Sunday, January 17, 2010

Grandmother Bread

 Edit: I recently realized that the wrong pictures were on this post. I can no longer locate the correct pictures. They seem to have disappeared from my computer and from Picasa and my blogger account. In the meantime, I've taken down the wrong pictures, and will hopefully be able to put the right ones back up soon. If you happen to notice any other posts askew, please contact me. My e-mail address is located under the where you may find me tab at the top of the page. Thanks!

For years I tried to make homemade bread. I tried and tried and tried. And it never worked. My loaves always came out flat and heavy. After about 3 years I caved and got a bread machine. I used that until last year, when I came across the 5 minute bread. I haven't used my bread machine since.

The 5 minute bread was great for dinner loafs and for pizza crust. It was not so great for sandwich loaves, and just ok for cinnamon rolls and things. And, the fact that I still hadn't successfully made a kneaded loaf really nagged at me.

For a while I've been reading Chickens in the Road. Suzanne has a post on Grandmother Bread, and I've been eying it and shying away from it for months now. After all, I can't make yeast/kneaded bread. I just can't. I've tried and tried and tried.

Well, I tried one more time. The other day I mixed up my weekly batch of 5 minute bread - and decided to go ahead and give Grandmother Bread a try.

The recipe is very similar to the 5 minute bread recipe. It didn't look scary.

So, I started. I kneaded it (the best I know how)

I left it to rise (in my pretty cold kitchen)

Punched it down, kneaded it again, and set it to rise in the pans (a little unevenly, dough wise - oops!)

And baked it.

And waited.

And peeked through the window.



(ok, the pictures a little blurry - I think I had olive oil on the camera lense!)


Ok, so not quite perfect. But the best I've ever made!

And, the best part is, it's good! Like really, really good! And easy! It's a little bit denser than store bought, but I think that's my kneading, which will get better with time.

My family is pretty picky about their bread. I love whole grain breads, they don't. And even though I can often find sandwich bread without HFCS, there's still always a long list of ingredients. I can't pretend this bread is full of healthy stuff - it's white bread after all. But it's homemade. And to me, that's pretty exciting!

I have the smaller loaf in the freezer as an experiment to see how well it freezes. I know, the point of homemade bread is to have it fresh - but I work some long hours, so if I can have fresh and frozen I'll be super happy.

So seriously, if you've ever had problems with homemade bread like I have - give this recipe a try. It's so easy and so wonderful.


Jodi said...

Yum. I love homemade bread and won't go any other way now. When I make a batch, I actually freeze one of the dough loafs after the initial rise. Then when I need it, I pull it out and let it thaw/rise in the loaf pan - and I don't end up losing a loaf from us not eating it fast enough.

Also - may I suggest Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. I've made the basic bread from it quite a few times and it's really good. I just started expirimenting with other recipes this past week. It's so good. And it's ridiculously simple! (I just posted about their bagels this morning. lol). :-)

Enjoy your bread! Nom.

gardenofsimple said...

Jodi - freezing the dough is a great idea! I should give that a try too.

I have the artisan bread cookbook and that's been my fall back bread for the last year or so, though I use it primarily for pizza dough - I'm going to have to check out your post on bagels! :D

Jodi said...

Freezing bread dough has been a major time saver for me. After I shape them, I wrap one in 2 layers of plastic wrap. They don't usually stay in the freezer more than a week here, so I don't need to wrap any more heavy duty than that...

gardenofsimple said...

I don't imagine it would be in the freezer more than a week here either - but with my work schedule, I'd be able to freeze a couple on a day off and have them for the week. that's been the attraction with the 5 minute bread - the ease of having it when I need it with minimal effort. Does it take all day to thaw/2nd rise?

Valkyrie said...

Oh, my mouth is watering! YUM! I love fresh baked bread so much!

I used to make amazing yeast bread, but for some reason for the last few years, every time I make it, it's a complete fail. My kitchen is really cool too, and I've wondered if it's that. OR if I am killing the yeast in the beginning with water that is too hot (even though I take the temp before adding to the yeast). Maybe I should try this.

Jodi said...

Normally it takes 3-4 hours sitting out on the stove to thaw/2nd rise. (Though we had a flat loaf happen to us just yesterday after it had been sitting out all day. It happens. lol).

Sparkless said...

It's not the kneading so much as the rising time that makes break light and fluffy. Plus to make good whole wheat bread you have to have a type of flour that has enough gluten in it. You can actually buy small boxes of gluten and add it to your flour if your breads don't turn out properly or try that special bread flour that they sell for bread machines. The secret is the gluten.

Sparkless said...

Oh and if your kitchen is cold try putting your bread to rise in your oven. Don't turn it on or anything just put it in there and I found my breads rise much better out of my drafty old kitchen.

gardenofsimple said...

Thanks for the tips Sparkless! :)

Audra said...

Congratulations!!! If you wonder about you kneading there are some good how to videos on youtube. Nothing like homemade bread, I have some rising right now!