Having a hobby is such a joy. My exploration of new adventures continues with home-made bread making, from scratch. Ever since reading "In Defense of Food," and watching "Food Inc.," & Jamie Oliver's "Food Revolution," I've felt like I have a better understanding of what I'm eating (what it really is) than ever before. Friends with new babies and severe food sensitivities, combined with a vested amount of time spent reading nutrition labels left me looking for alternatives, even for something as simple as bread. I wanted no additives, preservatives or industrial processing. Just simple ingredients that I recognize. (Have you looked at the label of your bread lately? Even what you find in your local grocer's bakery can often make you cringe!) I decided I would make some myself.
So, I turned to my trusted friend, amazon.com, and came across this book about baking healthy artisan breads at home, from scratch in 5 minutes a day. A quick trip to Open Harvest for things like yeast and vital wheat gluten in bulk (the book also features gluten-free recipies, for those who are interested) and a stop at Bed, Bath & Beyond for a baking stone, and I was ready to go!
So far, I've only made one batch of dough (which yields 4 x 1lb loaves)... and it's been so much fun! Anyone who knows me well can tell you I am not a cook (my mom will gladly tell you all the horror stories I've generated in the kitchen starting at a very young age). And a baker? That's even more of a stretch! But if I can do it, so can you! This recipe has 5 ingredients, including water. (Whole wheat flour, yeast, salt, vital wheat gluten &.... water). I sprinkled the top with sesame and ground flax seeds. YUM!
I baked this loaf up this morning, and it's been the best yet. They say that the longer the dough sits in the refrigerator, the more intense the flavor. I guess tomorrow's loaf will be even better! I'm going to explore a different technique for shaping it and see what happens.... time to start getting fancy. :)
In the meantime, I ate the entire loaf.... by myself.... in one day. I blame it on Sunday's half-marathon. :)
PS: No breadmaker or fancy tools required (except maybe a baking stone). And, once you make up the dough, you can store it in your fridge for up to 14 days (yes... the book explains it all). So, making a loaf takes 5 minutes of "work" time. Once the dough is 'rested,' you pop it in the oven and 30 minutes (and one yummy smelling house) later, you can dive in!