Within the past couple of months baking has been happening a bit more often. The first endeavor was by Patrick. He loves sourdough, so he set about to make a sourdough starter. He carefully measured and nurtured the starter for a week and then made some biscuits. He made three batches before letting the starter go.
Here is a picture of the man at work.
On my baking front I decided to attempt to make my own bread. The first week I tried this recipe. It looked easy. Now I know that this may not seem so terribly exciting to others, but you see I have not done that much baking with yeast. I worry about the whole kneading thing and then there is the bake time and worrying about too crispy of a crust. Just plain too much worrying.
The bread was good! I couldn't believe it I actually made bread!
The following week I turned to my new favorite cookbook Joy of Cooking. Wonderful birthday present from Herm and Frederica! The very first recipe was white bread. It stated that this recipe was in the very first Joy of Cooking in 1931. I figured, it must be good if they've kept it around for the 75th anniversary cookbook. (That's the one I have.) It also said it "stales slowly and cuts well for sandwiches." I also learned that if you cover the cooling bread with a damp cloth it makes a nice soft crust.
So for the third week in a row I have two homemade loaves of bread cooling in the kitchen. One will get wrapped up and put in the freezer and the other will make some wonderful toast in the morning.
As I was brushing butter on the warm bread (that's the other thing you do to make the crust soft). I started to think about my great grandmothers. I thought about them brushing their bread on their bread making day. (Yes it does take about 1/2 a day.) I knew most of my great grandmothers and I wondered which one would be the most proud of me. I then I remembered that my Great Grandpa Gray was a baker.
Of all my great grand parents he is one that I knew the best. He said that if he could do it again, he wouldn't be a baker because they have to get up way too early. I thought of him mixing dough and getting the ovens ready for the bread. I think he would be proud that I've tried my hand at baking bread. I wonder how different his bread recipe was the one I've been using. I don't recall any of his bread - but I DO remember his shortbread cookies. I wish I had his recipe.
In the meantime I will try to continue to bake bread on Saturday. We'll see how that works out during the summer. If it gets too hot, I will definitely pick it up in the Fall again. Hmmmm homemade bread and soup. I think that is a good combination.