I've been thinking a lot about making bread lately. Our family eats a lot of bread, and it's inexpensive to buy, but it's also inexpensive and easy to make. And my homemade bread doesn't have preservatives or high fructose corn syrup in it. I would like to start making all the bread for our family, but there's one thing holding me back. The need to knead.
I have been making yeast breads for a long time, which means I've been kneading for a long time, but recently, like in the last half year or so, I've been wondering if maybe I'm doing it wrong. Because you know how recipes say to knead until the dough is smooth and elastic? Yeah. That never happens to my dough. Ever.
I even watched how-to knead videos. And I feel like what I'm doing should work, but I've never ever gotten a bread dough to pass the windowpane test, until the other day when I made friendship bread cinnamon twists. The recipe said to use a stand mixer to knead the dough, but since I don't have one, I used my hand mixer. And it worked! That dough was so smooth and so elastic and so windowpane-y. But I'm afraid of burning out the motor on my hand mixer if I attempt to knead a larger or heartier batch with it.
I started wondering if I should try to find a bread machine to do my kneading for me, but at the same time, I'm afraid that if I had a bread machine, I would never want to bother hauling it out to use it. So I put it out there on Facebook. I asked my friends if they had a bread machine, and if so how often they use it. What I suspected was correct: lots of people have them, but few of those people ever use their bread machines.
In any case, I'm getting a chance to find out: one of my friends had actually just cleaned out her pantry the week before, and during the pantry clean-out decided to get rid of the bread machine that she had used once in 15 years. It was sitting in her mudroom waiting for her to take to Goodwill, and she said I could have it. I'll let you know how it goes.
In the meantime, here's what's on the menu this week:
- Ham & swiss crescent braid, salad, carrots
- Chicken taco casserole, green beans
- Fend for yourself
- Nachos/mini pepper nachos, guacamole, taco toppings
- Pizza, salad
- Hot beef sandwiches, 100% whole wheat friendship bread rolls, broccoli/cauliflower/carrots
- Grilled pork chops, grilled green veggie