March 24, 2008
I’m still baking most of the bread that we consume around here, and I’ve figured out a few things along the way.
1. Making bread by hand is easier than using the bread machine. Seriously.
You can make multiple loaves at the same time, easily adjust for conditions in your kitchen (more/less flour), and if you need to make an emergency side trip to the park for two hours because your spawn are climbing the walls, the dough will wait for you. Patiently.
2. For those of us with small children and/or impatient spouses, slice the loaves before you freeze them. That way, when you use up a loaf halfway through making a peanut butter and jam sandwich, you can throw a frozen slice in the toaster and still have lunch ready in five minutes.
3. If you bake anything like me, you have good breads and bad breads. One or two good breads, trotted out for public consumption at potlucks or dinner parties can do wonders for your baking rep.
If you’re super-organized, make a bunch of artisan loaves at one time, partly bake them, and then freeze them. You can whip them out the day of the event, throw them in the oven and serve “fresh bread” with minimal effort on your part – more time to devote to the really important things like taking that damn scrunchie out of your hair before people arrive.
4. Anything baked with cheese is good. Gouda is better.
5. Small breads are the cheerleaders of the bread world – they’re small, really cute and shout ‘look at me!’. Whether or not they taste better has yet to be determined.
6. Find a really good bread cookbook and use it frequently.