Today was bread-baking day again. I’ve been successful for several weeks now avoiding purchasing bread at the grocery store. I’m finding that there is great satisfaction in making my own bread. I also have full control over the contents. No preservatives…and I proved that with last week’s loaf! I had one piece left…and it was getting a little moldy. I was sad that I wasn’t able to savor every bit of my baked good and was reminded of the fresh, perishable nature of what I’ve been making.
The recipe made was English muffin bread, a recipe I’ve had great success with from King Arthur Flour. (See my recipe pages for a link.) I found that the loaf size that comes from the King Arthur recipe made too small a loaf for my liking. I wanted to use the bread for toasting and for my lunches at work. The small loaf is very successful, just too small. I tripled the recipe through my Living Cookbook software and it, too, has been very successful.
I should provide some advice on adjusting recipes for baked goods. Given that baking is a lot about chemistry, adjusting the volume of a recipe can result in an undesired product. I would recommend any adjustments to volume be done at a time when you have the patience and funds to make a few bad versions. You may need to adjust the quantity of flour, yeast, liquids, acidity, etc. I don’t pretend to be an expert at the chemistry of baking.
As you can see, I took some pictures today so that you can see my final product. Not the prettiest of loaves, we have cut them up and toasted a piece. As always, the King Arthur recipe came through. We’ll have toast for the week along with sandwich sized slices for my lunches. Several years ago, I learned of English muffin bread from a local commercial bakery called Natural Ovens. They used to make the most wonderful, large-slice loaves of English muffin bread.
The last thing that I want to talk about today are the pans used. My partner, Dale, brought several pans home from his parent’s house a few months ago. I always wonder what’s going to come home with him when he goes up to the house to prepare it for sale with his siblings. Sometimes there are exciting things that come home, sometimes there are very sentimental things that come home, and sometimes I have to bit my tongue and ignore what came across the threshold.
When the pans came in, I feared that they might be more sentimental and less functional. I was intrigued. They looked worn…a bit dirty. I asked Dale about the origins and the history. They were, in fact, used by his mother to bake bread for the family. The dirt? Not a chance. The dark (patina we’ll call it) came from years of baking. The dark coloring on the outside really has done a good job creating a nice brown crust. I’ll continue to use these pans well into the future. In addition to coming out with great bread, we’re going to continue on with Dale’s family history. I’ll think of Edith every time we make bread.