Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Oh Spring, where art thou?


I don't know about you, but I'm ready for spring to get here. And, I think my yard agrees with me. I have daffodils that have come up in one of the flower beds in my backyard. I noticed a neighbor has a bunch that have bloomed too. So, instead of leaving them out there where I couldn't see them, I had to cut them and bring them in the house. Aren't the gorgeous? I remember as a kid doing a science experiment in school where they added food coloring to the water to change the daffodils to green. Such a cool thing I'll have to do when Sawyer gets older.

One day it is 70 here, the next it is 50 or 40. The weather has been so wonky. I know we probably need some good cold to kill off all the flu germs, but I'm a spring/summer girl at heart and I'm ready for warmer weather. Also, I think that the fashions for spring and summer are so much cuter.

And now for a recipe....

I'm plotting my next recipe to try with Deceptively Delicious and I haven't quite decided what will be next. But, in the mean time I wanted to share another recipe that I've been doing. For about the last month, I've been baking home made bread on and off. A girl who lives near me was kind enough to share the "starter" so I could begin the adventure of making bread. I thought y'all might be interested in this too. Thanks Kim L.!

I didn't have the recipe for the starter (since y'all don't live close by and I can't share it) so I went online and found a great recipe that gives directions to begin your starter. The wonderful thing about this recipe is that you can add anything to it. I've been doing cinnamon sugar and golden raisins in loaves, chopped fruit, and sesame seeds. I think you could add pesto too. I just haven't yet.

How cool is it to be able to make your own bread? People have been doing it for thousands of years. So, I figured why not me? Hey, why not you?

Here is the recipe and I'll add some tips after it. If you decide you want to do this and have any questions, feel free to email me. It is a pretty easy venture once you get the hang of it and make your first batch.

Before you begin....

You will want to have all of your ingredients on hand. This recipe will make 3 large loaves, so you will need 3 large loaf pans. You can use metal or glass, doesn't matter. You could also make smal loaves, but you will need a lot of small pans if you are just doing small loaves. I also recommend using a glass jar to ferment and store your bread starter. The girl who shared the starter with me said you should put a piece of plastic wrap over it to keep out fruit flies. Just poke a hole or two with a fork (remember, small holes to keep out the fruit flies)

Friendship Bread Starter & Recipe

· Starter (first time):
· 1 cup warm water
· 1/2 cup sugar
· 1 package (2-1/4 teaspoons) dry yeast
· 3 level Tablespoons instant potato flakes

First Time Starter Directions:Mix water, sugar, yeast, and potato flakes. Let ferment on counter for two days.Then feed with starter feeder (below). If you get starter from someone else, you can omit this step.

Starter Feeder:Combine water, sugar, and potato flakes. Add to starter. Let stand on countertop eight hours. Refrigerate 3 to 5 days, then make bread. After using 1 cup of the starter for dough, pour one cup back into container and refrigerate. Discard any other starter.

· Starter Feeder (subsequent times):
· 1 cup warm water
· 1/2 cup sugar
· 3 Tablespoons potato flakes

Once you finally get your starter going, here is how you make the bread...

· To Make Bread:
· 6 cups bread flour
· 1 Tablespoon salt
· 1/2 cup sugar
· 1/2 cup oil
· 1-1/4 cups warm water
· 1 cup starter (See notes above)

Then you will want to mix all of the ingredients in the "Make Bread" section of the recipe. Put the dough in an oiled bowl and let it rise in a warm place. Depending on the weather (humidity, etc) that will affect how quickly your bread will rise. In the winter, I've been putting mine on my kitchen table where the sun comes in and it will rise in 8 hours.

After it has risen, you'll need to knead the dough about 8 times. I have a Kitchen Aide mixer with a dough hook, so I always oil my bowl, let the dough rise in that and then put it on the mixer with the dough hook attachment and knead that way. Then I use a rolling pin to roll mine out.

Next, divide the dough into 3 (assuming you are using 3 loaft pans). If I want to add golden raisins or cinnamon sugar to mine, I'll roll out my individual pieces and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar in the middle and add the raisins there. Then you can roll your dough so that you can easily get it into the pan. Spray your pans with cooking spray. Once in the pan, I'll cover the loaves with cinnamon sugar too. This will make an awesome crust. Cover with plastic wrap (which I spray with Pam so it won't stick) and let the bread rise for 8-10 hours.

Once the bread has risen, you can bake it for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Then you let the bread cool for about 10 minutes and you are ready to partake of some good eatin!

A couple of tips...

I've found that this is a really wet dough when I go to roll it out. So, I usually add a good deal of flour on top of it so my rolling pin doesn't stick. I flour up the rolling pin too.

When I roll out the dough, I cover my counter with plastic wrap. That way I can contain the flour and it makes clean up easier.

This bread freezes well. So, if you don't want to share the loaves (which I do recommend) then you can put some away. Of course fresh tastes best, but freezing is an option. Friends and family have been really happy to see me with a fresh loaf of bread for them.

When you are not using your bread starter (keep it in the fridge). When you are ready to make bread, take it out of the fridge and leave it on your counter for a few hours

You'll want to feed your starter once a week. I've been told the more bread you make, the more active it will be.
I think it might be a nice change to try some wheat flour to make this a bit healthier. That is something I hope to do in the coming weeks.
Our Review

Our Chief Taste Tester really likes this bread whether it is plain or with the cinnamon sugar. We give it a 5 Cheerio score.

Ok, so now you are ready to begin your journey with making bread. If you make bread, I'd love to hear from you and to have you do a review. So, please email me if you decide to take on this challenge. Enjoy!


Suzanne said...

When I was making it I would add 1/3 to 1/2 of wheat flour.....it is so flexible you can try so many good things!! You can also add wheat germ too, if you want. As moist as the dough is you could probably also incorporate some oatmeal!

Christy Lee said...

I agree completely about spring! I can't wait to try the Friendship bread. Stop by my blog anytime!

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