The Year of the Bread

Sometimes I feel like every time I have a free minute I’m proofing yeast, mixing dough, setting bread to rise, feeding the world. Now that we have our fourth roommate, the amount of bread to be consumed is going to be significantly increased. In 2010 alone I think I’m already on my fourth or fifth loaf. First was a regular half-whole wheat, nothing to write home about but definitely delicious, as is all homemade bread. The other night I decided a beer bread was in order (with innumerable gallons of beer at all stages of brewing in this apartment, I might as well take advantage, right?). I helped myself to a portion of Jeff’s chocolate stout and used it instead of the water that goes into the dough. As the bread rose and baked, it let off an aroma of the rich, chocolatey libation inside. I have never seen a loaf of bread disappear so fast. It lasted 24 hours at the most. Dark, rich, almost sweet, this experiment definitely counted as a success. On the heels of the last rind of crust disappearing under butter and homemade jam (thanks to Dan for contributing to the bread-fest), I received swift requests for another loaf. After the success of the chocolate stout bread, I am now about to bake off a loaf made with Jeff’s pale ale. Not too hoppy, it has strong citrus and herbal notes, and we suspect it will make a delicious loaf of bread. Not that it won’t get eaten anyway.

On top of all these beer experiments, I mixed my first sourdough starter the other day, and so far it is going along swimmingly. Stay tuned for more on sourdough experiments. I also decided the time was ripe for homemade English Muffins (missing Standard much? Definitely.) and so have a rich, soft dough rising in the fridge to be made fresh tomorrow morning. Don’t worry Daddy, I’ll try to save one in the freezer for you.

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