So I have been learning to bake bread. I did NOT buy a bread machine, which I did consider for a while. I was thinking about what would be easy, simple, less time consuming. But when it came down to it, I just didn't like the constraints of a bread machine. The loaf pans are so small, sometimes square, and the whole paddle thing just leaves me cold. I had a bread machine when I lived in Germany. I used it and hated it. It dumbed me down and I never understood the whole process of bread baking. This made it impossible to troubleshoot or use anything other than the basic settings.
Now, without a bread machine, I am so happy. I feel like I have found a new hobby [that hopefully won't make me TOO fat!] and it is very exciting to create such wonderful works of edible art. The breads that I have made so far, that have been successful, are a half-white, half-wheat loaf that is very nice, and would be great for sandwiches, cinnamon toast, and just about anything else. The other loaf I have made that needs a bit of work is the artisan bread. I have managed to get the right size, rise, and color...but need to work on the scoring and taste.
Next I will try making a huge starter in the fridge and flavor it with some sourdough starter I already have. Another really interesting thing I am doing, is using the bread mixes I am getting delivered. Hodgson Mills makes some great mixes, but I don't use them as is. I use them as additives to my breads for more flavor and the dough conditioning properties. I could buy dough conditioner, but this is much more fun to experiment!
I also am working with gluten, and this addition is particularly helpful up here in the mountains. I am at almost 8000 feet, so the high altitude is also a challenge. But I am figuring it out as I go.
Thats it for now. Will post my recipes soon.