Recipes always say something like "add water if too dry or more flour if too sticky" but never tell me how to check for those things. How do I know if the loaf has doubled in size? Many of the recipes I've seen have lots of steps, lots of time and require special equipment. Basically I just need someone to come to my house and show me exactly what to do and how to do it right (and pioneer women never had special baking stones or gluten flours!).
For Christmas my mother gave me an awesome gift. The Pantry Secrets DVD, bread recipe and jar of Soy Lecithin (the secret ingredient). I watched the DVD yesterday and made my first successful attempt at making a loaf of bread. It took 1 hour start to fresh bread coming out of the oven! I had some issues with my Kitchen-aid Mixer (the lady on the DVD had a Bosch Mixer, must save my pennies for one), but other than those few problems my loaf turned out beautifully.
I also tried turning a second loaf into gorditas (flatbread, tortillas, whatever...) since we need some for dinner and my 4-year old has been snitching my store bought tortillas and eating them when I wasn't looking! It is going to take some practice to roll them out very thin and round, but they taste amazing.
The ingredients are simple: Bread Flour, Sugar, Salt, Yeast, Soy Lecithin and Water. And cheap. I don't know the price of the Lecithin, but the price of the other ingredients makes this recipe around $.37 a loaf.
- $.36/lb. Flour and roughly 3 3/4 cups to a pound
- $.56/lb. Sugar and roughly 2 1/8 cups to a pound
- $.30/lb. Salt and roughly 24 Tablespoons to a pound
- $.25/ounce Yeast and roughly 3 1/3 Tablespoons to an ounce
These are average prices, not great deals. One of these days I'm going to make a calculator that makes figuring out the price of homemade stuff easier.
Anyway, the DVD showed tons of ways to use the basic bread dough. Rolls, Buns, Braids, Pizza, Gordita, Scones etc. So I think I may have to try something new every week. Spending an hour or so each week to make all my own bread products will save a ton!
Now, all I need to do is get an electric wheat grinder so I can start using all the wheat I have stored in the basement.