I made bread from scratch

You guise. I’m a regular Susie Homemaker.

I made bread.

And sure, maybe I searched the internet for bread recipes that included the words “easy” and “quick” and “minimal ingredients” but whatever, this is isn’t an ingredients and effort contest. It’s a bread contest. And I’m the winner. On account of how no one else knew we were playing. Suckaaaaaaa.

I’ve been thinking about making bread for quite some time now for a couple of reasons.

  • My mom makes really good bread. But here’s the thing, she makes all day bread. Letting things rise for hours and multi-cook processes and she worked with my dad’s taste buds for basically forever to try to find the right rye read recipe. The bread is good but the process is daunting.
  • I like the earth. Making my own food puts less stress on the environment. We’re working on living more sustainably and making as much of my own food as possible is one part of that. And once I can find a non-ziplock way to store the bread, I’ll be cutting down on plastic waste too.
  • I like my body. By now we all know that one of the best things we can do is eat the food that lives in the circumference of the grocery store. Produce, meat, seafood, etc. Fresh foods that have one ingredient. How likely is it that David and I will one day eat only those foods? Super unlikely. But I like to make an effort to eat food that’s as close to natural as it can get whenever can. Or rather, whenever we can intersperse it with the frozen yogurt and tater tots.

Mmm… tots…

So anyway, finally feeling inspired enough to make some bread, I sought out a recipe that looked feasible and only minimally frightening. Somewhere inside the depths of Pinterest I stumbled upon The Very Best Homemade Whole Wheat Bread recipe slash blog post on Five Heart Home. I read the blog post at least once a day for several days (no, I’m not kidding) to psyche myself up until earlier this week I finally jumped in…

TARDIS salt shaker!
TARDIS salt shaker!

The recipe makes enough for two loaves of bread but I decided to half it. I have this knack for finding recipes online that look and sound amazing and somehow creating disgusting mountains of food that require us to order pizza. I try really hard but that’s not always good enough. That in mind, I didn’t think making two loaves was a good choice. I didn’t want to end up with two horrible loaves of bread. One would be enough.

I had my fancy pants stand mixer and started mixing away. I thought about writing down the halved measurements of the ingredients ahead of time but decided that was clearly unnecessary. So I poured a couple dry ingredients into the bowl, strumming right along, conserving ingredients and such. When suddenly I thought “Hey, this looks really watery. Like… really watery.” It turns out, I could’ve used that additional step of writing things down. I forgot to half the water. Oops.

watery dough

Two loaves it is!

It looked much more like dough after I updated the rest of the ingredients to two loaf making status.

better dough

Chewy thought so, too.

And so, I continued on with the recipe. There was some bowl covering for a while and some more mixing involved, then it was time to pop the dough lump into some pans and into the oven.

The blog post about the recipe mentions using parchment paper inside the pan because it works to keep it wrapped up nicely. When I tried to put the parchment paper in the pan, it ripped. And then I tried it again and it ripped again. So I said “eff this noise”, greased the pan and put the parchment paper away.

The recipe told me to “gently press” the dough into the corners of the pan. I didn’t catch the gently part until after I had spent several minutes trying to forcibly mush the bread into the corners. Frustratingly, it didn’t stay there. Why are you making me push this dough into the corners? Did you know it wouldn’t stay in the corners? Are you mocking me?!? Is this a test?!?

Once I realized I was being abusive to my dough lumps, I sent them to get cozy in the oven. The little snuggle bugs.

P1040130P1040131

After the bread was done I let the loaves cool for a little bit before cutting off an end piece and enjoying it with butter. I was pleasantly surprised. I actually really liked the bread. Go figure.

 

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I told my husband how amazing it was and forced him to eat a piece. I’m fairly certain he could not have cared less. He’s more of bread monster than I am but naked bread is useless to him so he just had a nibble and went on about his day. Rude. And since the bread wasn’t horrible, I took one loaf, wrapped it, and put that puppy in the freezer for later.

Also, yes, I now realize that I should’ve left the end of the bread on it and cut a slice from the middle so that I could mush the end back up against the bread later to keep it moist but WHATEVER, ROOKIE MISTAKE, GET OFF MY BACK.

Now that I’m a professional bread maker I’m going to need to do more research. If you look at the bread in her blog post it looks like store bought bread and is even shaped that way. Mine definitely doesn’t have that shape but moreover, doesn’t have that uniform look. The loaves are stretchy and holey and the innards are lumpier. How do I get that perfect looking bread? And look at those slices! Trying to slice this bread makes it bread into big pieces. What the heck am I missing here?

When we’re close to done with our current loaves I’m going to try to figure out what I did wrong with this bread and see if I can make it better next time. Any tips/hints/secret bread society knowledge would be appreciated.

kitchen messThis baking adventure left me feeling pretty accomplished. Who knows what I’ll try and whip up next!

This? This is a standard mid-baking adventure scene. And this is with a recipe with minimal ingredients. You don’t want to see my kitchen when I get fancy with a recipe. It gets ugly. It takes me a long time to clean up after I cook dinner or bake cookies.

And did you notice my cow print apron? It’s adorable, I know. I’m sure there are men around the world that imagine a woman cooking for them in a sexy apron with sexy clothes on. Meanwhile, on pancake Saturdays, David wakes up to me in sweatpants and a cow apron.

I’m straight pwning married life.

 

Healthy eating hack: eat some baby food

The thing about vegetables is that they’re stupid. They’re basically the worst.

GoGo Squeez (nom nom nom)
GoGo Squeez (nom nom nom)

Well okay, not all vegetables. Acceptable vegetables: potatoes, peppers, onions cucumbers, tomatoes, cauliflower (only when it’s pretending to be mashed potatoes) some lettuces. That’s all I got.

I’ve never been a huge fan of vegetables. Fruit always gets my vote. Fruit just tastes better. I’ve tried a million experiments with vegetables and I just can’t get excited about them if they’re not on my acceptable vegetables list.

Health and fitness bloggers always be like OMG THESE KALE CHIPS ARE SO GOOD.

You know what’s gross? Kale chips. You know what’s delicious? Actual chips (also, plantain chips are pretty ballin).

So the point here is that I’m a friggen adult and I know I’m supposed to eat my stupid vegetables. I can’t spend the rest of my life just eating peppers and potatoes. I mean, I totally could but I might get sick of them. I’m a creature of habit so the chances of me getting sick of peppers is unlikely but I don’t like to press my luck. Then my Chipotle burrito bowl would be down one ingredient and I can’t have that.

My solution? Eating like a toddler.

You know who shares my veggie hate? Toddlers. They get it. They know vegetables are stupid, too. So parents trick them into eating them. They give them soups with hidden vegetables, pasta made out of vegetables, and these gems…

Vegetable and fruit sauce. I don’t know if that’s what these are actually called. It always sounds weird to say “vegetable sauce” and saying “vegetable and fruit sauce” basically takes forever.

I remember talking to my friend Page about this healthy eating tip a while ago. I don’t remember if she brought it up or I did or where the idea came from (somewhere on the internet to be sure) but we both agreed it sounded like something worth trying. A woman always on the go and in need of an easy/tasty way to get more vegetables in her life?

Veggie and fruit sauce!

just a sleepy morning trying to meet USDA guidelines
just a sleepy morning trying to meet USDA guidelines

I love eating these things. I get extra veggies in my day. The veggies are mixed with fruit so I’m not just eating green bean sauce (ew) or whatever. They’re shelf stable so I can take them with me on long trips or when I’ll be out for a while (although I think they taste better refrigerated). There’s multiple flavors so I don’t get bored. They aren’t full of crazy additives. The pouches are fun colors.

Fine, the color of the pouches doesn’t really matter but who doesn’t want more color in their life?

When I first started eating them I tried to sneak ’em so no one would see. Now? I have no qualms. It’s not like the pouches are full of breast milk. That might be weird. But no, it’s just me eating a pouch full of fruits and veggies (and lemon juice) mooshed together. There’s no shame in my vegetable hack game.

Pro tip: the GoGo Squeez are the best. I’ve tried at least half a dozen brands; some are way too sweet and some are just super gross. Whether you’re buying these for yourself or for a picky toddler, I recommend GoGo Squeez all the way. Just be strong and try to ignore the unnecessarily misspelled brand name (it’s tough, I know).

So go on and eat some toddler food. Eat your vegetable pasta and grab yourself a box of these little sauce pouches. I would say you won’t regret it but I don’t know, you might. It might get weird for you. You might start to question your other life choices. You might start drinking formula. I just don’t know. I can’t predict the future.