If you’re not making your own bread stop what you’re doing right now and take a good hard look at your life. If your answer is, “I don’t eat bread” seek professional help immediately; report back here after reprogramming. If instead you are one of the, “I don’t have time to make bread” people, just imagine that you are one of those weak minded characters from a 1920s black and white movie. You have been driven to hysterics and I’m Clark Gable, come along to smack some sense into you.
You CAN make bread at home, and it’s fantastic. It ISN’T hard, I literally spend a total of less than 5 minutes per loaf. You SHOULD do this, we were spending up to $5 for some of those ‘artisan’ breads and you can make the same thing, at home, for $0.40 in ingredients and $0.10 worth of natural gas. And NO you don’t need a bread maker; in fact you don’t even need to knead it.
If you start baking your own bread, you will instantly be amazed at your own awesomeness. Homemade bread is seriously one of the most satisfying things you can make; it’s easy and it looks beautiful. But beware, your spirits will fall, ever so slightly, when you bite into that first loaf. The problem: it’s bland.
Afterwards you may find yourself seeking flavor. ‘Perhaps if I substitute 1 cup of whole wheat flour’ or ‘Maybe some rosemary and bunch of olive oil would jazz it up.’ Those ideas are fine, but here I’m going to tell you the secret to free flavor. Ready? Sourdough. Continue reading How to Make a Sourdough Starter→
In a continuing effort to find applications for eggs, I recently dug out an oldie but a goodie: Challah (pronounced hall-ah). Challah is traditional Jewish egg bread eaten on Sabbath and certain holidays, including Rosh Hashana. According to legend, Challah was one form of manna (food provided by God), which fell from heaven to the Israelites as they wandered the desert.
I cannot confirm or deny any part of this legend, but I can say that Challah is damn good bread. A large number of eggs in the dough, usually 5 or 6, lends richness to this bread. Most recipes call for sugar or honey, which give a gentle sweetness. The top is brushed with more eggs, or honey on special occasions, which renders the loaf shimmering golden brown. The loaf itself is braided which not only makes for spectacular presentation, but also creates long sinews of bread that can be torn apart and eaten out of hand. Sometimes raisins are added to the dough or sesame seeds sprinkled over the top; these add texture and interesting variations to the flavor. However you take it, it’s delicious. Continue reading Challah Challah Challah→
lu-na-tic [loo-nuh-tik] –noun 1. an insane person. 2. a person whose actions and manner are marked by extreme eccentricity or recklessness.