Friday, October 21, 2005

Adventures in Breadmaking

Ever since we ate at Panera Bread a few weeks ago, Steve has been on this breadmaking kick. He decided he wanted to make yummy sourdough bread at home, from scratch. So we did a little research online and discovered that it's a whole lot more complicated than you'd expect: you can't just immediately bake real sourdough the day you think of it. First you have to grow a starter, which involves mixing flour and water and letting it sit around until it is alive and starts growing. Yum.

Sourdough enthusiasts really speak a whole different language...we learned about "feeding our pet" (yes, the website where we got the information actually calls your starter your "pet"...kinda creepy, I know) and what to do about "hooch." (Feeding your pet involves giving it flour and water every day...at least it's a cheap pet.) Anyway, after our little pet got all bubbly and smelly, Steve attempted the first loaf. (Doesn't that just make you want to run out and eat some sourdough bread?)

Well. Attempted is the operative word there. Steve's impatience in letting the dough rise probably didn't help, but the result was this lovely "loaf of bread":

The picture doesn't do it justice because you can't feel it. This thing weighed like three pounds. Suffice to say it was a little dense. He ate it anyway, out of sheer stubbornness I think. He said it was more efficient bread--you get "a slice in every bite." Right. Well, the second loaf turned out like this too. We concluded that somehow we had killed our pet. Sad, I know. (This evokes images in my mind of my old friend Brooke Burcham doing her imitation of Chris Farley in Tommy Boy, very loudly, in restaurants. Very funny.) Anyway, so Steve gave up and bought yeast. (Apparently the hard-core bread bakers frown on this because REAL sourdough bread is made with no commercial yeast--only the wild yeast that grows naturally as you feed your pet.)

Frowning or not, we've had much better results with the store-bought yeast. Steve made a loaf of bread last Saturday that actually rose and tasted like bread! Next he wanted to get experimental, so he made some apple cinnamon bread which may not have looked perfect but tasted YUMMY (in fact I am eating a piece right now):

Then last night we collaborated on some cheese herb bread. It tasted like what you would get in a fancy Italian restaurant...and combined with the dipping oil Steve made...mmm, it was so good.

I love bread, and I love having a husband who likes to cook!

12 comments:

kate chinlund said...

WOW!!! I'm impressed! Besides making Amish Friendship Bread every 10 days, I've resorted to using our bread maker, which in my mind doesn't even qualify as "making" bread. But I'd like to think that if a boy can do it (no offense Steve), I can too!!! Thanks for the inspiration :)

Amy said...

I LOVE Amish friendship bread!!! I found a recipe online for the starter but haven't tried it yet. But what do you do with all the extra starters that it makes? I would run out of friends to give them to--and/or those friends would get sick of getting them, I'd think :)

K said...

I am SO impressed!!! How could Josh be friends with Caleb and Steve in high school and not have one ounce of desire to cook anything!!! I have thought it an accomplishment because he will put a frozen pizza in the oven, bread in the toaster, and cereal in a bowl....although to my surprise, last week he made shells-n-cheese. (Half the noodles were stuck to the bottom of the pan when I got home to do dishes...but it was a very good effort!!!) I wanted to add....we do friendship bread ALL THE TIME in my family. We have found that we give a couple starters away but we keep most of them and make like 10 loaves at a time. They freeze WONDERFULLY. Then when we need to take something somewhere, visit someone, or just want some to eat....we set it out for 24 hours and it's just like fresh baked!!! You have me hungry for it!

Amy said...

do you have a recipe for the starter?

K said...

1 cup Sugar, 1 cup Flour, 1 cup Milk. (The bread tends to do much better if you use 2% Milk rather than skim)
Day 1, mix ingredients
Day 2, 3, 4, 5 smush bag
Day 6 add 1 cup Flour, 1 cup Sugar, 1 cup Milk
Day 7, 8, 9 smush bag and let air out
Day 10 put mix in bowl, take out 4 separate 1 cup starters and put them in a ziplock bag with the date on them. Use remaining batter to make bread. (I will get you the bread recipe soon, I forgot it at home.)

K said...

OOPS!!!
Day 10 is ADD 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup Milk and then take out the starters. sorry! Should have proofed better first

Amy said...

excellent! I need to go make a starter! thanks :)

Kathryn said...

You go girl! You guys are so cute and funny! Miss you much.

Jules said...

You guys crack me up! Too cute, too cute.

Jackie said...

Wow Amy, I can read your site and get tons of spiritual information AND a bread recipe ... wow that's just too much! :) Miss you bunches!

K said...

I posted the whole recipe on my blog! Anyone who wants it, just check it out!
Good Luck!
Kayla

Tony Myles said...

Panera can mess with one's mind and senses... it sounds like you've found a good compromise.