Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Our weekly bread
Since last January, we've moved away from eating anything packaged, overly processed, made with white sugar, white flour, trans-fats, additives, etc. Basically we've gone to pretty much a whole foods diet. So far, it has meant the loss of some unwanted extra weight (and more to come), 100 points on my cholesterol reading (I can't remember how much Michael's dropped but it too was significant), better (more consistent) energy, less trash (far fewer food packages) and less consumer guilt.
It has also meant a serious restructuring of the pantry, much more time spent together in the kitchen cooking, more advanced planning on meals and a much better understanding of what we put in our bodies for fuel and where it comes from.
We try to get about 90% of our fuel from plant-based substances, leaves, fruits, grains and allow ourselves one serving per day of organic, wild or humanely raised animal-based food...butter on your toast, milk in your coffee, a piece of meat (swim, fly or amble), cheese, egg, or what have you.
I've always enjoyed baking bread, and now, with the way we eat, I bake all of our bread. At this point that means two loaves of sourdough whole wheat bread a week. And possibly a baked goodie somewhere in there a few times a month. The above picture is fresh from the oven and ready for slicing up for sandwiches or toast for the week. I have many wonderful bread recipes, but my standby for the sourdough weekly bread is Everyday Sourdough Bread from Richard Packham. I use the measures at the end of the recipe for individual loaves, make enough dough for 3 by his calculations, and make two large loaves that fit in the big loaf pans I inherited from my mother. Very nice!
I don't use the powdered milk. When I have fresh milk, I scald it and cool it to room temperature and use that instead of the water and the powdered milk. Just use the same amount of scalded milk as he calls for water. But, if I don't have milk, I just skip it. The bread is not quite as tender but still comes out quite nicely.
Since I always keep a sourdough starter going in my fridge, I just take it out the night before, refresh it with equal parts flour and water and let it sit over night to bubble away. Then I start from there with his recipe. It is a staple around here!
I also make all of our pizza dough from scratch. I find that with my starter, this dough usually does rise to double in size and I cut it into two balls. This works great to freeze and take out in the morning if you feel like a fresh homemade pizza that night.