Despite being a compulsive DIY’r, there are realms of do it yourselfness that I am intimidated by and write off as “not my thing.” Baking was one of those realms. My mom had given me her bread machine, that her mother in law had passed down to her, both of them giving it up due to lack of use. The bread machine had sat unused for years in my house. About three months ago I started really looking at where we spend our food budget, and decided to dive into bread making. I started with the bread maker; it was the perfect gateway bread making experience. I was intimidated the mysterious cycles of kneading and rising (or “proofing” as I learned people who actually bake call it) and the machine took care of all of that. My first loaf was beautiful, the perfect sandwich loaf, domed and golden.
It didn’t take long for me to take the plunge and buy a 25lb bag of King Arthur Flour at Costco. A homemade loaf of bread costs us less than a dollar, even when I make egg and butter intensive recipes like challah. I have sourdough starter in my fridge, I have used it a few times, but for now, I am still mostly intimidated by that challenge. I have moved to rarely using the bread machine- baking is science, and it’s really hard to correct any problems when you aren’t a part of each step. Kneading the dough myself I can see when the dough reaches the right consistency, and stop right then. If the dough doesn’t rise enough in the prescribed time, I can let it go longer before moving on to the next step, as opposed to the bread machine which has more than once forged ahead despite the dough not rising at all, producing a very unappealing brick of wheat.
I have branched out into cinnamon rolls and hamburger buns recently, with much success and many carbs consumed. Taking the leap into baking has given me a new hobby and cut our food budget.
Maybe this year I’ll get over my fear of knitting too.