Sunday, January 17, 2016


It's a new year and with that come resolutions.  We all make them, though it's hard to keep them.  I'm starting out easy.  Sorta.  I joined a challenge at a gym to get back in shape and that is working.  More weight lifting/strength training, which I enjoy.  It also has the added benefit of giving me an "appointment" in the evening, so I leave work on time.  Fortunately, it's not far from the house, about 10 minutes, so that's good.  While the days are getting longer, it's still dark when I drive home and I don't see well at night, so short drive and street lights make it easier.

Another resolution was to bake my own bread.  A while ago, I found a recipe for English Muffins, which was something I'd never thought to bake/make myself.  But, I wanted to try it.  I got the English Muffin rings for Christmas, plus a mix.  I did them about two weeks ago and they were good.  This weekend, I'm will be making them totally from scratch.
Toasted English muffin (home made)

English Muffins (home made)
Based on the success of the English Muffins, I decided to start baking my own bread.  Quite a leap.  A while ago, I got the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion.  In addition to recipes, it gives the how's and why's of baking just about anything, which prompted the decision to bake bread.  So, today, I gave it a go and am pleased to say it was a success.

Vermont Oatmeal Maple-Honey Bread
The bread I chose was Vermont Oatmeal Maple-Honey Bread.  Based on the advise in the book, I used the bread machine to knead, then used the traditional method to bake.  The first rise was okay, but the second rise in the pans took a little longer than their estimate.  I suspect this was because the weather is cooler and so was the house.  Still, I let it rise to where it needed to and then baked it.  I will probably never go back to store bought bread.  The big challenge now is slicing.  Even with a guide, I can get a crooked slice.

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