I know I know I keep posting about making bread. To me cooking, baking, and canning (which I plan on learning as well) is a big part of self sufficiency and farming. Also, it’s one of the few things I can do while living in a tiny apartment. This recipe is very simple and you don’t have to wait for the bread to rise!
- 1 1/4 cups yellow or white cornmeal
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 to 4 tablespoons sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 to 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 to 3 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil
- 1 cup milk
- Bring all ingredients to room temperature, about 70 degrees F.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease an 8 inch square pan with butter or oil. Place in the oven until hot.
- Whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
- Add eggs, butter, and milk. Combine with a few rapid strokes.
- Scrape the batter into the hot pan. Bake 15 to 18 minutes until nicely browned.
I’m still working on perfecting my bread making skills. I picked up Joy of Cooking 75th Anniversary from the library which is packed full of great recipes and has some nice tips. I decided to try the “Fast White Bread” recipe (pg.597) and it turned out wonderful. My other breads were very dense, I’m guessing I used too much flour, but we enjoyed them no less. However, this bread turned out so soft in the middle and slightly crunchy on the outside. Great for sandwiches. I will definitely be using this recipe again!
- 2 cups bread flour + extra
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 package active dry or quick-rise yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup very warm water
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
- Stir together bread flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in large bowl.
- Add water and butter to mixture. Add an additional 1/4 cup of flour at a time (up to 1 1/4 cup) until dough is moist but not sticky.
- Knead for about 10 minutes by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and turn it over to coat with oil. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place (75 to 85 degrees F) until double in bulk, 40 to 45 minutes.
- Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Punch down the dough, form it into a loaf, and place seam side down in the pan. Oil the surface and cover loosely with a clean cloth. Let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk, 20 to 45 minutes.
- Bake at 450 degrees F for 10 minutes.
- Reduce heat and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
- Remove the loaf from pan and allow to cool on a bakers rack.
Since I mastered the art of baking bread (and by mastered I mean I’ve baked one loaf my whole life), last night I decided to try my hand at homemade pizza. The dough recipe seemed easy enough..plus if it turned out bad it’s still pizza..who doesn’t like pizza? So Jon and I decided that I would make the pizza and he would help me eat it. He eats anything so I wasn’t too worried about my lack of pizza dough making skills. Fast forward 2 ish hours and wall-a! Pizza! I’m not trying to brag or anything but I have to say it was probably the best pizza I’ve ever had..seriously..I’m awesome!
- 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
- 3 cups bread flour (adjust as needed)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons white sugar
- In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine 3 cups bread flour, olive oil, salt, white sugar and the yeast mixture; stir well to combine. Beat well until a stiff dough has formed. Cover and rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Turn dough out onto a well floured surface. Form dough into a round and roll out into a pizza crust shape. Cover with your favorite sauce and toppings (we used spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes) and bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Today I was pondering ways to start my journey towards farming. Currently I have a wonderful job working in the Office of Sustainability at Mason and I’m about a year or two away from finishing my Bachelor’s Degree so I can’t pack up and move out to the country quite yet. I live in a 2 bedroom apartment with my fiancé Jon in a town about 20 miles from Washington DC. Even though I have no land I am trying to think of creative ways to express my inner farmer. Our apartment is on the bottom floor so we did grow some of our own veggies this year, but now that winter is upon us I wanted to try out some other skills
I decided that I wanted to learn how to make my own bread. While I don’t see myself growing acres of grains, you never know what may happen. Maybe we’ll be able to crop swap with some farm neighbors one day or maybe I’ll just like the taste of my own bread. Afterall, it’s nice knowing what exactly is going into your food these days and what better way to know then to make it yourself.
Here is my first official loaf. I have some work to do. It turned out a lot more dense then I had planned but it was delicious nonetheless. Jon approved and helped me eat nearly half of it in one night.
- 2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 cups wheat flour
- 3 cups white flour
- In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.
- Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
- Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled 9×5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
- Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.