Confessions of the DIY Baker

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For the past year or so, I have found myself on a whirlwind path of self sufficiency.  My increased awareness of our damaged food industry plus my natural propensity to be creative and productive led me to seek out recipes for everyday items.  Like lemonade, tortillas, pancakes, waffles, pasta or bread.  I was excited that from my combination of yeast, flour, and fat I could create a beautiful loaf of white bread and avoid the supermarket traps of high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oil, preservatives, or all those other combinations of chemicals you can’t picture in your head.

For the past two months or so, I have refused to buy bread.  Convinced that I could keep up with our weekly need, I kept my kitchen stocked with bread flour and yeast.  I tried a few different recipes but finally settled on the one featured in this blog, as it was the simplest one to make and came out delicious.  And I went at it, starting the process on a day off or if I got home early from work, baking it while dinner cooked, and having a loaf cooling on the rack for tuna sandwiches the next day.

A cinnamon swirl bread I made a few months ago for a brunch (featured HERE) used a bit more yeast than my other recipe and the bread loaf exploded because of this, resulting in a real-sized loaf.  Envious of the size, I decided to forgo my easy recipe and use this one again, except without the cinnamon swirl in the middle.  What resulted was a dough that grew and rose in random places, resulting in a misshapen and precarious loaf of bread.  Every baker knows that making food is a risky venture, and sometimes results in saved scraps that will probably end up a stuffing.

So now we had no bread.  The week wasn’t even up and we had no bread.  This isn’t always a problem, but Sunday I decided I had all the makings of a delicious soup.  To make it a meal, Mr. Cacophony exclaimed, “Soup with grilled cheese sandwiches sounds like a delicious dinner!”  To make grilled cheese sandwiches, we needed cheese.  And we needed bread.  And really, I would’ve jumped up and got to work, having enough time and the ingredients to make our bread. 

But…Mr. C’s birthday is today, so this past weekend was his “birthday weekend.”  Was it really the time to be putting away hours of time on my feet, mixing & kneading?  So instead we — gasp! — bought potato bread at the store.  It had been so long!  The DIY part of me was sobbing at my lack of persistence — I wanted to make everything we ever ate!  The pasta, the sauce, even the cheese!  And here I was, failing to even make bread for sandwiches, something I felt I had become quite good at.

And yes, I want to make cheese.  My dream is to eat a complicated meal that has been entirely homemade, by me!  But as much as I hate to admit it, its impossible to make everything you eat.  Most of it can be done — stick to potato, vegetable and rice based meals and you will be working mostly from scratch.  But the butter and the wine and the olive oil is going to be store-bought, because we live in the year 2012.  Not only has my easy access to the ingredients needed diminished in the creation of our society, in my family of 2 its hardly worth it to go all out.  I’ll probably return to my mission with more vigor once I pop out a mini-Cacophony. 🙂

love,
Feisty

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