Tag Archives: baking bread from scratch

Quick Organic White Bread for Grand Baby

I’ve really been enjoying this first day of Daylight Savings Time, spending it in the kitchen, baking bread.

Today, I'm in the kitchen baking bread. And, yes, I'm listening to "The Splendid Table" on my headphones from my MPBOnline app while I do this. (Selfie Photo by Jim Ewing, ShooFlyFarmBlog)

Today, I’m in the kitchen baking bread. And, yes, I’m listening to “The Splendid Table” on my headphones from my MPBOnline app while I do this. (Selfie Photo by Jim Ewing, ShooFlyFarmBlog)

You know about my first loaf today: the no-knead sourdough bread (see previous post); but now I’m whipping up an organic white bread for my 16-month-old grand baby Nathan.

My 16-month-old grand baby Nathan Ewing, perusing a book. (Photo by Ross Ewing)

My 16-month-old grand baby Nathan Ewing, perusing a book. (Photo by Ross Ewing)

Intelligent looking chap, isn’t he?

Some months back, my son Ross said that Nathan loved the white bread I made and hinted that it would be welcome to do a repeat. I’ve been busy since then, but thought that today, since I was in the kitchen anyway, why not?

A few preliminaries: I’m using a blend of three quarters Gold Medal organic all-purpose flour and one quarter Gold Medal whole wheat flour. I’m using Newman’s Own Organic Olive Oil with home made honey from hives from my own bees, a smidgeon of iodized salt and Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast. (These are for informational purposes, not product endorsements; everything was paid for in a grocery store.)

A mister to spray olive oil for cooking - or eating - is a nice device. (Photo by Jim Ewing, ShooFlyFarm blog)

A mister to spray olive oil for cooking – or eating – is a nice device. (Photo by Jim Ewing, ShooFlyFarm blog)

I will say that a couple of things seem to be helping; one is using a mister to apply olive oil. I found this one at Kroger and it works great. That way, I can lightly apply oil, like spraying Pam, but with a higher quality oil. Also, you can spray the bread slices with olive oil and eat them! (Which I’ve been doing since I made the first loaf!) And for any salad you have, also. Nice gadget.

I keep my oven clean to prevent off gasses from flavoring the bread; and also use a cooking stone to even out the heat. (Photo by Jim Ewing, ShooFlyFarmBlog)

I keep my oven clean to prevent off gasses from flavoring the bread; and also use a cooking stone to even out the heat. (Photo by Jim Ewing, ShooFlyFarmBlog)

Also, I actually clean the oven before I cook in it. It doesn’t take but a moment to wipe it down and keep off gases from flavoring the bread. I also only use filtered water, to keep chlorine out (more important with kefir sourdough, maybe), and I use a cooking stone on the rack to give an even heat.

I’m sure any veteran baker knows a lot more than I about all of this; these are only a few things I’ve found useful.

Personally, I find kneading dough very pleasurable. It seems to come alive in the hands, and there is a sensual quality to it. (Photo by Jim Ewing, ShooFlyFarmBlog)

Personally, I find kneading dough very pleasurable. It seems to come alive in the hands, and there is a sensual quality to it. (Photo by Jim Ewing, ShooFlyFarmBlog)

To be honest, I like making regular bread, as opposed to sourdough. Sourdough is a lot of work, and I manage to mess it up quite often. White bread is pretty easy, and quick. And I like the tactile experience of kneading the dough. It feels alive in your hands, very sensuous.

Just mix it up, let it rise for about 30 minutes; then shape it and pop it in the oven.

And here you go, after 35 minutes in the oven at 350F  degrees, a fresh loaf! (Photo by Jim Ewing, ShooFlyFarmBlog)

And here you go, after 35 minutes in the oven at 350F degrees, a fresh loaf! (Photo by Jim Ewing, ShooFlyFarmBlog)

It’s been a great day! Puttering around in the kitchen, listening to The Splendid Table (“The Show for People Who Love to Eat!” http://www.splendidtable.org), and nibbling on homemade sourdough bread garnished with olive oil.

 

And now, I have something good to give my grand baby!

In my next book, I might explore the cooking aspect more, beyond growing an organic, natural and sustainable garden.

It’s a lot cheaper and enjoyable than watching TV!

Jim PathFinder Ewing is a journalist, author, and former organic farmer now teaching natural, sustainable and organic agricultural practices. His latest book is Conscious Food: Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating (Findhorn Press). Find Jim on Facebook, follow him @EdiblePrayers or @OrganicWriter or visit blueskywaters.com.

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Sourdough Bread Update

A short note….

Regular readers of this blog know that I’ve been trying my hand at making my own bread from scratch. It’s been a couple of months since I started and now have more than a dozen loaves under my belt — literally and figuratively!

In my last bread blog, I told how I had tried a new sourdough recipe and it worked OK; maybe not as well as I wanted, but it worked. Since then, I’ve baked a few more loaves; but the last two that I did came out like bricks, really thick and heavy!

Even though I fed my sourdough starter every day (and even hired someone to feed my cat and sourdough daily when I was away!), it still lost its umph.

So, I started a new culture a week ago. Here it is with some fresh flour looking good and bubbly….

Here's some bubbly sourdough starter just right for starting a new loaf of fresh homemade bread. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

Here’s some bubbly sourdough starter just right for starting a new loaf of fresh homemade bread. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

and here’s one of the first loaves….

This sourdough bread loaf is a bit thin, but it's light as a marshmallow. I'm still working on getting it right! (Photo by Jim Ewing)

This sourdough bread loaf is a bit thin, but it’s light as a marshmallow. I’m still working on getting it right! (Photo by Jim Ewing)

It’s maybe not so pretty as some of those that people more experienced than I might make, but I can attest that it’s very light. Pick it up, and it almost seems to float off your hand! It’s like a big marshmallow.

I used the same recipe as before, except I used Organic All Purpose Flour rather than whole wheat.

For cosmetic purposes, I probably ought to invest in a bigger pan, rather than splitting the dough into two standard loaf pans. As it is, one pan is too small without the dough rising over the sides and overflowing; two pans results in a thinner loaf.

Pretty or not, I now prefer to eat my own bread than “store bought.” And I certainly have a greater appreciation for others’ home baking!

I’ll keep playing with it, and keep you posted.

Jim PathFinder Ewing is a journalist, author, and former organic farmer now teaching natural, sustainable and organic agricultural practices. His latest book titled Conscious Food: Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating (Findhorn Press) is in bookstores now. Find Jim on Facebook, follow him @EdiblePrayers or @OrganicWriter or visit blueskywaters.com.