Thursday, July 23, 2009


I've been spending some time browsing other blogs, and have found that I'm really drawn to those that involve handcrafts, baking, cooking, gardening and simple living. When Tommy was born I found myself with a lot of free time at home, and I was looking for simple things to do while he napped. I had baked bread with my mother and grandmother as a child, but hadn't really had the time to practice since getting out into the 'real world'.

I started looking for instruction on the internet, and came across The Fresh Loaf, a website dedicated to the baking of artisan breads. If you've never visited their site, and you are at all interested in baking, take a look - it will inspire you! I worked through some of their beginner lessons and really enjoyed it! I found that Tommy's naps were the perfect length to bake in. I would start a batch of poolish (starter) the evening before, and during naps I'd knead, let rise, shape, and bake. We were eating pretty well!

I recently found a few photos of my very first breads, and wanted to share them here. The first is a loaf of cinnamon swirl I made, but I didn't want to dig out a loaf pan. I made the dough into a long, narrow rectangle, sprinkled on my cinnamon, sugar, and butter, and rolled it into a very long, narrow snake, I then coiled the snake into a swirl. Here's a photo as it came out of the oven.

Looks pretty yummy! Next is a photo after it was sliced - I had no idea what to expect, and was excited at how it turned out! It tasted as good as it looked. This was the most fun loaf I've ever made, and I think I'll always make my cinnamon bread this way from now on.

The next photo is of my third attempt at baking a boule. I was so thrilled at the texture - it finally had the nice, airy holes I was striving for! I learned that very wet dough may be difficult to work with, but makes this wonderful texture you associate with the best artisan breads. If you look at the right side of the photo you'll see the area where the texture was nicest. Even though the other loaves I baked weren't this pretty, they still tasted great!

Finally, I tried making pita breads. They puffed up nice and round and I had perfect pockets on the first try! We filled some with falafel and tahini sauce. The rest were saved to fill with chicken stir fry and they were delicious!

I'm hoping that when it cools off some here in Arizona I won't be so averse to heating up the oven, and will be able to bake again. I've been wanting to try a ciabatta, and I'd like to keep working to perfect my loaves.

Finally, I wanted to share the inspiration for all of this baking. If Tommy hadn't been born, I wouldn't have had an entire summer off of work and the free time to take on a new hobby. He's a real character, and I think this picture is so funny - he kept saying 'upside-down' and then standing like this:

We think he's a born performer. Don't we all wish for that kind of flexibility?


  1. The bread looks so good! If you ever want to bake one of those cinammon ones and give it away, I can give it a good home! I love the picture of Tommy. You should use it for the blog hop next week - I will forward you an e-mail.

  2. Your bread looks amazing! I recently made pitas with the Artisan Bread in 5 dough (I think I'm in a rut, but it works so well for everything!) for chicken salad. Yummy! Anyway, thanks for taking time to say hi! :)

    PS- Tommy is adorable!

  3. Mmmm, I can almost smell your bread. I make bread with the children in my playgroups but I haven't gone past a simple bread roll yet - and they are different each week. No science to my breadmaking - I call it intuitive cooking! I would like to spend more time exploring breadmaking, but I keep finding other things to do as well - my husband has made a few nice cinnamon loaves. I'll have to show him your picture!

  4. I need to stop drooling now... your bread looks so good. I am planning to make my first bread making attempt next week. I'm so excited.

    Children are so funny. Love the photo! My 7 month old has just worked out how to poke out his bottom lip. It looks so funny.