March 8, 2011
Let me give you a brief sketch of what life is like right now. John and I both work at home. He works on his internet marketing business in the morning. I work on Gluten Free Cooking School in the afternoon. Except for the days that we switch.
Whoever is not working is taking care of the kids. Lucy (10 mo), Grant (23 months), David (4 yrs) are all at home all the time now too. None of their nap schedules completely overlap. And none of them are at quite the right age to play happily together for more than 5 minutes. It’s sometimes crazy. To say the least.
Last week I wrote out a huge schedule to follow when I’m in charge of the kids. I think that it is the secret to maintaining my sanity. And right smack dab in the middle of it is 20 minutes that are allotted for bread baking.
Bread baking is one of my favorite parts of the morning. The kids are generally ready to have a snack in the kitchen and watch Mom bake. David and Grant both like to help. David, who is almost 5, has been helping me bake since he was 18 months and is an old hand at whisking eggs and mixing the dough. For me, it’s time to spend on something that I’m interested in.
So far, we’ve made 4 loaves of bread. I’m currently working on refining two different versions of Finally, Really Good Sandwich Bread (“FRGSB”). One will be gluten free, corn free. The other gluten free, corn free, and egg free. Many, many of you have asked for these variations and I’ve finally figure out how to work the necessary experimentation into my schedule. After that, I’ll move on to other variations. I know that I want to do a sourdough recipe and a yeast free recipe. I’d also like to experiment with some more strongly flavored loaves. What sort of bread recipes would you like to see? Email me at maryfrances [at] glutenfreecookingschool [dot] com and put Bread Recipe Request in the subject line.
I’m tentatively planning to start taking pictures and blogging about each day’s loaf. We’ll see how long I manage to stick with that. But so far, I’ve been reminded of a few interesting things.
1. Changing one flour in a recipe can dramatically change the required amounts of other liquids. I’ve always been aware that different flour are more or less able to absorb liquids, but this is the first time that I’ve actually measured that effect. The bread I’ve baked with my new gluten free, corn free flour mix only needs 2/3 of the amount of water as FRGSB.
2. Rising temperature is important. My first batch of gluten free, corn free bread did not rise very much at all. The culprit was that I put it in the oven to rise (because it was too cool in our house) and the oven was too hot. The top of the bread made a crust before the interior of the bread had time to fully rise.
3. Measurements matter. I’m also much more of a cook than a baker. I like to create recipes on the fly and rarely measure anything when I’m cooking. Baking has to be more exact if you want consistent results. John gave me a digital kitchen scale for Christmas and I’ve had a lot of fun scooping out my flour in measuring cups like I normally would and then measuring the flour by weight. You’d be amazed at how much difference it make whether you scoop the flour and then shake off the excess, scoop the flour and then scrape the excess against the bag, or spoon the flour into the cup and then level with a straight edge. I’ve also been intrigued by seeing how 1 cup of brown rice flour is a different weight than 1 c. of corn starch.