Whatever Wednesday: Adventures in Baking
I hope you are having a great week and are getting ready to enjoy some warmer weather. We have actually hit the low 60s here. It is not expected to last, but I'll happily take what I can get!
We have surpassed the one year mark dealing with CoVid19 lockdowns and restrictions. In the last 12 months, we have found numerous ways to keep ourselves entertained and developed new skills to make things we were not always able to easily find on shelves, like bread.
This past year I have taught myself to make English muffins, croissants, and artisan bread. While some recipes have not turned out perfect, things have at least always been edible. My latest adventures in bread baking produced mutant loaves of French bread that make surprisingly good French toast.
I found a wonderful and easy French bread recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe (<--- click for recipe) not long ago and made some very tasty bread. In my quest for perfection, I decided to try it again and try to do even better. I had been using a flour that was not "bread" flour but an all purpose flour. I found directions on Savory Simple (<-- click for directions) for turning the all purpose flour into bread flour by adding gluten to it. The results were interesting.
Not only did I end up with monster sized loaves compared to my first attempt at the recipe, but it had a much flakier crust to it with a nice soft chewy center. If I do this again, I think I will divide the recipe into four loaves instead of just two. I might get normal sized loaves that way.
No matter what the size, it is the taste that is most important and these tasted great. There was a noticeable difference in the taste from the first attempt to the second with the added gluten. I would not classify one as better tasting than the other, just different. They were both tasty.
This last year has been really weird and at times horrible, to say the least. So many terrible things have happened, and yet, here in our own little bubble, our family has also had so many blessing this past year.
Maybe I'm a Pollyanna in that I always try to find the good in every situation no matter what it is, but I am thankful for our blessings. For one, I never would have even tried making English muffins at home if I had been able to get them from the store when I wanted them. Now, I actually prefer making all our bread to buying it. Except for the occasional specialty breads we get from a baker in our neighborhood. She makes some great Turkish breads that I do not think I could ever match.
We have been forced to slow down and simplify many things in our life. We have found simple pleasures can actually mean a lot. I am always looking for new things to try and it is incredible how many people have started sharing ideas and recipes with me. I do not think I will ever run out of new things to try.
Another thing that has kept me sane is working on the Into the West Saga Serial. While the writing has been agonizingly slow going for some unknown reason, I have been working fast and furious on promotions, networking, designs, our audio studio for the future audiobook recordings, and so much more.
Part five, Into the West: Last Showdown is progressing and I hope to have another sneak peek for you maybe as soon as this Friday, we will see. I have thought about setting up a virtual signing for this book when it comes out. When someone buys a copy and sends me a photo of them with the book (paperback or eBook), I would send them a postcard from the serial, personalized for them and signed. I never would have had time to do all of this under normal circumstances.
How are you surviving the current state of the world? Has your life changed drastically this past year, is it mostly as it was before CoVid19 took over the world, or is it somewhere in between? We always love hearing from you!
I hope you have a great week, posse!
Fix Bread Mistakes with Gemma's Bigger Bolder Baking
P.S. Timing my proofing is my biggest failing making bread. I'm working on it!