on… I’m doing a standard yeast bread, and do variations on the basic thing as the spirit moves me. The main ingredient is care to knead enough to develop a good grain and crust. One has six cups of flour (I make it half all purpose and half whole wheat… Up to you) and two standard sachets of dried yeast (a live yeast you’ve saved is also good…some say better), (which I proof for some minutes before hand in a cup of lukewarm water, maybe with a spoon of sugar dissolved in it). There’s about a quarter cup of shortening to start, which I mix with about 1/3 of the flour to start, along with as much salt as you want to have in your bread…. Start with a teaspoon, increase or decrease to taste next time… These days I add a bit of olive oil as well, and get it all mixed up nicely and gradually mix in everything else, topping up the moisture with two more cups of water. You can, at any stage here, at a bit of oatmeal, or your favorite nuts, or wheat germ, or whatever… About a cup or so of extra stuff like this. Be prepared to increase the moisture a tad if you add in a lot of extra dry absorbent stuff, but three cups water total to six cups flour should be your base. Another fun variation is to change some of that water content for some diluted flavourful beer of your favourite sort… My bread tends to have about a cup of Guinness and two cups of water instead of three cups of water…. I vary this again with mood, available beer, etc.

    Assuming you are not totally confused by my giving too many options, the rest is simple. Turn that all out and knead the mass into a dough that holds together and is not too moist and not too dry… It shoud be able to be rolled under your hands without sticking too much to a wooden work surface… You might have to sprinkle tiny amounts of flour on the board at first until the water is properly distributed through kneading…. But don’t over do it and end up with a dry dough. Not good. It should be just barely sticky on the board… Try to maintain being on that cusp of dry to wet. Experience will help you be a better judge if you are not already a bread maker…. A good 20 minutes or more of firm rolling and doubling under your hands ought to knead it enough…. Let it rise in a warm place until it doubles in size…. Then cut it up and roll it into shapes to fit into your greased pans of choice… And let rise again, looking for a size doubling again….
    Then bake for ten minutes at 450f… Then turn down to 350f and check every ten minutes to look to take it out, depending upon size of loaves, testing for doneness… Doneness is when you’ve got a nice hollow sound if you tap the bottoms of the loaves. Do not overdo them…. Otherwise, dry crumbly results…. Not good for slicing…. A good tip, depending upon your oven, is to splash water on a hot surface in the oven (i put a baking tray at the bottom for this) so that the bread starts out baking in a nice moist, steamy preheated oven…. Makes for moist results.

    I’ve given way too much detail for something so basically simple, and maybe assumed too little about your own bread making knowledge, for which I apologize. Hope it is useful nonetheless.

    Cheers,

    -cvj

  3. Mary Cole says:

    Making bread is very therapeutic. I haven’t made time to make any for a few months now. I think you may have inspired me to do so!

  4. Clifford says:

    Hi Mary,

    I agree. And …Glad to hear it!

    -cvj