This year my wife and I decided to bake all of our own bread, buns and other bread products. Both of us have baked a lot of bread over the years, and it was a chance for both of us to rediscover our skills, as well as to learn some new ones. It was also a chance to try and eat more healthy breads made with whole grains.
If there’s one thing we learned it’s this: homemade bread is hard to beat! Actually we already knew that, but this year of eating only homemade bread served to reinforce that fact. Both my wife and I did our fair share of baking, and we each used somewhat different methods and techniques.
My wife concentrated mainly on no-knead recipes from the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day (HB in Five) cookbook. Some of my favorites were the Olive Spelt buns, the Chocolate Espresso muffins, and the Honey Raisin English muffins. I also love, love, love the Grissini she makes with the dough!
I used recipes from a variety of sources. I made a few of the same things over and over, like the Honey Flax Bread that we enjoy for sandwiches. It has such a nice taste and tender, even crumb. It made some great BLT sandwiches this summer.
I also made a lot of Moomie’s Famous Hamburger Buns. They must be truly famous, because my blog stats show that a lot of people Google the recipe and wind up visiting this blog to check it out. As for me, once I tried this recipe it’s the only hamburger buns I made this year. There are a few other bun recipes I would like to try…someday.
Another bread I made a lot of this year was pitas. We love the Whole Wheat Pitas and use them for a lot of things, including Pizza. I also make spelt pitas, using whole grain spelt flour in place of the whole wheat flour in the recipe.
I bake the pitas on a baking stone in a very hot oven. It is fun to watch them puff up!
I also experimented with a few recipes that I only made occasionally (or once). The Mt Olive Rolls in the photo below were tasty, but the recipe was pretty involved. I think my wife’s no-knead olive rolls were better. They were certainly easier for me, since she did all the work on those!
One bread I will be making again was the Pain de Campagne. This rustic loaf in the photo below was a blend of whole wheat, rye and unbleached bread flours and had a wonderful tangy flavor. The recipe came from Rustic European Breads From Your Bread Machine. It was not actually baked in the bread machine, though it was used to ferment and knead the dough.
Another bread I want to make again is the 100% Spelt Bread I made using a recipe from The Fresh Loaf. This bread is made using a poolish, and the flavor was fantastic. Next time I will make it in an 8×4 inch bread pan like the recipe calls for. At the time I couldn’t find a pan that size, and used a 9×5 inch pan instead. As a result the bread shape was a little flat, but the taste was still great.
I also made foccacia, whole wheat French, and a few others that didn’t get photographed. What’s in store for 2011? We plan to continue baking all our own bread, building on what we learned this year. We do plan on experimenting even more with the no-knead recipes from HB in Five. But I will also be making more breads that are kneaded, using the bread machine and mixer to help. Our main goal is to make tasty, healthy homemade bread, and there’s plenty of different ways to do just that!