Baking bread is such a satisfying delight. I grew up with a Mother who had been the state of Kansas Bread Baking Champion for 4-H clubs. She loved to bake bread and certainly shared her joy in baking it with all who knew her. She even baked our own hot dog and hamburger buns. My brother and I just to be ornery would sometimes would tell her that we really wanted what we called "bubble gum bread" which is the kind you can squeeze in your hand and very little is left--the really soft kinds of bread like Rainbo or Sunbeam bread. Later on, we greatly appreciated all the various breads Mother made almost every day for our family. (Pictured is Bear Paw Bread which we make in our week long class and when enough persons in our bread baking class--it is included. It is very similar to French Bread.)
When you come right down to it. Baking bread is one of the easiest baking tasks there is. It certainly is not precise like cake or pie baking.
You can easily create your very own specialties. The quality of the flour is a great determinant. Too weak gluten yields flabby, weak bread. That is about the only specific ingredient choice to bread baking. You can bake quick breads leavened by baking powder and or baking soda, however what I am talking about is yeast breads.
I learned a great deal about bread baking and flour also from my brother who is an esteemed milling engineer. He taught me far more technical aspects of flour and bread baking which is not taught at university level and culinary institute classes.
I love to pass on these hints and tips and will be doing so on January 28 starting at 5 pm when we have our Bread Baking class.I will give you my Mother's favorite basic recipe which can be made literally dozens of ways. I will also share the way to create moist and tender Caramel Pecan rolls, beautiful Pesto Braid and Red Chile Cheddar Swirl bread....and more.
We are currently still conducting half sized full participation classes and still have openings. For the next registrants, I am offering this class at 20% off or $76.00. You will learn all the hints, tips, get the recipes, enjoy eating the bread as well as taking home samples. This special will be good through next Saturday, January 23 at midnight.
If interested in Oaxaca, which is such a wonderful, delightful and delicious experience, we just passed the first payment deadline,. If interested in payments, please contact me, (at 505-243-2622 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org) I can arrange a modified payment schedule or you can pay all at once and get a 10% discount. The dates for this year are June 15 - 19, 2021.
Our week-long class is March 15 - 19 and we still have openings. I would love to cook and share all these recipes with you!
While in a nostalgic mood, I will pass on a couple of soups that my Mother always thought were wonderful with freshly baked bread. Here they, are--
This was my Dad’s favorite soup, which we frequently had on Friday nights. It is very quick to make and almost instant with a pressure cooker.
Yield: 4 servings
2 thick slices of bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
2 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
2 Tablespoons onion, chopped
½ teaspoon salt or to taste
Few grinds black pepper
1 quart milk
1 ½ Tablespoons butter
1. Place bacon pieces in the bottom of a heavy, large pot. Cook until the bacon is almost crisp. Drain fat and reserve for another use or discard. Add potatoes and onion and water to just cover. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are done.
2. Add the salt, pepper and milk and continue to heat until just hot, do not boil. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve in shallow soup bowls, topped with a pat of butter.
Note: If using a pressure cooker, consult the manufacturer’s instructions.
My Mother, who was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, where her Father had a huge contract with the city to modernize it (add modern plumbing and electrical wiring to the major buildings) became fond of many southern and Mexican dishes. This is one of them. Gumbo can be made so many different ways—depending on the meats you have on hand—and is always served with hot chile (either a liquid pepper sauce served on the side or with chiles added to the stew as it is made) and file (made with Sasafrass leaves and thyme.)
The original recipe called for a 5 cent soup bone, 10 cents worth of beef, etc. We modernized it!
Yield: 4 servings
¼ cup vegetable oil or bacon drippings
¾ pound chuck roast, cubed*
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound small okra (or a 12 ounce package of frozen) chopped in ½ inch slices
3 large red, ripe tomatoes or 1 14.5 ounce can chopped tomatoe
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups beef stock or bouillion
2 cups cooked rice
Hot pepper sauce
- Heat oil in a 5 quart heavy, well seasoned Dutch oven or stock pot. Place beef cubes in a bowl, then add the flour, salt and pepper and mix well. Fry the beef in the fat until each piece is somewhat browned. Remove the browned pieces as they develop and add the chopped okra.
- Fry, adding more oil or fat as needed until okra has become fork tender and lightly browned. Add the tomatoes, onion and garlic. Add the stock and cook about an hour or more or until the beef is quite tender. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve over fluffy rice with hot pepper sauce or minced habernero or other favorite hot chile and File.
*Note: I quite often use two or three meats/seafood, such as chicken, beef or pork and shrimp or crab.