Wednesday, April 9, 2008

New Toy!

Friends of ours who recently combined households gave me a stand mixer (as they don't need two!) My first reaction to the offer had been no - we don't have the counter space. But I bake bread - in fact, 100% whole grain bread, which requires a lot of kneading to get it nice and light. With a wrist with an old injury, that half hour of kneading has become difficult, and I haven't baked in months. So a stand mixer with a dough hook seemed a good use of space. (I think we're giving them a slow cooker - much the same reasoning...)

I made it a home on my counter, and I baked the other night! I'd been a bit concerned about the humidity - I sometimes have a lot of trouble with sticky dough when it's damp out. Well, the great thing about the mixer, I've learned, is that it will work a sticky dough with no trouble. I had my own lovely basic whole wheat toast for breakfast, for the first time in months. And that really did make it easier. (I use the recipe from The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book, which I strongly recommend for anyone interested in whole grain bread baking.)

So now, I want to experiment. I was given the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking for Christmas. It has lots of recipes that don't work for me, or that I will have to adapt, but lots that look interesting. I particularly want to start playing with sourdough and levain. I had a sourdough starter back in college, and made some pretty good bread then - and I know so much more about bread baking now!

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