Monday is usually bread baking day but in order to bake several loaves or types of bread, I need to be home almost all day. I have an Azure order to pick up mid-day so that divides the day to where I can’t really get it done before I have to leave to go get the Azure order and by the time I drive out in the country past Carthage, get the Azure order, stop by the grocery store for a couple of things I need for Thanksgiving, chances are I wouldn’t want to be starting bread baking by the time I get home. So . . today was the day to bake bread.
First, I took a breadmaking class the other day. I’m a big fan of Carolyn from Homesteading Family. They offer classes – sometimes for free, but some of the more indepth classes have fees. I mentioned a while back that I bought one of their cheesemaking classes and loved it. I’ve made as many of the cheese recipes as I can without having a cheese press and a cold storage area for aging the cheese. Vince ordered everything to make a cheese press but that’s as far as he got so I continue to make the easier type cheeses. During the summer, I was busy with the garden so I want to get back to making cheese.
Carolyn had a free breadmaking class last week. I’ve been making bread as long as I’ve been cooking. I don’t even know why or how I got started making bread. Back in the late 70’s or early 80’s (I think that’s the time frame), when bread machines first came out, I got one (of course I did!). It was nice to have homemade bread but it just wasn’t exactly what I was wanting so that’s when I started making bread on my own – without using a bread machine. After all these years of making bread, I wondered if it would be a waste of time to take Carolyn’s class but . . it was free and lasted less than two hours so . . why not? Pretty much everything she said, I had already heard but her putting it all together in her presentation was really helpful and I was excited to start making bread today after having watched her instructions.
She does offer a very detailed series of bread making classes, including quite a few of her recipes.
Back to breadmaking . . I milled enough flour for making a loaf of 100% whole wheat bread, as well as Carolyn’s Oatmeal Rolls. I wanted to make those for Thanksgiving but wanted to try them before making them to serve for our Thanksgiving dinner.
I know it isn’t for everyone and I don’t think it’s wrong for those who are happy buying storebought bread but I would grind wheat and make bread and give it away all day if it were up to me. I love doing it. I love hand kneading bread. I love the smell of bread dough. I love taking a beautiful loaf out of the oven. I love how the house smells when bread is baking.
I’m not sure exactly what I did differently from how I’ve been making whole wheat bread since I got my first grain mill in 2008. That’s over 15-1/2 years that I’ve been grinding wheat to make bread. Not EVERY loaf of bread I’ve made has been made with home milled wheat but the majority of the bread has been made with home milled wheat.
Using Carolyn’s recipe, it’s simply flour, water, yeast, a tiny bit of olive oil, and salt. That’s it. A lot of whole wheat bread recipes call for dough enhancer, lecithin, vital wheat gluten and other ingredients that can be hard to find and rather expensive.
Once the bread was in the oven, I started working on Oatmeal Rolls, mainly to make sure they’re good enough to serve for our Thanksgiving meal. They are.
There were four that wouldn’t fit into the baking pan so I stuck those in a cast iron skillet and baked them separately.
Those four could have baked about 5 minutes longer but it was past time for dinner.
The naturopath we see has told Vince that he isn’t eating enough vegetables so I’m trying to include more veggies. The soup contains a lot of veggies! But for our sandwiches, I added cucumbers, basil, lettuce and our last tomato from the garden. I thought this one wasn’t going to get ripe but it did and I was so happy to have it. I’m going to miss those tomatoes.
Even though it was soup and sandwiches, I feel like it was a fairly healthy meal . . plus the bread was 100% whole wheat.
By the way, I divided those rolls up into bags and froze most of them. I grabbed the fourth one from the skillet and made four bags with four rolls in each. Three of those bags went into the freezer. With the loaf of bread and four rolls, that should get us through until the Monday after Thanksgiving when I make bread again and we may have rolls leftover from Thanksgiving.