The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

I have a problem. Admitting that you have a problem is the first step to recovery, right?


So here I am, 7 weeks after giving birth to a wonderful baby boy...and I have 12 loaves of bread in various stages of becoming tasty, crusty goodness.


I am not a professional. I do not have one of those nice ovens that will fit all this bread. I have no couche for the insanely wet rosemary potato bread other than the piece of thin natural linen that I picked up at the fabric store for half off. I have to bake loaves 3 at a time, part of the time on a half sheet pan, so that they all get done at the right times.


The smell wafting through my house, though...heaven. Really. The smell of bread baking makes up for the hours of hard work I've put in over the last 24 hours.


Really, the hardest part was making the dough last night. My husband works second shift, meaning he's gone from about 2:30 until about midnight, so during the time I was mixing up doughs I had both kids to take care of, some laundry to do, dishes to keep up with, and dinner to make for Rinoa and I. Not only did I get everything done, but I figured I'd have time to do not only the baked potato and rosemary potato breads that I planned to take to Christmas as gifts, but also a loaf or two of real gingerbread to have with lightly sweetened whipped cream.


I think I've renewed my confidence in my ability to successfully multitask. I quit baking while I was pregnant because I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to spend enough time with my daughter after having the new baby and that she'd be forever scarred by my inability to play with her constantly. I can't believe I thought that now, but pregnancy does strange things to you. I now know that I can do my baking, which is something I do for myself as much as to provide my family with the best food possible, and still not neglect my family.


I have to admit that this crazy baking spree was most likely not the best way to reacquiant myself with my rational mind.


I'll share pictures when I'm done. Just thought I'd share my brain today. :)

cookingwithdenay's picture
cookingwithdenay

Three years ago I moved to the Cary, North Carolina and quickly became aquatinted with my new rural surroundings. My neighbor suggested I visit the Raleigh Farmer's Market conveniently located on I-40 and Lake Wheeler Road, exit 297; and it turned out to be am unforgettable experience. I was soon taken back by this 75 acre facility providing up to 225,000 square feet of covered, climate controlled, year round retail and wholesale space. Sold were seasonal vegetables and fruits by the pound or by the bushel. There were homemade baked goods, jellies, jams, honey, and the North Carolina Seafood Restaurant serving up deep-fried Calabash-style seafood, with mounds of home fries and hush puppies.


On that beautiful Saturday morning the baked goods caught my eye. I had not seen snicker doodle cookies or buttermilk pies in years; the array of baked goods was awesome. Let there be no misunderstanding, these are serious bakers and they take as much pride in their products as the North Carolina farmers.


First time visitors will be amazed at the amount of food and the number of customers that rolled through the market and after talking to a number of the vendors there is not doubt that North Carolina is a special state; not because it grows more sweet potatoes than any other state in the nation, but because it actually encourages home food processing. Food entrepreneurs can try their luck at creating unique specialties like pickled okra and homemade snicker doodles; taking their culinary creations from kitchen to market.


Years ago when the United States was predominately rural there were many home-based bakers, farmer's wives who sold their jams, and jellies for pin money, along with homemade breads, pastries, cakes, pies and cookies. It is this opportunity that is fueling the local economy by providing local bakers the chance to share their baked goods and earn extra income. Who knows when that culinary hobby will turn into a full time venture?


North Carolina is one of twelve states that allow home-based food processors the opportunity to sell their goods directly to the public. In fact the idea of selling homemade baked good has become so popular there is now a gated area for home-based bakers at the Raleigh Farmer's Market; and featured are homemade carrot cakes, pound cakes, pies, a wide assortment of cookies, and breads; there is literally something for every sweet tooth at the market.


So, the next time someone says, "You really should think about selling that pie," you might want to mosey on down the Raleigh Farmer's Market and see if your sweet treat can stand the heat.


 

Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

Baked Potato Bread Photo


There'll be a better write-up on my blog,
mentalexperimental.org, but I wanted to thank Floyd for a good starter recipe. I'm still working on modifying this one. I think that I have the general consistency of the bread down that I want, but I want a bit more tang. I think that there may have to be a sourdough component to really get it where I want it to be. But that's a completely new bread.


This is Floyd's recipe with a few modifications. The first is adding a bit more sour cream. The second was adding cheddar cheese instead of chives. The third is the addition of half & half in the dough and the mashed potatoes.


I think that getting a stand mixer will help me with this type of bread the most. I mixed for 8 or so minutes on speed 2 and then folded twice during the bulk fermentation, giving it an hour at the end to come to full bulk. The crumb is light, fluffy, and very tender.


I'm writing the recipe on the blog now. I wanted to share the photo because I'm so proud of how this one turned out. :)

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