Monday, March 15, 2010

Bread's Place on Our Dinner Table

breadjourneyOften, warm bread often sits along side a favorite meal on the American dinner table.  Sometimes it is the centerpiece of deli sandwich or hearty sidekick to a soup dinner.  A fresh loaf has even been known to be the main course alongside fruit and cheese on a summer evening on our back porch.  There are many ways to include bread in your menu, and while the grocery store bakeries often do a great job with their warm loaves, nothing, in my opinion, beats a warm loaf from my own oven.

I began baking bread in earnest about six years ago when I took a step back and wanted to bring our kitchen table back to the basic ingredients and away from processed foods.  Fortunately, we do not have any food intolerances in our family, so bread is still a regular part of our diet.

breadjourney1I had dabbled in bread making prior to that and enjoyed the process of working with the dough.  I enjoyed the process so much that I turned down the offer of a bread maker from a friend.  More recently, I have brought my MamaMixer into my bread making process, but I still enjoy getting my hands in the dough.

I have experimented with different ingredients and types of breads.  Plain loaves, Focaccia, baguette, pizza crusts, pretzels, bagels, cinnamon rolls, Parker House rolls and Brioche just begin to list the many types of bread that have marched out of my oven.  Most attempts turned out wonderfully, but I was still looking to perfect a good, crusty loaf of bread.

I’ve found that it is a perfect combination of ingredients and baking process that make this possible: part art, part science.  With a little information added to your recipe and a bit of experimenting, the perfect loaf of bead is just waiting for you.

This week we will look at the different types of wheat flours used for bread making, tricks to getting the dough “just right” and choosing the perfect bake ware: each a step in the Bread Journey to lead us to a great loaf of bread.

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