Bread

January 16th, 2009 by katie

Considering I have been known to make my own mayonnaise-or at least attempt to make it-it should be no surprise to you then that I hate grocery store bread. It is such a staple of our diets and yet it is probably one of the most overly processed foods we can buy. Typical supermarket sandwich bread is like a blank slate on which to construct your sandwich: boring, tasteless, structurally sound deli meat showcase. Unfortunately, it is difficult to turn off the part of your brain that demands this type of bread even when you know a fresh baguette or ciabatta roll makes an equally delicious sandwich base. After being raised on the familiar texture and shape of sandwich bread I knew that if I was going to convince my family, and myself, that fresh, homemade bread was worth the effort, it would need to be familiar and comfortable.

So far it is working. We ate the entire white loaf within 48 hours and the kids loved it. The oldest actually ate her crust first, declaring that it tasted like dough (whatever that means, it is good enough for me). I just finished putting the wheat loaf in the freezer for the rest of the week, but so far I think it is a success. The biggest problem I am having is that the grocery store bread comes in the convenient loaf shaped bag but homemade bread defies all of my current storage solutions. Those of you who bake, how do you store your bread? I want to retain freshness as long as possible but I don’t know how to make it convenient to grab a few slices and make sandwiches for the day.

You can see my wheat loaf developed a big air pocket between the bread and the crust, any ideas on why that happened? Otherwise it was perfect, delicious and tender. The dough was very different from all yeast doughs I have worked with before. So I wasn’t sure at what point to stop adding liquid. On the other hand, it looks like maybe I didn’t push enough air out when I was rolling up the dough to put it in the loaf pan. I am definitely getter better each time: faster and more confident. Start to finish, each loaf took about four hours of babysitting. I used my stand mixer to do the kneading and mixing so the only work involved was putting the ingredients in the bowl, otherwise it is all wait time. I think I could keep this up for a while, especially since I received such an enthusiastic response from everyone.

I used this white bread recipe from Annie’s Eats and this wheat bread recipe from smitten kitchen. I would like to find a recipe of each that makes two loaves because I know if I don’t have it easily accessible, I will fall off the wagon. But both of these recipes are easy and taste great so I recommend them for any other beginners.

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14 Responses

  1. alexandra's kitchen

    you’re so right. store-bought bread is usually terrible. tastes like air. I love homemade bread … it does disappear too quickly, however.

  2. EB

    How did you get the slices so perfect??

  3. Cheryl

    If you’re new to bread baking, I HIGHLY encourage you to seek out the book Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg. It solves the storage dilemma because the dough keeps for days in the fridge, and you can just pinch off a handful of dough and bake off just what you need for that day’s sandwiches. The next day, you bake a fresh loaf with nearly no effort. Fresh bread daily, and nothing to store!

  4. Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary

    We use homemade bread all the time at my house.

    This recipe makes 3 loaves:

    http://thecuttingedgeofordinary.blogspot.com/2008/11/farmhouse-white-sandwich-bread.html

    This is a great recipe for no knead bread:

    http://thecuttingedgeofordinary.blogspot.com/2008/04/this-is-yet-another-recipe-from-new.html

    Easy French bread:

    http://thecuttingedgeofordinary.blogspot.com/2008/02/easy-french-bread.html

    Honey White Bread:
    http://thecuttingedgeofordinary.blogspot.com/2008/02/honey-white-bread.html

    That’s most of my bread, lol. This weekend I’m making a recipe that yields 4 loaves!!! You can freeze 2 for later use. Check out my blog later this weekend.

    Your bread looks awesome btw!

  5. Jill

    I really like the 5 minutes a day recipe also. However, mostly I just make regular old half and half bread (half white flour, half whole wheat). My loaves fit in a gallon size ziploc bag, especially if they are sliced and can “fan” out a little bit.

    As for the air pocket, you’re right, you probably just needed to punch down a little more aggressively! Also, when you shape the loaves, make sure you aren’t leaving a bubble there.

    I also want to know – how’d you get the slices so perfect???

    Jill

  6. noble pig

    I really need to get into the same habit. It’s so wonderful your children are digging it!

  7. Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary

    I’ve got a great recipe for bread that makes 4 loaves in one batch! I’m making it tomorrow, so I will blog it and let you know how it turns out. 2 for now and 2 for the freezer!

    Yours looks great! I also agree about the air pocket….punch it down a bit harder, but that does happen from time to time.

  8. katie

    EB & Jill-

    I just sliced it really slowly and carefully with the bread knife once the bread was completely cool. I was a little more confident with the second loaf and sliced it nice and thin.

    Lisa-

    I am looking forward to it!

  9. My First Kitchen

    I read Deb’s recipe the other day and have it bookmarked to try. Now I’ll try this white one, too. In terms of storing bread, I’ve seen this online. A smidge expensive, but with a flat shipping fee, you could get a couple of packs. http://www.pleasanthillgrain.com/bread_bags_plastic_poly.aspx

  10. April

    For storage, you may have heard of those Debbie Meyer (I think is her name) green bags for produce. Well, I discovered a couple months ago that they also have bread bags. I had some cinnamon raisin bread in one for about 2 weeks and it was fine the whole time.

  11. Carla

    The airpocket – it appears that your rolled your dough up to form the loaves, so Yes, I think you must’ve gotten an airpocket in while rolling it up.

    I make a 12 grain bread that my family loves, even my 5 and 8 year olds…but I make it in my bread machine. I’d be happy to share the recipe if you’d like.

  12. sweetbird

    That’s some pretty sexy bread. I received the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day cookbook for Christmas and I can’t wait to try it out!

  13. Melissa

    I don’t buy bags of store bread, but I don’t bake either. So I go to my local bakeries. The slices in a bag are, as you pointed out, disgustingly processed.

    I’m in total admiration of your bread-making. Wish I could taste a slice. :)

  14. Tami Lyn

    My favorite smell in the whole world-baking bread. I haven’t done it in soooo long. I should check the expire date on my bread flour!

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