Blame it on the pink slime....
Hi to everyone here. I am newish to bread baking-well, ok, really, I am just plain new. I guess the banana breads and the stollen once yearly do not really count is bread baking experience , or at least, not much. Anyway, I have started on a plan of NOT purchasing any bread for my family and providing all by what I bake, as close to 100% organically as possible. And it all started because of pink slime. Yes, I know pink slime is related to ground beef, not bread but let me explain: I was trying to find ground beef without pink slime, which led me to information on organic beef, which led me to grass fed beef, which led me to organic, pasture raised meats of all types, which led me to looking into CSA for meats, which then led me to CSA's for produce. At which point, my sister was attempting to see if removing preservatives and processed foods from her diet would relieve some of her fibromyalgia symptoms which made me look for organic breads which caused a great sticker shock (as did all of the pasture raised meats and organic produce, but I sucked it up and went for it anyway) at which point I said, I bet I could make bread much cheaper! I mean, how hard can it be to make bread? I have gotten pretty darn good at the stollen at Christmas, even feeling confident enough to tweak the recipes more to our taste....Well, I found a great recipe for whole wheat sandwich bread ( I am now making 3-6 loaves a week, as my once skeptical family has taken to DEVOURING it much quicker than they ever ate the store bought bread. The Grandkids even eat the crust now!)and started recalling the sour dough bread my mom made many many moons ago that was so delish! So, how hard could making sourdough bread be? My mom did it, and she didn't even , nor could she ever make a stollen! So, on line I went to recall how to make a starter. I breezed through the tutorials and got starter going. Then I thought, ooohhhh wouldn't it be great if I could recreate the great hearty Bauernbrot I recalled from my years living in Germany as a child? Well, not so much luck with sourdough or Rye bread. I mean, they taste ok, but they look terrible and are awfully dense. Learned a lot of things looking over this site and the forums the last couple days, looking forward to actually making a sourdough that RISES (oh, yeah, it might help if I had made sure the starter was active and warm, huh? And read the directions completely- and not kneaded when it said to let it rest....)
So, if it were not for the pink slime in the news, most likely I would have went on my merry way buying store bought bread and non organic foods...but what a whole new way of thinking and eating it has opened up for me (and my family as a side effect!) Looking forward to learning new things and trying some of the wonderful recipes you have shared!