Our Daily Bread

Trying to be healthier around here. To that end, and since I have some extra time this week, trying a few things. But there is one truth in this household: that bread, particularly good bread, is always a good thing. It’s kind of intriguing to me that my kids are such bread conisseurs.

Sunday night, I made a vegetable soup, with carrots, celery, mushrooms, onions, leeks, rutabaga, cabbage and wild rice. And, just as an added, somewhat healthful bonus, I didn’t use salt. Instead, I used vegetable boullion and miso. It turned out well, though I think my digestive system was not entirely prepared for it, or wasn’t sure how to process it. But I have to say it tasted really good.

I paired it last night with two loaves of homemade french bread which turned out very well, was very easy to make (I finally used the breadmaking feature of my food processor), and didn’t take very long at all. While one loaf did start to unroll as it baked, the other stayed pretty much intact. But they tasted good, had a good density to them (not too dense or dry, and not too light and chewy), and the family loved them. I’ll be doing that again soon.

The other loaf was one that I’d started yesterday afternoon and couldn’t bake until around 11 this morning. It was a no-knead loaf, and I’ve been hearing a lot about them for a couple of years. So I finally gave it a shot. It’s a little weird: you mix flour, a very small amount of yeast, water and salt and come up with a very wet, shaggy dough. You let it sit for 12-18 hours, and then handle it very little in the process of forming it into a loose ball and baking it in a dutch oven.

That came up with a large round loaf with a nice crispy crust and a rustic style crumb that had just the right amount of flavor. The only problem was that I’d baked it a little too long and the bottom got slightly burned in places. But it was another hit, so I’m thinking I’ll start up another loaf, and see how it is when it’s baked just perfectly.

I’m starting something with the kids, in order to help teach them how to cook, where they can pick what they want to learn, we’ll make it together twice, and then on the third try, I’ll merely be an assistant as they make the item themselves. And I left it wide open, because they need to learn the basics of cooking, and some of that is the same with things like cookies as it is with a casserole: how to use the oven, following instructions in a recipe, and learning what certain ingredients do in cooking. I’m realizing that I haven’t taught my kids important things like how to cook or how to do laundry, and by the time I was the girls’ age, I was helping substantially with both. My kids don’t quite know their way around the washer and dryer.

I’ll try to get a picture of the next bread loaves.

See you tomorrow.