Sunday, June 30, 2013

Daily Bread II: No-knead Semi-Sourdough Bread

For many years my parents made their own bread, stopping only when Mennonites started selling excellent home-made bread at the local farmer's market. Nowadays, my mother lives alone and doesn't drive, so it's not as easy to get to the market, so she really enjoyed my homemade bread when she was here for a visit.

She started musing about making bread herself again, but this is a challenge because she doesn't have a mixer with a dough hook and arthritis makes kneading bread by hand painful. I suggested a no-knead bread recipe I had come across on the Internet. However, I hadn't made it myself so I couldn't give advice on how well it worked. So this one's for you, Mom!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Our Daily Bread

There was a time in my life, when I was very young, that I regularly made bread. Mom had an old 50's booklet from Fleischman Yeast called "When you bake with yeast" from which I learned the basics. But I was inspired to do more by a couple of visiting Quakers who used bread making as a focus activity for some kind of spiritual discussion. I no longer remember the discussions or context, but it was from Helen Stevenson that I learned about the sponge method and how flexible and forgiving bread dough can be. So in my student days, I often made Helen's bread.

The years passed, and I stopped baking bread, but I recently started again in response to a crie de coeur from my aunt. She was complaining about the disappointing quality of a regular loaf of bread (yes, even in Europe!). She doesn't have a bakery close by, so she buys it in the supermarket and although it's better than much North American bread, it is still pretty soft and squishy, and lacking in depth of flavour. And of course, there are specialty breads and some really good bakeries, but for your regular sandwich bread that needs to stay relatively fresh and tasty for several days, there is still nothing like a home-made loaf.

So I started baking bread again.