Until about the seventh grade I had no idea there was any other kind of bread apart from the Wonder Bread I begged my mom to buy at the market. Remember the white, plastic wrapper with yellow, red and blue balloons on the packaging, promising to build your body 12 ways? (Of course I am showing my age here) I also learned around the same time, thanks to my first Home Economics class, that the blue plastic-wrapped tube with the little dough character isn't required for making cookies, cake doesn't have to come from the cardboard box with the iconic red spoon, and Twinkies aren't a part of the Basic 4 food group. Again, showing my age here, but before my plate, pyramids, and food circles, was The Basic 4 food groups, and before that, the USDA food guide was called the Basic 7. I think it was during the reduction from 7 to 4 food groups that the Twinkies were sadly omitted. I would soon taste my very first home made bread, and from that moment on I ended my childish crush on the grocery store bread aisle and formed a serious love affair with baking my own bread.
A few years ago, my daughter gave me Paul Hollywood's book, 100 Great Breads. Paul Hollywood is my British-baking, bread hero. Simply put, he is bread brilliance. I loved the beautiful pictures of the various loaves and the idea of exploring new recipes, but I was scared to try them. Until now! Although I have made leaps and bounds healing this past year, at my last appointment my doctor said I may never get back to where I was before but to always try and always hope. So, here is my idea, since I need to work on my cognitive abilities, and my dexterity anyway....what is a better way than to bake my way through 100 Great Breads. Reading, comprehension and retention, measuring, kneading, it kind of covers it all! I figure, if I make a couple of recipes a week, ( I may have to give some away.) I will wrap up the book in about a year.
My first loaf was fantastic! Like the best bread I have ever made, fantastic! It was the softest bread ever, kept soft for a few days and made great French toast. I had my doubts as I kneaded it together, it just didn't feel right, but in the end it was delicious. The name of this bread was Crusty Cob, and somehow I expected something a bit more rustic, but it was delicate, tender and versatile.
My second loaf this week was very similar to the first only in the form of a loaf instead of a round. It was simply called White bread, made with olive oil instead of butter and a little sturdier than the Crusty Cob. It would be very nice as a sandwich or toasted for breakfast.
I seriously doubt they will all turn out this good, it looks like Mr. Hollywood starts out with the easiest recipes first. Success or fail.... ( I'm no longer afraid of the word fail) success or fail I thought it would be fun to post the journey through the cookbook around mid-week. I may also use a mid-week post to add silly things like what the chickens are up to, how the garden is, or whatever is happening at my tiny farmhouse.
Until next time,