Making Carbs

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Have I mentioned we are bread fiends? Not just carb junkies, but a full on make-your-own-loaves-from-scratch-household. I would venture a guess we make about a batch a week on average unless the temperatures get too hot to justify turning on the oven. Wintertime we pump out two or four loaves a week, as we did this week. We buy flour and yeast in bulk. At least 5 different kinds of flour are tucked away in the pantry at any given time and we have a nice little pet Sourdough starter that lives in our fridge that we try to remember to feed once a week. Oh, and we don’t have a bread machine.

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I am sure for most this is a task just too time consuming to take on. And it can be. This loaf we started yesterday afternoon. Some have taken upwards of a week. But I also do some that take less than an hour start to finish. Often it is not instant gratification. Often there are flops, near flops and utter failures. But, man, it is FUN. A mix between Art and Chemistry, patiently calculated and free-form creation. Matt is actually far better at it than I. He is Mr. Precision who will measure out ingredients to the nearest micron. I am Ms. Adapt-the-recipe-and-hope-it-still-turns-out who thinks a tablespoon is about what fits in the center of my palm. I have a few staples I do over and over again. Matt tries all the most difficult ones in the book. At some point, we would like to build a wood-fired bread oven in the backyard. Or at least in our deep secret fantasy of what to do with this house that is on our list, right behind installing a hot tub.

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While there really are no ‘Secrets’, there are two tools which are complete indispensables- Our Kitchenaid Stand Mixer and Bernard Clayton’s Complete Book of Bread. Two thinks I couldn’t live without. If the house ever caught on fire I would likely grab these before the Wedding photos. No, wait, let’s rethink that: The homeowner’s insurance would cover replacing the mixer and book but the irreplaceable wedding negatives would still be toast. Well, it would just be a good excuse to upgrade, then. Yep, these two items have gotten more than their fair share of use. The Mixer head actually is starting to come loose, there is a bolt or something inside in need of tightening. Matt thinks he can take it apart and fix it, but after his repair job with the Sawzall on our Food Processor, I won’t let him touch it. Clayton has compiled thousands of recipes- everything from beer-rye to crumpets and the Mixer whips the dough up and kneads it to perfection. I call it easy.

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Today we made two ovals of a wonderful Whole-Wheat Sourdough. This was a new one and I really love the way they turned out. I really like the free-form loaf style. I think they tend to get eaten faster this way. There is really nothing like the smell of bread baking and breaking into a hot fresh slice of homemade bread. I will confess I could eat one of these loaves by myself by picking at it over the course of an afternoon. However, I will exhibit self control today. Can’t wait for dinner, though.

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~ by gdesign on February 11, 2008.

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