In the 13 years we’ve been in the U.S. my family and I have very well adapted to the American tastes and lifestyle. It can be that we have French toast or Pancakes with eggs, bacon and maple syrup in the morning, or for dinner we fix, real quick, a couple of hamburgers.
There is one food I was not able to adapt to, bread.
13 years ago no store in our Chicago suburb would carry artisan or European style bread, the only bread available was what we call the square rubbery bread wrapped in plastic. My long quest for homemade bread had its start with the purchase of a bread machine. I believed this would be an easy fix for, not our but now my problem. After a couple of trials I had to realize that, even though easy to operate, it would not create the desired results; the bread was still square and sort of soft, rubbery, without a real crust and the big holes in the crumb were missing. Also after a while the dough paddle in the bucket broke and as I bought a cheap machine for my trial phase I couldn’t get a replacement paddle or bucket.
After I broke the second machine, and this was an expensive one, I decided that this was not the solution to go forward; I decide that I wanted to start baking real bread. Little did I know at that time in what I got myself into.
The easiest part was buying a mixer, I thought. Luckily I didn’t know that choosing a mixer for bread kneading is a highly complex task and can be very difficult. Unencumbered with that knowledge I went to the store. There I liked the blue of a KitchenAid mixer and the models name was Artisan so I thought a perfect match. I guess I was just lucky and even though it’s a little beaten up after all this years; it is still my mixer as of today.
My first couple of trials created the usual and to be expected bricks and big question marks in my face, I didn’t expect this to be so difficult. Also consulting all available bread books would not really enlighten me, no rather confuse me even more. After many more trials I learned that bread baking is a precise science and not like cooking, where you can add a little bit more or little bit less depending on the mood of the day. I also had to learn that notes’ taking was mandatory because when bread came out of the oven, by the time it cooled down and was on the dinner table and liked by the family, I normally had forgotten how exactly it had been prepared and the changes I made to make it taste that way or so good.
So after a lot of YouTube-ing, bread blog-ing (my favorite: The Fresh Loaf), 1 week bread baking apprenticeship in beautiful Montana in Mark’s The Back Home Bakery and of course taking good notes I have a couple of recipes I want to share on my family blog:
You find them under Thomas’ Bread Secrets.
Thanks have fun and leave a comment.