I don’t think I’ve baked a loaf of bread since I moved to Calgary, but this weekend I dusted off my World of Bread and set about kneading. There is something about making your own bread that is so satisfying, and the concept of bread baking is very easy – mix yeast, flour and liquid together and let rise. World of Bread offers many variations on this, including my old standby called Cornell Bread. I find the description that accompanies the recipe in my book quite humorous, but the bread is truly delicious.
Bread recipes are always just suggestions, so while the bread I baked this weekend turned out (mostly) I’ll be modifying my recipes to work better in the dry climate of Calgary. My Cornell bread dough worked as it was supposed to – smooth and not too sticky, but didn’t rise as much as I had hoped. I think a little more water will allow me to mix in the extra flour the recipe calls for. The dough did look good though.
And even if the bread was a little stunted, it still tastes amazing. I had it as grilled cheese sandwiches today, and they were perfect. Jon also maintains that the bread has the same amount of nutrients, but since it’s smaller he’ll need to use less PB and J to cover it. This makes it practically a diet food.
If you’re going to make 1 loaf of bread, you might as well make several since you need to commit fully to a day of being home with your dough anyways. I also tried a whole wheat bread recipe (from a book called Bread Winners) which was a disappointment. I should have realized it when I read the recipe (the flour to water ratio seemed all wrong) but I tried anyways and was rewarded with two very small, very hard loaves that will now be fed to the local rabbit/bird population. I have many, many other whole wheat recipes to try, including one that has been very successful for me in the past so I’m sure I can find something that works better.
I tried a third bread, a beer bread (also from Bread Winners) which turned out quite well. It’s a whole wheat loaf, but use milk, dark beer (I used WRB Stout) and molasses. The dough looked good, the loaves rose well, and the slice I ate yesterday tasted promising but strong. I think this will be toast, or soup bread since the beer flavour is noticable. Probably won’t be a bread staple, but I think I’d make it again.