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The staff of life

2 February 2010

I’ve been baking bread for almost 20 years. It was one of the rotating chores we had in the hippie house we shared with 3 other grad students (making enough bread for sandwiches for 5 people for a week at a time!). Two years ago, almost to the day, I started making sourdough bread. And what a lot of fun that has been. But I think it’s part of the reason I don’t really enjoy making other breads anymore.

(Oh, by the way, I made marbled rye and swirled rye a couple of weeks ago, and with one thing and the other, I never talked about it here. Here you are:
Making rye bread
I used the recipe in Peter Reinhart’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice, and it was much easier than I feared it would be. As soon as I can find more rye flour (suspiciously unfindable last week when the Consort went shopping), I’ll make this again.)

The reason I don’t like making other types of bread is that they are all so sweet. Why do they need so much sweetener in them? Goodness, if I want a sweet bread, then I would make muffins, for crying out loud! Who wants a lunch sandwich on sweet bread? (Clearly, most people.) Today I am making the multigrain bread extraordinaire from Reinhart’s book, but as I put it in a bowl to proof, I got a bit on my fingers, and I am afraid it’s going to be sweet, too (how could it not, with both honey and brown sugar in it?).

We shall see. But does anyone have a good recipe, or a suggestion for a good book (that I could check out at the library, preferably), that has a variety of nonsourdough bread recipes that don’t have so much sweetener in them?

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. 2 February 2010 1:56 pm

    My husband (who does all the bread baking in our home) relies mostly on Rose Levy Berenbaum’s Bread Bible. We have friends who’ve recently started experimenting with Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day and have been so pleased with the results that I’ve been motivated to check out that book (and its predecessor, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day) from the library.

  2. 2 February 2010 2:04 pm

    I’ve made bread since my mother showed me how in junior high, two score and some years ago… These days, I make a multigrain bread that has oatmeal, whole wheat and unbleached white flours in it. I just add a bit of brown or white sugar to the yeast and water mix when getting it going, and a smidge of blackstrap molasses after the sponge stage. I think you could just cut down on any amount of sweetener in any recipe, or even omit them entirely. There are plain breads which only have salt, water, yeast and flour in them, and they work fine, make great pizza crusts and French bread.

  3. 2 February 2010 9:20 pm

    I am currently in love with the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a day bread – the basic recipe has no sweetener.

    If I were you, I’d experiment by reducing the sweetener to a little, keeping enough there to boost the yeast action.

  4. 3 February 2010 8:04 am

    Oh, god, I can *smell* that bread. I do not have a recipe, never having made bread in my life, but I really want to eat some right now.

  5. 3 February 2010 9:14 am

    I have no recipes for you, Imperatrix—just continued awe at your culinary talents and energy.

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