I make a lot of bread.
And, I'm not talking money....c'mon I'm in theater!
Seriously though, I do make a lot of bread. Between shows last season (November to late April), I made so much bread that we had homemade bread every night for dinner PLUS I put about 20 loaves in the freezer for the summer.
Growing up my mom made bread all the time. When I think of her during my childhood, I picture her kneading dough on the square marble slab she used for that purpose. We had homemade bread every night for dinner back then and I guess I'm just carrying on the tradition. My grandmother, my mom's mom, was French so perhaps that's where she got it from. To me, it's just not dinner without bread. Good bread. Good homemade bread.
I'm not a hand-kneader, I use my handy Kitchenaid for that:
And yes, it does match the kitchen:
So what kind of bread do I make? Well, a few different types:
- A Tuscan one-rise bread which was the first bread I ever made. It's easy and quick (kneads in the food processor!). My mom gave me the recipe and I make it often, especially if I don't have a lot of time. Sometimes I add soy flour or whole wheat flour.
- Rustic Potato Bread from Baking with Julia. This is pretty quick as well and it makes 2 loaves so one for dinner and one for the freezer. I've made this for neighbors and they all rave about it.
- Cloverleaf Rolls from The Joy of Cooking. My mom made these growing up and they bring back such memories.
- Various others: I've experimented with sandwhich bread recipes trying to find the best one. I just discovered a sponge bread recipe in Baking with Julia that shows promise. I've only made it once so I have to do it a few times in order to make sure I've mastered it.
Here's a quick tip: If you want crusty bread, throw some ice cubes into the hot oven and shut the door for a minute before adding the dough to be baked. The steam from the cubes will make the dough form a nice, crispy, crust.
I just love bread. I love the way the house smells when it's baking, I love the warmth of just-finished bread, I love eating. Best of all, I love it when my kids say, "Oh yum, mommy bread. it's the best."
Happy Theme Thursday!