Don't Be Afraid of Making Bread

We love our rural homestead.  Our country home provides sanctuary from our busy, high-tech & stressful lives.  In the six years we have lived here we have learned to become more self-sufficient.  We can't just run to a corner store to get what we need.  

While living in Rockford we became accustom to tasty, crusty bread by La Brea bakery found in several of Rockford's grocery stores.  There are also several local bakeries that turn out soft on the inside & crusty outside breads, Mary's Market being one.

Moving to the country limited our access to our favorite breads, which is no small thing to our family.  A crusty bread completes a meal, like homemade spaghetti sauce or freshly made soup.  I have never considered myself a baker & have avoided baking breads or pie crusts. A month or so ago I made a curried zucchini soup that needed a great crusty bread to complete it. So I was left with two choices:  1)  Settle on a soft lesser bread.  2) Try my hand at baking bread.   

I choose to brave the bread baking world to make sure my soup had an complimentary partner.  I found a Rosemary bread recipe on-line. 

I also had to give myself a swift kick in the butt.  My Mum worked hard to teach me the kitchen basics & over the years I've built upon those skills.  At a very young age I watched my Scottish Grandma make a family shortbread recipe as well as meat pie crust.  My Ukrainian grandmother was always busy in the kitchen making a variety of pierogi, cabbage rolls & other Ukrainian favs.  Some of these family foods I have made, some are on my things to learn list.

Bread making was not on my learn list, but why?  I've learned to do so much, why sell myself short & deprive myself & my family of homemade bread?  There was no good reason other than I was afraid to fail. 

 

Rosemary Boule made with fresh rosemary from our garden.  In the background is my Emile Henry ceramic Dutch oven, which makes a great crusty bread.  I never knew a dutch oven could be used for bread making. 

Rosemary Boule made with fresh rosemary from our garden.  In the background is my Emile Henry ceramic Dutch oven, which makes a great crusty bread.  I never knew a dutch oven could be used for bread making. 

A lovely vegetable soup, curried zucchini soup. http://southernfood.about.com/od/soupandstew/r/bl60804c.htm

A lovely vegetable soup, curried zucchini soup.

http://southernfood.about.com/od/soupandstew/r/bl60804c.htm

While looking for the original bread recipe, I tripped across a wonderful bread making book. 

My first Kindle cookbook.  In my effort to de clutter my house I have dramatically diminished my cookbook collection.  There is a learning curve to Kindle cookbook use, but worth it.  Yes, there is a hardcover version too.

My first Kindle cookbook.  In my effort to de clutter my house I have dramatically diminished my cookbook collection.  There is a learning curve to Kindle cookbook use, but worth it.  Yes, there is a hardcover version too.

This book makes bread making easy & accessible to everyone.  It doesn't matter if you are a novice cook or have a crazy schedule.  The authors have created recipes that require no kneading  & can sit in the fridge for 2 weeks.  That means you have dough ready to pull out, shape, rest &  bake.  Mix the ingredients in a dough bucket, sit on kitchen counter to rise for 2 hours & put in the fridge.  

When you want to bake a loaf, pull out & cut a grapefruit size, quickly shape & let rest according to the directions.  Then follow directions for baking to get your fresh artisanal bread.  During rising, resting & baking go about your every day routine.  

A fridge of bread doughs, a bucket of master recipe & a bowl of honey wheat dough.  I'm willing to give up some fridge space for fresh bread. 

A fridge of bread doughs, a bucket of master recipe & a bowl of honey wheat dough.  I'm willing to give up some fridge space for fresh bread. 

The smell of fresh baked bread makes a home cozy, friendly & balanced.  The smell just makes one feel right.  With my husband's crazy schedule, that homemade bread brings him peace.  Tuna salad on fresh rye bread or honey wheat for his work lunch makes his day just a bit better.

  Aunt Jean & her daughter Jesse, shared their love of Penzeys spices.  I have used their caraway seeds & lovely cinnamon to enhance my breads.  Finding higher quality ingredients makes a better end product.

 

Aunt Jean & her daughter Jesse, shared their love of Penzeys spices.  I have used their caraway seeds & lovely cinnamon to enhance my breads.  Finding higher quality ingredients makes a better end product.

Thanks to Jim & Julia, my in-laws, I have access to Amish made butter.  Just takes the bread to a new level. 

Thanks to Jim & Julia, my in-laws, I have access to Amish made butter.  Just takes the bread to a new level. 

Butter crock to keep butter fresh & soft.  Also a linen bread bag to keep bread crusty on the outside. 

Butter crock to keep butter fresh & soft.  Also a linen bread bag to keep bread crusty on the outside. 

Baked rye while I canned some dilly beans from my garden. 

Baked rye while I canned some dilly beans from my garden. 

We are known for our tech savvy in this home, known for our iPhones & iPads.  Known for our love of movies & tv shows like Marvel, Sci-Fi, historical dramas & fantasy.  What would amaze most people at how often they could come to our house & find us chatting in the kitchen with no electronic devices.  We are gathered there because that's where I'm finishing bread or some canning.  Getting back to the basics has helped us slow down & connect as a family.  We use the dining room often to chat, play games or music while enjoying some new freshly made cocktail.

 

If I can do it so can you;) 

If I can do it so can you;) 

Puttering around my kitchen helps calms my mind & reinvigorates my soul.  Love to be next to my husband as we work on dinner together.  Love to pass down to my daughter what I've learned from the generations before.   When I stand back & look at my table full of newly canned vegetables & fresh bread, I take great comfort & joy knowing that I am simply continuing the traditions this house has seen so many times before.  That I am just another lady of the house bringing her own touch to this 154 year old legacy.