For anyone who knows me, you know that I love making bread. I think about it often; about how to tweek this or that to get the dough to rise better, or taste better, or look better. I even have ‘bread notes’ that I edit frequently, so you know I’m serious. It’s become a hobby of mine, so I thought I’d start journaling what I have learned.
Breadmaking is a great ability to learn. It is empowering, knowing that you can create something that is essential for life. It’s practical, it’s simple, it’s healthier than store bought bread. It’s cheaper, and if you do it right, it tastes better! So there’s many positives to being able to make your own bread. In fact, our culture is a small minority compared to the rest of the world, where it is very common for each household to make their own bread, not to mention their own meals. It’s a reminder to me not to overcomplicate life, which I think is so easy to do in our fast-paced, stress-filled society.
I made my first loaf of bread about 4 years ago. I was pregnant with our second child, and I was always thinking about food. That seemed to motivate me to cook more food! I found a YouTube channel called ‘Steve the Bread Guy’ and started from there. I remember my first batch of white bread turned out ok, but my second batch came out looking like large bricks. I made many mistakes at first, forgetting to add salt to the dough (which makes the bread about as tasty as a doorstop), making the water so hot that it killed the yeast, etc. But each time I learned a little bit more about how yeast works, and I got better.
A few months ago I decided to go for something different, something completely in it’s own category: Sourdough. Sourdough is different than other bread because you don’t use store-bought commercial yeast. It is the method of “catching” wild yeast from the air, and creating what’s called a sourdough starter. It is the original method of making bread, and the most natural. This sounded very intimidating at first, but it was something I really wanted to learn. After about 3 failed attempts to create a sourdough starter, I was very discouraged. I told my husband I was never going to try to make it again. But a couple months later, I was ready to face the challenge again. I couldn’t accept defeat! So I read another blog post about how to create the starter, and discovered my problem. I needed to have more patience. After 9 days of feeding “my monster” (that’s what I called the starter) and waiting, the yeast finally appeared. I was so happy. So I made my first loaf and it was beautiful, and tangy. Crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. I have only used commercial yeast once since I made my successful starter!
So there you have it, the beginning of my bread making in a nutshell.
Each week I have been making a new sourdough recipe, and I plan to post about each one in the future. This weeks recipe was Pita Bread (recipe here). It turned out really well, but it was a little more work than just making a couple loaves of bread.
Ok, alot more work. I had to seperate the dough, roll it out, than cook each pita on the griddle and hope for the middle to poof out. Only one did, however, so I had to cut a pocket into each one.As far as taste goes, they were definitely a success. I stuffed them with chicken strips, mayo, lettuce, and sharp cheddar cheese. Just writing this makes me want to make another one.
Thanks for reading! If you have any bread recipe ideas, comment below.