How to make a better loaf of bread and other baking lessons from King Arthur Flour

breadwithbutter

Remember that delicious loaf of whole wheat bread I made a few weeks back? The one with the HUGE hole running through? The hole certainly didn’t affect the taste, but besides being an eyesore, it caused peanut butter and jelly’s to become a sticky mess oozing from the bread. And really, that’s just not acceptable.

But a lesson from baking experts at King Arthur Flour revealed a better way to shape a loaf of bread, eliminating unsightly holes and encouraging a higher rise. The demonstration was a stop on the company’s fall tour across the country; the closest to Fredericksburg was in Fairfax. The drive up I-95 proved to be longer than hoped (doesn’t it always on Saturdays though?), but at least I didn’t have to drive to Vermont.  I was glad to have the chance to be among 150 or so other bakers learning tips to bake a better loaf of whole wheat bread from folks who really know their stuff. Continue reading “How to make a better loaf of bread and other baking lessons from King Arthur Flour”

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Make your own whole wheat bread; why Michael Pollan insists

Mornings are cool now, sometimes even downright chilly. And with this fall weather, I’m ready to start baking again. Turning the oven on during the summer never seemed appealing–except for various pizzas, of course–so meals were often simple, little cooking required. No more. Let’s crank the oven on, pull out some yeast, and fill the house with wonderful smells that may even waft through our open windows. Perhaps we’ll finally meet our new neighbors this way. Cookies worked in college dorms, maybe bread is the secret in the real world.

wholewheatbread
This loaf had a surprise inside.

One morning this week, after recovering from the previous three-article, 13-hour day at work, I made the most of my time at home before another meeting needed babysitting. That meant making bread, something I’ve been meaning to do more often, thanks to Michael Pollan.

More and more, after reading Pollan’s “Cooked,” I question the lengthy list of ingredients on the plastic wrapper. It’s been quite some time since I’ve even purchased “regular” sandwich bread at the grocery store, instead foregoing sandwiches for other dishes. That’s primarily because I can never even eat my way through a whole loaf before needing to store slices in the (overstuffed) freezer for safe keeping. Soon, maybe my loaves will be eaten more quickly, shared at the table, feeding not just one. Until then, I’ll share bread with friends and my sister, and cram lingering pieces into the freezer.

Continue reading “Make your own whole wheat bread; why Michael Pollan insists”