Knitting & Baking

While I have been knitting a lot (!) over the last couple of weeks, I have become near obsessed with baking – most especially bread.  On my last birthday Thor gave me a panasonicPanasonic bread machine.  I love love love it; it pulled me back into the bread making I gave up in the mid-1980s.

BreadMachineCkbkAfter I worked my way through Beth Hensperger’s The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook I wanted to try making bread the way I used to so many decades ago.  But now my hands are older (as am I!), so kneading heavy dough by hand was something I knew I couldn’t do anymore.

LaurelKitchenThen I dug out my old, now ratty copy of Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book and read thee encouraging words to people kitchenaidwhose hands weren’t up to kneading bread:  Use a machine with a bread hook like the KitchenAid mixer!  (Mine is now close to 20 years old, but it works perfectly well!)

I got bored using conventional  yeast leavening so decided I needed to learn how to make sourdough starters.  I first made a rye Humphreystarter.  As I had to feed it twice daily for several days before using it (now I keep it in the ‘fridge so need to feed only weekly), I decided it should be named.  Meet Humprey (named after Humphrey Bogart, of whom Thor does amazing impressions).

ryeloafUsing Humphrey, I started experimenting with rye breads: here’s one.  (I apparently laid the measuring tape next to the bread for comparison.  As you can see, the loaf is much larger.  🙂 )

Now I’m experimenting with different breads, some using starters, others not.  Here’s a picture of a trio I served at a dinner for friends.  The bread on Triothe left is a “corn rye” (using a rye starter – and I upped its sourness by leaving a half an onion in the starter for a day – but which, despite its name, contains no corn).

The middle bread (the top of which I should have slashed), is a Norwegian grovbrød (“coarse bread”).  The grains in a grovbrød vary; for this one I used a sour rye starter with graham flour.

The bread on the right is a New York-style Jewish rye.  I did not use a rye starter on that bread but, to increase its sourness, added juice I poured out of a jar of home preserved Kosher dill pickles.

Humphrey continues to thrive, and he’s been joined by another sourdough starter:  a San Francisco-style sourdough starter (as of yet unnamed).  This starter has been much more finicky than Humphrey ever was, but I think it’ll end up being fine.

All this baking means as I knit, I am surrounding by the aroma of freshly baked bread!  Thankfully it’s difficult to eat and knit at the same time.  🙂

 

 

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About sweatyknitter

Fiber art devotee, author, and amateur artisan bread baker.
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28 Responses to Knitting & Baking

  1. I have not yet. We’ve made alot of “country white” as it uses an egg.

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  2. Yes, so much fun! Have you gotten Hensperger’s book ? It is packed full with wonderful info on bread machines, the bread they make & recipes!

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  3. I just got a bread machine too! loooooove it!!

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  4. I can only imagine; how great! After burning my hands innumerable times in the oven setting up tiles and pans of steaming water, I bought an Emile Henry bread cloche. I think it’s the closest I can come to your loaves! (I love the cloche … I think I’m going to buy EM’s baguette “baker” too.)

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  5. djdfr says:

    I enjoy making sourdough bread. I keep a culture going in the refrigerator. We recently got a wood fired oven–the crust is inimitable.

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  6. All those feelings … Like a child or pet. 🙂

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  7. kellygrow says:

    That is so cool/funny you named your starter! 🙂

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  8. jengolightly says:

    No, I don’t have a jar of culture, the recipe I use is on the links on my blog page, you make the dough and leave it to ferment overnight, bake it in the morning. Mess free, its brilliant!

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  9. It is SO much fun! I have two sourdough rye loaves waiting for the oven to heat up … one I’m baking on a stone and the other in the Emile Henry cloche … I was pleased they both fit on one rack! Thanks for the link!

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  10. Oh my – SOY is put in commercial bread?!

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  11. I’m lucky to have the bread maker and bread hook … I limit my hand kneading to a little bit between rises. 🙂

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  12. Going from your suggestion, I thought about Clint (love that for a sourdough starter name!) but decided to go with Lillian in honor of Lillian Hitchcock Coit! 🙂

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  13. My mixer has been a lifesaver as there’s NO WAY I can hand knead for more than a minute or two … especially the heavy whole grain breads I like! 🙂

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  14. That sounds like delicious toast! The boy will have a hard time eating store-bought bread! My grandchildren love raisin-walnut toast for breakfast. Thor loves challah but I don’t make it often (just not healthy for grandparents!).

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  15. Do you keep a sourdough culture going or do you start the culture the night before? I do the former but have seen some recipes that do the latter so am thinking about trying those too!

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  16. It is so easy to get spoiled, isn’t it, when you are used to fresh, sourdough breads?!

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  17. When I first re-entered the bread making world, I quickly realized it is easy to eat too much fresh bread! So I am careful to limit my intake … and on the day that I bake a new, previously-untried loaf or experiment, I eat no other starch on that day so I won’t feel bad if I eat too much of the bread experiment! 🙂

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  18. Fresh bread tastes as good as it smells … which means I am careful to limit my daily intake! 🙂

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  19. Polo says:

    Mmm, this post makes me hungry.

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  20. They look fantastic. Can almost smell them! I don’t make bread and worry if I got a bread maker, I’d eat way too much!

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  21. fabrickated says:

    What an interesting post. My husband is the bread maker in our family and no loaf is the same as the last one. I love sour dough and don’t really like other types of bread. My husband, and a friend Ida, in her 90s, always knead by hand. They find it therapeutic, like knitting, and use it as a kind of exercise and mediation routine. Ida does Tai Chi too – she is completely inspirational. And so are you! Thank you.

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  22. jengolightly says:

    Am so happy you’re enjoying your breadmaking, I make football shaped sourdough using no equipment at all apart from a silicone bowl/baking pot and it is blissful eating!

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  23. Rebecca says:

    Hey, I caught the bread bug recently too. One of my readers who is possibly one of your readers too gave me some great advice with my starter and all is going as well as can be with no dough hook. I do alot of fruit and nut wholemeal sourdough as a breakfast toast for my boy.

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  24. Deb says:

    This looks so good! I go through phases of bread making. I need to introduce the family to breads other than white bread. Aren’t the mixers just the best !

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  25. Sara Crafts says:

    I named my cat Bogart, so I heartily approve of your starter’s name. 🙂

    As for your San Fran-style starter, you could go with Natalie Wood or Clint Eastwood since they both hail from that city. 😛 Bill Bixby (another San Francisco native) could be a good moniker as well….

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  26. I LOVE that you name your starters. I love making bread too, but I’ve never had a breadmaker. I enjoy kneading by hand, but my old roommate loved the bread hook on our stand mixer.

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  27. Awesome! I too knit to the smells of my bread machine baking away 🙂 My son has a soy allergy, so it’s much easier to bake my own bread. Although, I can’t say that I’ve gotten as skilled in bread making as you are!

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  28. Susan says:

    YEA!! I am so proud of you…….see, it isn’t brain surgery 🙂 Bread making is the most interesting and addictive occupation……apart from knitting that is 🙂
    http://www.wildyeastblog.com/yeastspotting/ this is an extraordinary site. Have fun, go MAD!!

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