“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.” – James Beard
I remember that, in the pioneer days of the Ingalls family in “The Little House on the Prairie” book series, Ma had a specific chore on each day. Baking day was on Saturday, which was the day all the baking would be done for the upcoming week.
One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to learn the art of baking homemade bread, which means I am going to have to learn the art of patience of waiting for bread dough to rise slowly then only to punch it down, and wait again as it rises for a second time before being baked in the oven. Also, part of my New Year’s resolution is to try new baking recipes. A few days before bread baking day I found some recipes and gathered my ingredients.
I am an early riser; I like the early morning calmness with the hope of the whole day stretched out before me. If I am to accomplish something I have to wake early, so today I rose up with a hot cup of coffee with anticipation for the day of baking bread. I have baked bread before, but not on a regular basis mainly because it takes so much time. I seem to only do it for special occasions or holidays, but not this year. This year my goal is to make fresh homemade bread twice a month, more specifically my goal today is to make four varieties of homemade bread.
Today I made homemade wheat bread, buttermilk rolls, crusty water rolls, and herb French bread. I will use the wheat bread for morning toast and for sandwiches for lunch. The rolls and French bread will be used for my supper dishes. Here are some pictures taken on my bread baking day.
One of the little tricks I learned today in helping the bread to rise was to place the dough covered with a kitchen towel in my oven with only the oven light turned on and the oven door closed. The heat produced by the oven light was enough to keep the dough warm and aid in its rising.
It was a wonderfully relaxing day as I concentrated on mixing, kneading, waiting on the bread to rise, and finally baking the bread. The house smelled heavenly of fresh baked bread, and the bread tasted just wonderful! I also put aside some of the bread in the freezer in case of unexpected company. How wonderful to have homemade bread served with homemade butter or homemade cream cheese topped with homemade jelly or jam or homemade fruit butters! I hope my words and pictures inspire you to have your own bread baking day!
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