Monday, February 8, 2010

Bread Baking Ups & Downs

That looks like it's just about a perfect loaf of bread, huh? Don't be deceived. That particular loaf did turn out well, and so did the other three that I did that same day, but that's not always the way it happens.

If I remember right, it was about three years ago that I started on my bread baking journey. It began with talking to others and reading about baking bread. I got some buckets of wheat berries, a grain mill to grind the berries into flour, a nice, strong Bosch mixer for kneading the dough, and special loaf pans. It was fun to see the wheat berries change into flour and to learn that freshly ground flour is ever so slightly oily. Store bought flour is definitely different from freshly ground flour.

Once in a while a loaf would turn out good. Many loaves were short and heavy and I didn't know why. Too little kneading, perhaps? I still don't claim to know the answer to that, at least not for sure. I got discouraged. The buckets of berries and the grain mill sat untouched for several months. The Bosch mixer only got used to mix up frosting for birthday cakes. It was later retired to Sarah's hope chest and I reclaimed the KitchenAid mixer I'd given her.

Time passed. I decided to give it a try, again a couple of months ago. It was part of my goal to feed my family more healthy foods with ingredients that I can pronounce. The Bosch mixer was brought back to the kitchen and freshly ground flour was made as I again determined to make a nice loaf of bread.

I tried and tried, sometimes turning out a reasonably decent loaf. I say "sometimes" because right now there are three somewhat short and heavy loaves in our freezer. But, some of the bounty from Saturday is there, too, like pictured above. I was able to put two nice loaves in the freezer, too.

Of all the things I've ever tried to cook, bread has been the hardest for me to consistently turn out well. For now, I'm not giving up. It would be nice to have a really good bread maker standing in my kitchen to point out where I'm making mistakes. But, since I don't have that, I'll have to keep trying and hopefully learn from my mistakes.

Jesus is the Bread of Life. And, nothing is impossible with Him, so beautiful loaves of bread just might be in my future!

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