Monday, March 5, 2012

Baking Day

Of the many tasks that make up homesteading, one of the most rewarding to me so far is cooking made from scratch meals.  Up until I made this conscious decision to really think about the meals I was preparing, I would just go to the store and grab boxes of prepared foods, stir in some ground beef or tuna, sometimes add a frozen vegetable and call it a meal.  But I'm learning that it's so much more than that.  I'm experiencing real pride and joy in the meals I'm preparing now.  And a part of those meals is the baking.

I started baking bread about a month ago and I was soooo surprised!  Surprised at how easy it really is.  It's really not difficult to bake bread, but it is time consuming.  The dough has to rise for about 2.5 hours and bake for 45 minutes plus mixing and kneading time.   So it's not an all day project, but I do have to plan accordingly.

I knew when I started baking bread I wanted a 100% whole wheat recipe, but when I looked on the back of the whole wheat flour, that's not what I found.  So I turned to the internet, specificly facebook, where I knew I had friends who bake.  Sure enough, within in the hour, a friend sent me a 100% whole wheat bread recipe.  I was in business!

The first batch was good, but tough and dense.  Looks good though, doesn't it?!

I would have liked it to be taller and not so heavy, so I returned to my facebook friends and they suggested longer kneading and rising times.  Success!!  The loaves I'm baking now are as tall as store bread loaves, but wider, have a light texture and they are delicious!  

We're going through 2 loaves in a week, so today I'm making a double batch (4 loaves) so I always have back-ups in the freezer.  There is nothing worse than going to make sandwiches for the hub's lunch and there is no bread.  :-(

Have you tried baking your own bread?  What surprised you most about it?

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