5/21/08 | Make Your Own Bread
[ Currently Eating: Bacon Egg Sandwich ]
Anybody up for some failed bread?
I’m not even going to include the recipe because this didn’t turn out very well. It was a series of unfortunate events, and not the lemony kind. First off, I’ve never really baked bread before (unless you count Irish Soda Bread). Second, I decided to try out this Pyrex Bake-A-Round tube thingy I got at the thrift store instead of going the traditional route.
Third, I used the recipe in the box for French Bread, which was written back in the 70s (the recipe did use standard active dry yeast and most of the same ingredients found in bread recipes). I was thinking of a baguette or something – they obviously weren’t. The recipe called for FOUR cups flour to about one cup of water. I knew that wasn’t right, but I tried it anyway. It is awfully hard to mix in four cups of flour into a cup of water or so by hand. Oh yes, that’s Fourth: even though we have a perfectly good mixer with a dough hook, I “forgot” and decided to mix the bastard by hand. Actually, I suspect this is keeping with the Cheap Eats tradition since I’d be unwise to assume everyone has a mixer on hand.
So, it’s not a big surprise that the bread didn’t win best of show. Maybe it was the extra salt added in from the sweat rolling off my head as I tried to knead the dough. Old-time readers will also remember I have a nagging shoulder injury – that was not fun.
The bread itself came out just “edible”. That’s pretty much all the praise I can muster for several hours of effort. I wasn’t surprised it was very dense and almost cake-like. The crust actually came out decent, though not browned. Someone told me that industrial type ovens blast it with so much heat in a short time which is how they can get a better crust? Actually, if it wasn’t for the bake-a-round tube, it probably would have came out even worse.
However, a good Cheap Eater is willing to experiment and fail for the overall good of the wallet. Home-baked Bread definitely seemed like something that should be tried out. So, instead of moaning about this unlovable loaf, I’ll probably be trying it again sometime later in the year. I probably won’t be using the bake-a-round again, although it was sort of neat that when you cut slices they were perfectly round – that might be fun for hamburger sandwiches or something.
Also, I’m sure there are tons of excellent bread bakers out there – if you have a good recipe or technique to share, please do. I’m going to also say that I KNOW you can just use a bread machine to make it. But I’d like to hear from those who don’t use a machine, and possibly not even a mixer. I’m still not 100% convinced that making your own bread from scratch is worth the time and effort – I think the price of bread would knead (haha) to go up considerably to get more people to start trying to make their own.