There is something to be said about self-sufficiency.
I have always been proud of myself when I could do something all on my own. When I was young, I was excited when I could use the toaster by myself. As I grew up, my mother permitted me to use the stove to make pancakes for breakfast for the first time. I was so excited! Unfortunately, we had a gas stove, and I hadn’t quiet mastered how to turn the dial fast enough to get a flame. I allowed the gas to flow for a few minutes before my mother realized, maybe I wasn’t ready for the stove just yet. Now, I have my very own kitchen with an electric stove.
After learning it was possible to make your own breads, I thought that this was a way that I could become more self-sufficient. I started baking, trying different recipes from white sandwich breads to whole wheat breads to vegan recipes and recipes filled with milk and eggs. But I always ended up with a solid brick of bread that was dense and not very tasty. No matter what I tried, I thought warm, light, homemade bread would always be out of my reach. Reluctantly, I gave up baking breads about two years ago.
During a random conversation with a do-it-yourself co-worker, she told me about her own bread making adventures filled with solid, brick breads and warm, airy loaves. She told me she gave up purchasing loaves of bread about a year ago, and she learned how to incorporate bread making into her weekly routine. After listening to her successes & some failures, I decided to give up purchasing bread as well — forcing me to either learn to make my own breads or suffer without that beautiful, toasted, carbohydrate.
A few months later, I am able to successfully make whole wheat sandwich bread and crispy French bread. I haven’t quiet learned how to incorporate bread making into my weekly routine, so there have been weeks where I’ve gone for the bread to make a grilled Daiya sandwich and there was no bread to be found. Admittedly, after living on my own for three years, I haven’t quiet learned how to incorporate laundry into my weekly routine either.
With my recent bread making success, I wanted to share the recipe I find to work the best for a basic French bread that you would likely serve with dinner, dip in herb-infused olive oil, or to make garlic bread. I found this recipe on Pinterest (thank goodness for Pinterest), and I’ve been in love with it ever since.
The recipe comes from Steamy Kitchen, a beautifully designed blog written by Jaden, a food columnist, recipe developer, and food photographer. Her French bread recipe is truly simple and really does make the perfect French bread. When I first pulled it out of the oven, it looked like bread I would have purchased at the store.
Follow the recipe exactly & it works wonders! The only changes I made were that I brushed the top of the bread with Earth Balance butter and did not throw water into the bottom of the oven. My oven is old and located next to a fire detector, & I did not want to set that off.
I have also recently begun dabbling in creating my own bread creations, such as a whole wheat cinnamon raisin swirl bread. The bread, although it tastes wonderful, still needs a little work to be the perfect mixture of sweet, spicy, and good for you.
What are you currently working on?