Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Baking (a goal for 2010)

Some people bake. Some people cook. A rare few can do both well. I'm a pretty decent cook. I'm very good with poultry. But I cannot bake. At all. I mess up Nestle Tollhouse cookie dough! I've had one batch of Rhodes frozen dough turn out well. I even have a bread machine and that stuff doesn't turn out. I feel like I'm losing out on some major woman points here. I really want to be able to make my family fresh, healthy bread! I am determined to change this. In 2010 I am going to make at least one loaf of bread every week. If, after 52 tries I still can't bake, I will simply stop trying. But it's time to give it some real effort.

Some members of my family have really sensitive stomachs. I wont get into details, but it's beginning to cause some health problems and as the mother/food preparer I am determined to do something about it. It's not like we have Hamburger Helper every night or anything, but we don't eat all that healthily. We love corn dogs! We also love the "natural bread" from the store or from Winder Dairy, you know, the kind where the ingredients and wheat, salt, honey, and yeast and that's it? But at $4 a loaf, it's not very economical. So let the baking begin!! (we're also expanding the veggie garden and learning to can, but that's another post)

Last year, my church set up a conference for women in my neighborhood. One of the classes was on bread baking, but was standing room only so I didn't get the handouts and recipes. All I remember is the lady said to get this certain kind of yeast (saf-instant) and freeze it and to use Vital Wheat Gluten on wheat bread because it makes it soft. I remember nothing else.

I got a book from the library and make an attempt to whip up one of the batches Sunday. It's called Whole Grain Breads by Machine or Hand. Yay! I can use my machine. So I grabbed to very basic wheat recipe (I believe it's called basic wheat bread) and followed the directions perfectly and let my bread machine go to town.

It didn't rise. I have real problems with bread rising. I don't get it. My yeast was unopened. Maybe my water was too cold? Is it the machine?

I tried to salvage the dough to make some kind of roll, but it all ended up going into the trash.

Round two starts today. Some things I'll change:

This one is going to use the wheat gluten, I'll use the same yeast (been in the fridge), buy some fresh ground whole wheat (I think mine was old) and do it by hand. This is scary to me. Doing it by hand has only ended in disaster before, but I found someone who I think may be my key to success. Stay tuned....


  1. Make sure the water is warm and almost too hot to the touch, but not quite. If using yeast from the fridge, let it get to room temperature before you proof it or allow it to proof (mix with the water) before you add it to the bread.

  2. Vital wheat gluten, 1 T replaced 1 T in each cup of flour in my recipes.

    Fresh whole wheat flour makes a WORLD of difference in taste. I buy the big plastic bags from Wal-Mart and freeze them. My friends who grind their own white wheat have the best homemade bread.