So we all know with this new crazy situation we have going on across the world, more people are baking bread at home. Finding yeast in a store is akin to striking oil or finding a gold mine these days. Even I, who always have yeast and have been baking all kinds of things for years, have watched the various videos and read blogs on how to make your own yeast, though it hasn’t reached that point yet.
But I have found myself making more bread. Prior to things getting crazy, I stocked up on a couple of extra supplies. I bought an extra bag of flour, an extra bag of sugar, and some general baking supplies such as nuts, various types of chocolate chips, some garbanzo flour, baking powder, and baking soda. It turns out I already had 2 unopened boxes of baking soda, so I have plenty of that if I run out of Barkeeper’s Friend for cleaning! I had also picked up an extra loaf of sliced bread and put it in the freezer, just in case we needed it.
Last week, I finally made the Parker House Rolls recipe from my Eat Like a Gilmore cookbook, with some minor modifications to the recipe. I used a microwave to heat my milk and egg mixture, added the sugar with the yeast, cut the butter into my flour, and let my stand mixer do the kneading for me. They came out delicious, and I may use that recipe the next time I want to make buns!
Oh yes, prior to that, I made our own bratwurst and hamburger buns. I almost forgot about them. as that was way back in week 1. Most days, it feels like this has been going on forever, and then I look at the timeline and realize we are really only in week 3 of our total lockdown. Anyway, my buns were not very uniform in size, but they were delicious.
I happened upon a post on facebook about a guy who mills his own flour. I reached ou,t and it turns out he does rye flour, something I’d been thinking I wanted but had not been able to find through any of the online flour companies. We did a very smooth no contact pick up and payment, and I left the flour in food jail on my inside back porch for a couple of days. I’m super excited it is now out of jail and safely in my baking supply cabinet.
I made my first attempt at a loaf of rye bread. I looked at 4-5 recipes and none seemed to be exactly what I wanted. Some used a combination of wheat, rye and all purpose flour. Some used more sugar than I felt I was interested in using. I even found some that had cocoa powder in them. In the end, I kind of used them as a guide to proportions, but just made up my own version. I would typically eggwash or brush the top with butter. However, given our limited supply of these items, I decided to follow something I read in my Art of French Cooking book, and I brushed the top with cold water. I also heated a brick on my stove top and dropped it in a pan of cold water placed in the bottom of the oven at the same time I put the bread into bake. Halfway through the cooking, I again brushed the top with cold water. Ya’ll it was amazing! I could eat that all day!
The above list does not include the muffins made sometime during the week, as that is pretty normal for me. I’m excited that we now have a loaf of rye bread for the week. I’m running out of bread flour, so that is going to have an impact on future bread experiments, but I’m pretty stoked about the new skills I am learning!