Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I baked bread yesterday. That sounds like a nice leisurely way to spend my time, but I baked three batches of oatmeal bread (8 large loaves, 3 small loaves), two batches of English muffin bread (was supposed to be 2 large loaves, 6 small loaves, but I managed to knock one of the large loaves off the top of my freezer where it was at the end of the rise and it turned upside down all over my kitchen floor), and maple pecan bread (9 mini loaves).
The maple pecan was a new recipe for me (hence the mini loaves). The recipe is a keeper. It is a subtle flavor combination of whole wheat, maple syrup, and toasted pecans in a yeast bread. I got the recipe from the book Bread from sourdough to rye by Linda Collister and I do thank her heartily for it. And she was right--in the serving suggestions she mentioned ham and cheese. Yes! Thinly sliced ham and provolone cheese was soooo good.
Part of the fun is juggling the schedule so that I can run my oven efficiently and get the difference rising times down and the baking pans washed and reused in the best way. And then there are the days when the dough is slower or faster to rise, throwing everything off. Since I'm doing this with only standard kitchen utensils, I haven't a hope of duplicating many bakery products, but each loaf is weighed so there is some standardization.
And why do I need all this bread you may ask. I take it to my former workplace and sell it to raise money for our Relay for Life team, which goes to the American Cancer Society. The oatmeal bread has been a consistent best seller for me, but I try to include a variety during the course of the month. I try to include a new recipe once or twice a month just to make things more interesting for me.

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