In the Kitchen

Let’s Break Bread

What a couple of weeks of chaos!

I’ve had no time to write a single thing. Ugh. So here’s a random pic of a loaf of French bread I baked while I was away at the cabin.

It was a good loaf of bread.

In the Kitchen

My Attempt at Making French Bread

This past weekend I was doing some more of my cabin-cooking and I started reading a couple classic books about baking that got me into experimenting with making bread.

I set aside my cast iron dutch oven and opted to use a plain old cookie sheet to try make a long loaf of French bread. Well, a French-style bread!

While the bread turned out beautifully, it certainly was not as light and airy as the typical loaf of French bread.

french bread

The ingredients are simple – flour, water, yeast, salt, and honey (or sugar).

french bread

I started with the water – warm water. Warm enough to dissolve the honey but not hit enough to kill the yeast. I dissolved the honey into the warm water.

french bread

Then added the salt.

french bread

Followed by the yeast. Adding a tablespoon of yeast is different than I usually do, but I was keen to follow the classic recipe in my old-timey baking book (title of which I forgot!)

french bread

Once the honey, salt and yeast have been added I put the bowl on the vent of my stove to let the yeast begin to “work”.

Within 10 minutes it will begin to bubble and foam like the witches cauldron in Macbeth.

french bread

Then I added flour. One cup and I stirred it in with my wooden spoon.

Second cup – stir it in.

french bread

Third cup I needed to knead in with my hands. I now had a very sticky ball of bread dough.

french bread

Then I began to knead the dough. To keep it from sticking to my hands I added flour. A pinch at a time.

french bread

Until I had a ball of dough that stuck to itself and not to my hands.

And then I formed the dough into a loaf, cut little flashes across the top, sprinkled some coarse flavoured salt on top and then let it sit and rise for about half an hour.

Into the oven for 25 minutes at 400°.

I had a gorgeous loaf of bread.

french bread

It was a different approach than I typically take but it worked!

The ingredient list is simple:

  • 1 1/2 cups of warm water
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of yeast
  • 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups of white flour

The instructions:

  1. In a large glass bowl combine and dissolve the honey in warm water (warm enough to dissolve the honey, not hot enough to kill the yeast). Then add and stir in the salt.
  2. Add the yeast to the mixture in the bowl.
  3. Let the yeast mixture sit for 5 – 10 minutes – bubbles should start to appear on the surface of the mixture as the yeast starts working.
  4. Add some flour. I added a cup at a time and stirred it in with a wooden spoon,
  5. Once three cups of flour have been added, begin to knead the dough. Keep kneading and adding flour until the dough sticks to itself.
  6. Once the dough is able to form a shape, shape it into a loaf shape – whatever shape you want!
  7. I cut shallow slashes across the top of the loaf and added a few grains of coarse salt to the top before baking.
  8. Cover the loaf with a towel and let it sit for 20 minutes.
  9. Bake in an oven pre-heated to 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes – until the top has a lovely baked brown colour.
  10. Let it rest after baking – simply to make it easier to slice.


In the Kitchen

Peanut Butter Bread; Cabin Cooking

In the Kitchen

Cabin Cooking; the Bread Making Edition 

Family Day is the newest stat holiday in BC so I did my usual routine and got out of the city. I headed up the Fraser Canyon to the cabin.

And as I usually do at the cabin, I got into experimenting in the kitchen. Seeing as I had one of my daughters with me and they are in a phase in which they love to use my iPhone as a video camera – we decided to make a video of me trying out a new bread recipe.

I do apologize in advance for the shaky video. As I said, the camera operator was my daughter.

The ingredients for my cabin bread:

  • 4 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon of salt
  • 1 Teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon of butter
  • 1 3/4 Cups of water

I first mixed together the dry ingredients and then added the egg, beat that into the dry mix. I then cut the butter into the mixture before adding the water. I stirred it all together for a couple of minutes using a rubber spatula and then plopped the lump of dough into the already hot cast iron pan.

Into the oven for 35 minutes. Out of the oven onto the cooling rack to let it rest, and then sliced bread with butter.

That’s it. Try it.


In the Kitchen

Homemade Bread Part 2

I decided to give the homemade bread thing another go – this time in my city home. 

And this time, I followed the recipe a little more closely. Well, I sort of followed the recipe more closely. 

Like I did at the cabin, I again added beer to my bread dough. But instead of adding beer as an after-thought, I poured a half cup of beer into my measuring cup and topped it with water. 

After about 6 hours of “working” the bread dough had a lovely head of bubbles growing on it. It was quite impressive. 

I left the dough to work for nearly 24 hours while I slept and then spent the next day at work. 

While prepping supper I poured the bread dough into a stainless steel frying pan and put it in the oven for 25 minutes at 425 degrees. 

While it didn’t rise as much as I had hoped it would, the flavour and density of the homemade bread was wonderful!! 

In the Kitchen

Cabin Cooking; Bread Making

On my most recent trip to my cabin, on what turned out to be the hottest day of the year so far, I decided to bake bread.

I have been reading and learning about making bread and decided to put my learning into action – on the hottest day of the year.

The bread that I decided to make is an ultra-simple method with no need for kneading; you just mix the four ingredients in a large bowl and let the dough rest for 12 to 24 hours.

Here is a video of my bread making experience –

Admittedly, the video that I have attached here is not my best work. I had to do a lot of editing to get it as short as I did so a lot of footage ended up on the cutting room floor. Also, some of my transitions are not as smooth as I would like. However, I keep learning and, the bread was amazing!!