05 August 2008

White Bread for Julie, and for you

Julie and I had a back and forth one day about making bread - she'd said that she was good at quick breads, but had never mastered yeast bread. I promised her a recipe, and rummaging around my mother's kitchen the other day, I found the cookbook that I was looking for: the Parsons Bread Book. It's a 1974 paperback written and designed by students from the Parsons School of Design, and it includes the first bread I ever mastered: a plain white bread, perfect for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.


I know more than I did then, and today I make the same basic bread with butter in lieu of shortening, and some whole wheat flour in place of some of the white (maybe 25%, using a light whole wheat like the King Arthur White Whole Wheat). This recipe also calls for a lot of yeast - I might cut the yeast back, but if you're a novice baker, try the recipe as is. Knead your bread on a floured countertop, and oil the bowl. And practice. The more often you make bread, the better it'll be.

Making bread is a powerful act. The seemingly inanimate yeast springs to life, the kneading is both therapeutic and contemplative, and the kitchen fills with good smells. Yes, you can go to the store and buy a loaf of bread, but making it yourself is oh so very satisfying.

16 comments:

Kyla said...

Man, I hate cooking and with it, things like bread making, but you make it sound quite lovely.

slouching mom said...

funny that i should see this post today, because we made bread this weekend!

Mayberry said...

Plus, if you make it yourself, you get the wonderful smell.

jen said...

how does one scald milk? is that like a quick burn? slow burn? does the milk get pissed?

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

When the kids were little I baked fresh bread every day--of course I cheated by using a bread maker.

Kyddryn said...

Mmm, I do enjoy baking bread - I baked on Saturday and yesterday, and have been passing out loaves (but no fishes) with much satisfaction.

I like King Arthur flour, too!

I recommend toasting a slice, buttering, slathering with honey and sprinkling with cinnamon. Gustatory Nirvana!

Thanks for sharing the love.

Shade and Sweetwater,
K

well read hostess said...

We are having a psychic connection! My kids JUST asked me if I could bake bread with them, and I was wondering where to find a recipe for bread they would actually eat! Voila! Thanks!

womaninawindow said...

Fall is afoot...I've been thinking about homemade bread lately, too. According to my kids mine is great but the Mennonite lady down the road bakes up heaven. Don't they know we're agnostics?

Magpie said...

HEY! If you need to know how and why to scald the milk, check here: http://www.baking911.com/howto/milk_scald.htm

crazymumma said...

bread.

do NOT get an art school grad talking about bread as a medium.

deep stuff I tell you. (really)

ophelia rising said...

Wow, thanks so much. I really intend to start baking bread from scratch, and you've just inspired me. I'm definitely going to try it.

I have great memories of my mom baking her bread, pounding it out, the sight of it rising in the bowl, and the smell - God! The smell! - coming from the oven. It would be nice to give the same to my own children.

MamaGeek said...

I agree. And the smell, ah the smell just warms the entire house.

noble pig said...

Okay I want a picture of the bread! Yeast is my friend too..cause of wine ya know.

flutter said...

and the SMELL

Defiantmuse said...

you know I have actually never made bread before. and I love to cook and bake. What's wrong with me? lol. I'm going to try this recipe and I'll let you know how it works out.

Mad said...

The Tasajara Bread Book made me a born-again bread maker.