Thursday, February 2, 2012

Let them eat Bread!

A couple a' confessions...

1) I'm a wee bit crazy. (If I had money, I could even be eccentric!)
2) Among other things, I like to bake. It's kinda the thing I do as a hobby.

Personally, I think I'm pretty good at it, but, you know, there's just not enough hours in the day to perfect my pie crust rolling technique. My friends and loved ones seem perfectly happy to help eat things, so I must be doing something right.

Any how, a couple nights ago I started up a batch of bread, specifically for the making of sandwiches. As most of the bread recipes I've garnered so far have been complex formulas of varying densities and artisan-itude (pretty sure that's not actually a word), I went searching the web for a sandwich bread with few ingredients.

Lo and behold, The Hungry Mouse's Homemade Sandwich Bread! (Or at least the loaf I made using this recipe.)

I mixed it up (sans mixer) and after an hour I was a little less than impressed with the amount that it had expanded. However, when I kneaded it a bit and then let it sit overnight in the bread pan, it rose quite well into a respectable loaf. And it baked up nicely; light and chewy in the middle with a decent crust that wasn't too crispy. Excellent tooth. (Though I may need to knead it a bit more next time, help it from being quite so crumbly?)

What I wasn't expecting was the slightly sour and rather salty taste... I had used the usual active dry yeast, but this was almost a sour dough! Not having previously been a huge fan of sour dough, it took a sec to get over, but it proved to make a quite tasty grilled cheese sandwich! As well as very enjoyable cinnamon toast.

And since I am crazy (see point #1), I have decided that I should try to use this recipe with 'wild yeast'. Or rather, mixing flour and water in a bowl and leaving it out on the counter for a few days. (Apparently whole wheat and/or spelt works best?) This mixture is supposed to entice any wild yeast beasties that may happen to be lurking about to come join them in the bread making fun. As I haven't been baking bread much in my own kitchen, I may have to leave the bowl out whilst making bread with the active dry yeast added and hope they decide to go bar hopping. Or maybe the bakery down the street* would be willing to let me leave my bowl out in their kitchen (bar any health code violations, of course). Or maybe they would be willing to sell me a sour dough starter... but that would be "cheating". ;o)

*They really are "happiness baked fresh daily". Sunny Lemon Babies? Vanilla Swirls? 'Nough said.