Saturday, February 14, 2015

Astrid's Sense of Bread-Making!


This is how it began:

One day last year, while she was kneading, waiting, kneading, waiting, etc. etc., Astrid all but said "I don't have time for this!"  You'd have to be there...but immediately I piped in and offered (albeit reluctantly, assuming she'd pooh-pooh the idea), that maybe it would make more sense to have a bread-making machine?????

Within a couple hours, that same day (!), we walked two blocks down the street to a store going out of business and bought a bread machine.  Ever since, Astrid has been fine-tuning a loaf of bread that we both absolutely love!  And at half the time/effort on her part!

While this post is mostly about making bread, yes, it's actually more about HOW Astrid does it.
I'm talking specifically about how she measures the flour.

And here's where there's a long history over our 5 years together about a basic Dutch vs. American
way of measuring.  The Dutch weigh their main ingredients (with a weighing scale) while the
Americans measure them (with cup and spoon sets).
And what's funny about it is that neither of us can comprehend why you'd do it that way. 
However, one is not right and the other wrong.  Just different.

 It helps to know that she's using her mother's scale from before WWII.
German-made.  Totally exact.  Perfectly calibrated.

And because she uses 4 different flours (all ground at/by the Woudrichem windmill),
she measures them carefully by grams (No preservatives!):
 wholewheat, refined
wholewheat, pure
spelt (dinkel wheat)
rye



And notice that she measures out several loaves at a time in the white containers.

When it comes time to make the loaf of bread, all these ingredients are added:
water, sugar, salt, multi-flours (mixed with sunflower seeds), olive oil, yeast.
The yeast is always added last because it's not supposed to have contact with the salt.

The bread machine is placed in the warmest room of the house, 
which happens to be our storage closet, with the hot-water pipes sending off lots of heat.
It takes 3 hours from beginning to end.

One loaf lasts us two weekends of breakfasts:  2 Saturdays and 2 Sundays.
Astrid toasts the bread and adds all kinds of wonderful, healthy toppings.
It also works well for paninis, which we make with our panini press.

When you come to visit us, we will make sure you have some.  I promise!

20 comments:

  1. So loved this! I felt as if I was right in the kitchen with both of you!! Oh...and that scale! Adorable! xoxo

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    1. Since you've been in our kitchen, Robin, I KNOW you can picture this more than others. Next time you come, Astrid will make this bread for you. :)

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  2. We had a scale like this at home when I was growing up. And - when Antonia was born we had one like that (rented from the pharmacy!) to weigh the baby's weight gain. Yes, she just fit in there! We have photos!
    I have read that weighing ingredients is more accurate than measuring, especially when it comes to bread making. I'm not sure whether this is true. I do both - recipes from here are measured, recipes from home are weighed. Both is fine for me and I don't prefer one over the other.
    I still love to bake my bread with my hands and not using a bread making machine (I wouldn't have space for it anyway). Baking bread has an almost meditative quality for me. Some breads take longer time - even days - some are done rather quickly. For the kneading part it often would be nice to have a bread baker; however, my Kitchen Aid does a pretty good kneading job as well.

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    1. So, you do both, Carola! That makes sense, since you straddle two countries. How fun that you don't prefer one over the other.

      If Astrid didn't go off to work during the week, my guess is she would prefer the meditative "act" of kneading bread like you do...and even making all different kinds, experimenting, etc, like you do. Maybe once she retires? But for now, this is just what the doctor ordered. In the beginning we found wonderful bread mixes for the bread machine but once she started buying the windmill flours, she came up with her own recipe. I love that she can make several batches at one time!

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  3. I bet it smells wonderful in your flat while this bread is baking! It does look delicious. I read your last post about your knee – trying to waltz already? Belated congratulations on your fifth wedding anniversary. As I am writing this I just can’t believe it has been 5 years … it seems like just a couple of years ago that I was looking at your wedding photographs!

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    1. That was one thing I forgot to mention, Vagabonde: the wonderful smell. Indeed! Thanks for reminding me.

      And yes, it's been 5 years of wedded bliss. How is that possible??!! You're one who has been with me for a long time so you know! Time really does fly, doesn't it.

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  4. I used to bake our own bread before Christmas, a 'woven' bread, always a joy to make it. This is totally different and yes it is so more easy with the bread-machine and the result is as good.
    Having a windmill so close by is wonderful, a nice outing while we need more flour.
    The collage with all the different packages of flour almost looks like a 'dark' kind of laboratory (grin)

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    1. Once you're retired, MLMA, you can do it any way you want! I'm the lucky one in the whole bunch!!!! :D And, yes, having the windmill nearby makes the whole thing just that much better.

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  5. Don and I have loved this post! Now he wants to go make bread to go with the chicken soup I'm making. :)

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    1. How fun, Ruth. Will Don do it the old-fashioned way or do you have a bread machine, I wonder??? Make sure you show us the outcome.

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  6. Now if I come to visit can Astrid make me gluten free bread? Oh I love bread and miss eating it.

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    1. Astrid is sure she saw gluten-free flour at the windmill, Donna, so the answer is YES! I can't imagine not being able to eat bread. :(

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  7. Now that I’ve finished looking at your blog I need to rush off and have my usual breakfast of rye toast with carroway seeds. Alas, it is store-bought, trucked from Brooklyn to our rural markey. And because Jane grabbed the wrong loaf by accident last week, I spent the week without carroway. It’s really not the same. Today I start a fresh loaf WITH CARROWAY.

    Happy baking. Wish I was there to break bread with y’all.

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    1. I absolutely LOVE rye toast, Ted...my favorite. And I would want caraway seeds in mine, too. However, the taste of caraway/fennel stays with Astrid all day, so is something she will not knowingly choose to eat. Too bad. But that just leaves all that much more for the rest of us. :)

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  8. Oh don't you just love this kind of technology? I'm not a baker, but I watch this machine on an infomercial or was it a shopping channel and it looks like it would make your life a whole lot better. Someday I'd probably get me one of those so I can say I can bake a bread.

    Hope all's well with the recovery. Hi to Astrid.

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    1. Sometimes you can just make it better and healthier yourself, Marie, so go for it. The sheer joy of it is enough.

      In my next post I plan to catch you up on my recovery. Thanks!

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  9. What a beautiful post to look at, plus I can almost detect the aroma of the bread baking. You are one lucky girl Ginnie to have someone baking fresh bread for you. It must be one of life's biggest pleasures. I used to bake bread 'in the day' and I baked it for our family all week. I used the "Tassajara Bread Book" from the Tassajara Monastery. I'll never forget one moment in my initiation into the art, when the bread was rising beyond the bowl and it seemed like I couldn't control it!! I went to my recipe book and it said: "At this moment in the process, you may feel you are losing control of your dough..." I laughed and laughed. The authors knew what they were doing and they were right there in the kitchen with me. Perfect. I want to join you for breakfast...it looks heavenly!

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    1. I know only too well how lucky I am, Susie, YES! Astrid would prefer the "hands-on" old-fashioned way of making bread but until she's retired, this wonderful machine will do the trick.

      I loved your story of "in your day" and can just imagine the memories. Oh, yes, and the smell. :)

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  10. Looks like Astrid has her bread making down to a fine art - lucky you!

    There is something very therapeutic about bread making, and as for the smell of its baking, wonderful!

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    1. Yes and Yes, Anne, to both. I totally love the smell and am very lucky to have a wife who LOVES making bread! :)

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