I really, really enjoy making my own bread. There’s nothing to equal the taste of bread fresh from your own oven, whether it’s white sandwich bread (which is so completely unlike white bread from the store, it’s entirely another species), crusty French bread, or soft, spongy pita bread, there’s nothing in the store to rival it, even if it comes from the store bakery.
Now, the laziest way to make your own bread is to use a bread machine. But I don’t like the taste of machine made bread. (I know, aren’t I just the most precious little princess?)
So how do you make bread the lazy way without a bread machine?
A stand mixer.
The stand mixer is my most invaluable tool for baking bread. (Besides the oven, of course.) I got mine for free from my mother when she decided that she was done with cooking, forever. I scored quite a bit of nice cookware this way.
The stand mixer does everything. It mixes with the paddle attachment, and kneads with the dough hook. All I have to do is add the ingredients, and the stand mixer does the heavy work. I know that some people find kneading dough meditative, but you know what I find meditative? Sipping a glass of wine while listening to my children snore after they’ve fallen asleep for the night. Not kneading dough.
As for recipes, my go to book is Beth Hensperger’s Bread Bible. It has great detailed instructions for newbies, but also plenty of more complicated recipes for when you’ve got down the basics.
Strangely enough, there is no bread baking in my novel. That’s because I have my heroine making tortillas by hand, using a metate. If you’d like to watch someone making tortillas this way, head to the San Diego Museum of Man and look for the Tortilla Lady. For a dollar or so, she will grind out, shape, and cook your tortilla right there in front of you. You won’t regret it, I promise.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some dough to punch down.