Our Walmart has a 'special' time for people over 60. It is becoming a thing in the country and while I think it might be a good idea it was a wast of my time this morning. The Walmart hour is 6AM.( Collapse )
I used to bake two or three loaves of bread a week. Two or three depended on the recipe output and bread pans or a lump on the baking stone. I fell out of the habit when we were living in a space that boasted a toaster oven as the primary baking equipment. I've returned to baking some but not every week.
But I find it comforting to have a home baked loaf of bread sitting on the counter waiting for butter whenever I feel like adding some. I've got some wonderful sunflower seed semi-whole wheat rising now. It is my go to bread as I've made it so many times it never fails and always makes the best toast in the world.
And I discovered I had some long shelf life cream that needed to be whipped so I threw together a batch of brownies which are cooking while the bread rises.
I discovered a web site put together by a couple of University of Texas students that finds specific items you might be looking for and tells you how much is in stock in a list of stores. So I found some flour. Not what I normally get but it will do and it is on the shelf. Of Walgreens of all places. Also where my distilled water for my CPAP can be found. Here is the site. I'll be verifying their info but they are right about what is missing on the Walmart shelves I'm hopeful. This helps me target shop for specifics keeping me from wandering isles.
There was no bakery where we lived in Texas and I really wanted some good bread. So, thinking I was being smart, I bought a bread machine. The only good thing about a bread machine is it makes bread in the middle of the night and you can wake up to the smell of fresh bread for breakfast. Other than that the stuff is not really all that good.
When we separated, my wife kept the bread machine. I suspect she never used it. I was annoyed at first but determined to have good bread so I bought two books. One I still have but the other was entitled something like the Village Baker. It was all about Italian and French baking and started from the beginning. "This is wheat....".
Take six cups (properly measured, no dipping) of flour. Dump it in a pile on the counter. Make a dent in the middle and start adding water. Throw some salt on it and some yeast (although eventually I made the yeast also in a 10 day yield of home made sour dough starter) in and stir with your finger. Keep adding water as you stir until you are working the dough into a ball. Then knead.
It was absolutely the basic of all basics of baking. Pan Ordinaire. I loved it. I had a huge wooden bowl and used it frequently.
Finally I let myself graduate to my mom's old Kitchenaid mixer. It is now probably 60 or so years old and still going strong. I'm lazy now and only knead a bit towards the end but I still use the same two books I got 20 years ago and still love the bread:( Collapse )