Saturday, March 1, 2014

bread rules

Last Sunday I got it into my head to start baking bread regularly. Meanwhile, someone dropped off their old books at the library, and I saw a cookbook called Ladle, Leaf and Loaf. All soup, salad and bread recipes, and who could resist that? Since I am really trying to not accumulate anything, I will take from this book just what's useful to me, and pass it on.

The soups are the kind of thing you'd have seen at a health-food restaurant in the 1970s. They seem interesting, but I'm not sure they'd fly here. Some of the breads did catch my eye, though. The other day I made a pumpkin bread.

With apple cider in place of the water, a bit of maple syrup and one third cup of canned pumpkin puree, it's slightly sweet and very nice, and I want to make it again. 

The recipe makes one loaf, calling for a packet of yeast. But I like to play the as-little-yeast-as-possible game, so I put in a scant teaspoon and used cold cider from the fridge, rather than heating it. When I mixed the yeast with the liquid it just didn't want to dissolve, so I ended up making a sponge of sorts and left it to sit on the shelf till I saw signs of life. After it was mixed and kneaded, it still took eight hours to rise! But that was what I was looking for - a very slow rising time. There is only one rise required with the bread, but when it was ready I wasn't, so I punched it down and put it in the fridge till next day when I had time. It worked out fine!

Because of the (mostly unknown to me) relationship between yeast and salt amounts, I put less salt in because less yeast was in it - not wanting the salt to inhibit anything. But it needs a little more because of the sweetness of it, so next time I will increase it. This is the way I like to make bread; altering the recipes according to the newer techniques I've read (and re-read) about. This is the way to learn, and I prefer it, even if I fail at times.  It called for some seeds but I was out, so I threw in some toasted wheat germ for crunch. I wonder how it would be with cinnamon chips. I toasted some this morning and had it with buttery spread and elderberry jam (not my own). 

*Margaret, my apron buddy, won the hand warmer giveaway. I thank everyone for their interest! 


  1. I love homemade bread. Elderberry jam sounds good too!

    1. Oh, there's nothing like it, and I'm determined to continue! The jam was tart, which I really liked.

  2. That bread looks delicious. I like to find my own way through trial and error, too--it's fun and memorable, plus I tend not to forget the lessons that I've learned this way.

  3. Thank you for the chance to win such a lovely gift, they will be well used at the weekly markets in a huge open car park and living on top of a mountain it can get quite chilly and windy.......Toasty warm ,soft snuggly , hand warmers, just perfect.
    Your bread looks delicious, if it is a tad sweet, you could add some sultanas with the seeds and use it like a fruit loaf, buttered, with tea or coffee, yuuuum

  4. I love homemade bread, there is nothing like it, is there? This is a beautiful loaf you've made :) perfect for these last cold nights before spring!