Skip to content

I need some dough

December 21, 2022

This past summer I bought a bread machine and started baking. It was fun at first because it was all new, but the results were underwhelming and it soon stopped being fun. I didn’t like how the kneading paddle tore out a huge chunk of the bottom of the loaf when removing it from the pan, and I didn’t like the odd shape of the loaf.

The birds, ducks and squirrels were very happy with my bread machine adventures.

I bought some bread pans and started using the bread machine to make the oven-ready dough that I finished in the oven and that was ok for a while until I realized I wasn’t really getting the full baking experience and I really wasn’t baking anything. It was like baking by numbers. I went shopping again and bought a dough whisk and a silicone pastry mat for kneading and I started baking bread from scratch.

Just me and the recipe. All alone. The two of us together. Unsupervised. The kitchen lights dimmed and soft music filling the night air.

Now I was having some fun! I found it odd that it seemed like every recipe I read, the author complained about kneading dough and would suggest using a stand mixer instead, but I liked to knead. I liked reading about how to knead and I liked watching videos of people demonstrating how to knead. Kneading and shaping is kind of like an art and there’s a certain amount of skill required. Anyway, after a bunch of baking failures with just me and the recipe, (the birds, ducks and squirrels learned to line up at my door for handouts) I learned that the best loaves come from weighing your ingredients instead of measuring them, and that high-protein bread flour makes better loaves than regular bread flour or all-purpose flour. I could have avoided all the failures by reading reliable recipes from recipe books instead of random websites, but live and learn. And it’s never a bad thing to make friends with the birds, ducks and squirrels.

I got a kitchen scale and high-protein bread flour and my results improved.

I still think cooking food is a lot more fun, and less complicated, than baking bread, but baking has a place. And maybe you’ll find this interesting, but I’ve also adapted it, baking bread, into a winter survival kit. Here in Minnesota, we’re advised to carry a winter survival kit in case we get stuck in the snow, so I carry a largeish stainless steel mixing bowl with a measured amount of flour, yeast, and salt in a baggie, a can of Sterno and a box of matches, a spoon, and a small, sealed container of water. I have those items inside the stainless steel bowl and it’s all wrapped securely with plastic wrap, and I keep this in the trunk just in case. Now, in the unfortunate event I get stuck out in the middle of nowhere, I can heat the water over the Sterno on the passenger seat and add it to the dry ingredients in the bowl and use the plastic wrap to cover the bowl while it rises from the residual heat of the Sterno. When it’s ready I can bake the loaf on top of the hot engine which I’ll preheat by starting the motor about 20 minutes before the dough has finished rising. When I’m found and rescued, I plan to be well fed. Along with any birds, ducks and squirrels in the vicinity.

I made that all up. I don’t have a winter emergency bread-making kit in the trunk of my car.

I’ve only made basic breads and rolls to this point but I’m getting ready to move on to something fancy, or more complicated. And bagels, I want to try and make those at some point.

Here’s a picture from this morning of a dough set out to rise. This is from a really easy no-knead recipe that can be ready to bake in four hours, or in four days if you want to let it sit in the refrigerator and ferment.

450 grams of flour becoming intimate with some water, salt & yeast and getting ready to rise.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. December 21, 2022 12:49 pm

    I LOVE baking bread. I do not weigh my flour, though. And I use Rapid-Rise instant yeast–the quick kind that you don’t have to proof. I don’t know if you kneaded that tip or not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 23, 2022 8:21 am

      I knead every tip I can get (and I’ll say ‘thank you’ for every tip because that’s the yeast I could do) If you have a favorite recipe you want to share I’ll give it a try. I bought a couple of recipe books that had suddenly gone on sale at Amazon but I haven’t used them yet.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. drkottaway permalink
    December 21, 2022 1:22 pm

    ooooo but I want you to try making the bread that way! Would it work?

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 23, 2022 8:35 am

      That’s a good question! I don’t know why it wouldn’t? I just asked Google how hot an engine gets and was told 195 to 220 F so it would just cook slow. Now I just found a product called the RoadPro 12-Volt Portable Stove and that plugs into the car’s lighter socket and that might also work.

      Liked by 1 person

      • drkottaway permalink
        December 23, 2022 9:33 am

        Your emergency supply container may need a trailer.


  3. December 21, 2022 4:07 pm

    😊 Baking is hard! Home cooked meal is best. So a thumbs up to you!

    Liked by 1 person

If you leave me a comment I'll give you a cookie!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: