Making Bread: Cheap Cheerful and Guilty

I might have posted on this subject before — forgive my failing memory — but I’m gonna do it again. The eternal question: why don’t we get our act together and make our own bread ? Every other day?

It’s not as if we live in Paris or Montreal or Saigon, where a bodacious baguette lolls around every corner. We live in the Land of Bad Bread, unless you’re willing to spring five bucks for a spurious loaf of La Brea.

In the last couple of weeks I made this loaf of white sandwich bread, straight off the back of the King Arthur Dried Baker’s Milk bag:

Tall, wide grained, and kneaded in the KitchenAid: approx five minutes hands on work. So why don’t I have a few loaves in the freezer? I guess I’m a lazy slut.

Glom your eyes at the rye loaf cooling on the countertop. Lou made it with zero drama — so why not twice a week? (In fact, half the dough’s resting in the fridge for rye rolls later in the week.)

I mean, before the Cuiz and the KitchenAid I was perfectly capable of kneading my own dough with my own two mitts, following the recipe from “Joy,” With my beloved machines, I should be able to crank out a loaf every other day, but I don’t.

Baking bread is the furthest thing from rocket science — peeps have been doing it for thousands of years, fomenting their own yeast from the air instead of ordering it for the King Arthur catalogue. (Fermipan!) I’m going to spend a few more minutes of rising time to flagellate myself for my laziness, then I’m going to build a big ham and swiss on Lou’s gorgeous rye

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6 Comments

Filed under Food, Home, Les than 99 cents

6 responses to “Making Bread: Cheap Cheerful and Guilty

  1. SO TRUE. Like most all else you write. And a subject particularly close to my heart. Once you shed the idea that it’s a big deal, as you point out, it is instantly revealed to be, NOT one. EVEN by hand, although various machines are not to be eschewed.

    Both loaves are of the utmost beauty and well-madeness. Which makes me have to ask questions like the following: What size loaf pan izzat for the white? I’ve used many a KA recipe for bread, and they have all been so good. Their back-of-the-bag (of bread flour, maybe?) oatmeal bread was something I made perhaps 8,000 times. Do you know the title of that one so I can look it up? I assume the bag ones are also on the website anyways. The rise/shape is PERFECTION.

    Speaking of rise/shape perfection, so is the rye. You sure get a lovely all-over brown not to mention tremendous ovenspring. Gorgeous.

  2. Ah, blushing and hanging my head, Mz P. But reiterating what you (and I) said: bread is easy, with a little care and a little experience. The pan is 8.5 inches, sez Calphalon. The dried milk really pushes up the rise.

    Sigh. You have Cream Pan, you lucky duck,

  3. Oh, Sweetpea!! Put away the flagellum, and toast up a coupla slices of one of those magnifishent loaves! These are simply Heaven—the fleeting art of all history riz up in a pan, and YOU DID IT.

    There’s a great divide between those high-rize beauties and the low-set cornbread and even biscuits of my heritage—“lightbread” came in a wrapper and the little packs of Fleischman’s dried in clumps in countless cupboards awaiting the next batch of Sunday rolls.

    And Pris—how I’ve missed you!! To rise myself, to “eschewed” and “ovenspring” and the delightful prospects of “fomenting” all in one piece of what I consider “my” correspondence—well, it’s just dandy.

    I’m now longing for cooler weather for another reason—to crank up Miss Frankie’s big ole oven and slide about six loaves in there. And I’ll still be giggling at the bawdy baguettes workin’ the streetlamps in Bugs Bunny lipstick.

    Y’all DO beat all.

  4. Bawdy baguettes workin’ the streetlamps in Bugs Bunny lipstick.” Y’all do beat all too, Rachel!

  5. kim shook

    So very true. I have a wonderful recipe for plain old white bread from CI that is delicious, works EVERY SINGLE TIME, and is so easy that I could do it in my sleep. I will go to 3 different stores looking for a ready made loaf that approaches its goodness rather than just MAKE it!

    Both of those loaves are gorgeous, Maggie. Lou’s looks loaded with caraway – just the way I like it. I don’t get seedless rye. I associate the seeds so strongly with the bread that I have to stop and think or I’ll call them rye seeds rather than caraway!

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