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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Flour + water + salt, etc. ...

Ok, you may remember that I have a semi-phobia for killing yeast, among other things, that has greatly hampered my desire to make bread. Then I found this recipe, and it is very good, both in the taste category and the alleviate-my-guilt-for-not-learning-to-make-bread-loaves category. The problem with the roll recipe is that it requires some things that may not be readily available in my food storage supplies, such as butter and eggs, so I decided to get serious and find out what kind of bread that I could make with the really basic ingredients that are staples in my food storage. Today was the day. I headed over to the Hillbilly Housewife website and tried the Beginner's Bread recipe.

One of the things that I heard that made me feel that I could gauge the water temperature so that it wouldn't be too hot, and hence destroy the oh-so-useful yeast, was that you should make the water about the same temperature that you would like to end up with when you are testing a baby's bottle on your wrist. I don't know how anyone else gauges it, but that tip has served me well so fact some of the rising today went a little quicker than the recipe indicated. Of course, I am not the most patient of people, so I made sure that my kitchen was somewhat warmer than it usually is to help the rising process along.

Everything went pretty well through the initial stages--just had to add a couple of teaspoons of water to the dough before letting it rise, and it didn't take too much coaxing to get it to fit in the loaf pan in a reasonable shape. Letting it rise in the pan was really quick, and I didn't let it go an hour before putting it in the oven because it was getting big enough to make me nervous. Once it was in the oven I was afraid that it would hit the upper coils, but all was well. The cooking was kind of quick too, but the top was golden brown, so I took it out. This was when I had the biggest difficulties, because despite the shortened duration of baking time, the loaf had evidently become quite attached to the pan--to the point that it was necessary to help it out around the edges, even though it had been greased really well. Because of this "help", part of the bottom of the loaf was left in the pan. Glass half empty: the bread slices were rather short and squat rather than regulation-size. Glass half full: it was immediately evident that the bread had indeed cooked all the way through, except for a very small strip on one piece that was questionable. Pan all the way empty: the loaf is now almost a memory, except for a couple of slices.

So there's a win in the bread category, really in more ways than one--the bread was edible, and the ingredients--water, yeast, oil, salt, sugar, and flour-- couldn't be more basic. The recipe now resides in my emergency notebook, and is one answer to the question, "Now I have all this basic food storage--what do I do with it?"

Well, upward and onward. Thanks to Hillbilly Housewife for providing the recipe! I'll let you know how it works out when I make bread with flour that I've ground from my wheat storage--yeah, yet to happen. And I've been eyeing some tortilla recipes.... :)


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