You’ve got a kitchen, use it

With prices skyrocketing everywhere, and people still having to eat, it’s time we all learned how to cook and bake. Growing your own is mellowing, using it in your diet is better, especially knowing no one has crossed what you are eating with a sponge, and you can keep seed for next year.

In this blog, we’re going to start with baking. I chose baking because bread costs a lot more than it needs to for a genuinely inferior product. Even the health foods have been on the shelf a few days, and that bread costs and arm and a leg. So, groovy guys and groovy girls, I’m going to teach you how to make bread.

Let’s start with basics. Your oven can be your friend, or it can be Lucifer in disguise. Go out and get an oven thermometer. A good one, the thermometers from the grocery store are not really accurate. Turn on the oven, set it at a baking temp. 350° is a good temp to measure. After the oven heats, put the thermometer in there, and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then read it. Are the temps a match? You’ve got your oven.

For equipment, you will need varying sizes of mixing bowls. I’ve used stainless steel, plastic, and crockery. I prefer the crockery bowls, though they can be pricey. Glass is a good substitute. I prefer them because they are inert, and won’t impart their own taste to the food.

Get several sizes of wooden spoons, measuring spoons, and liquid and dry measuring cups. A rolling pin is nice, but not really needed for loaf bread. Flat breads will need one, as it makes life a little easier than patting out dough flat.

While a breadboard isn’t necessary, it makes clean up a bit easier. I like a good piece of butcher block to knead bread on, personally. The dough is less likely to stick to a wooden board, and the board can be moved for scraping bread dough off, and into the sink or bowl.

It is a good idea to have pans. Baking sheets are pretty basic, but some recipes make a softer loaf, and those will spread. Loaf pans are obvious, but a pie pan will work better for round breads than a baking sheet. Go with mid-range on these. The cheap ones get gross a little too fast. You want something you can both bake and scrub.

Next blog, we talk about types of bread.

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