Tag Archives: baking

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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I’m Loafing Today – As in, Making Bread!

I’ve been “loafing” today –  as in, making bread.

This is an update for regular readers who enjoyed my last post on making bread for the first time. I’ve advanced a little bit since then. I’m up to about a dozen loaves now.

I’m by no means expert at it, but I’ve been having fun and experimenting with making bread from scratch. One of my experiments was grinding my own wheat and baking it. It was a – shall we say – mixed success. Most cooks, I suppose, only show their successes. But I figure, well, if you don’t make mistakes, how are you going to learn? So, I decided to share this experiment anyway.

It didn’t rise as much as I would have wanted and it was rather heavy. But here’s a photo log:

Hard red wheat berries bought from bulk supplies at Rainbow Natural Grocery . (Photo by Jim Ewing)

Hard red wheat berries bought from bulk supplies at Rainbow Natural Grocery . (Photo by Jim Ewing)

First, I bought some hard red wheat – the kind that’s grown locally and is sold in bulk at Rainbow Natural Foods.

I ground the wheat berries in my Vitamixer. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

I ground the wheat berries in my Vitamixer. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

Then, I ground it with my Vitamixer.

The ground wheat looked good in the mixing bowl. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

The ground wheat looked good in the mixing bowl. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

It looked pretty good in the mixing bowl.

The ground wheat kneaded to a nice consistency. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

The ground wheat kneaded to a nice consistency. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

It also looked good and felt good to my hands in kneading it.

It didn't rise very well, though. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

It didn’t rise very well, though. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

It never really rose to fill the pan, however. I waited and waited. Finally, I popped it in the oven, hopping it might expand a little more, but that didn’t happen either. By contrast, the other two loafs I was making, rose quite well and came out with a nice size and consistency.

Those I gave away. This one, I kept.

Even bread "mistakes" can taste good! (Photo by Jim Ewing)

Even bread “mistakes” can taste good! (Photo by Jim Ewing)

This “mistake,” since it was small and heavy, I ate! And know what? It was great! I whipped up some cream and slathered it in honey from my bees, and it was heavenly. 🙂

As I learned in hindsight, I didn’t grind it fine enough. Next time, I’ll know better.

Here are some loaves – two with organic white flour, one with organic whole wheat flour, both store bought! – I’m waiting to rise to pop into the oven:

I've been a regular little  production line, creating loaves today. These are rising and will be set in the oven in a couple of hours. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

I’ve been a regular little production line, creating loaves today. These are rising and will be set in the oven in a couple of hours. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

They’ll be Christmas presents.

I expect that I will return to my grinding my own wheat experiments, and probably using other flours, but since these were meant to be given as gifts, I figured I’d better stick to the tried and true.

Happy Holidays, Everyone!

Jim PathFinder Ewing is a journalist, author, writer, editor, organic farmer and blogger. His latest book titled Conscious Food: Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating (Findhorn Press) is in bookstores now. Find Jim on Facebook, follow him @edibleprayers or visit blueskywaters.com.