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