Return of the bread mama

While I was in my master’s degree program, I made breads almost weekly and thus earned the title “bread mama” by my classmates.  As per the previous post, I was able to return to bread baking for the sake of having bread in the face of the impending hurricane.  The bread went so quickly that I decided I should make two more loaves. I was also bored and needed something to do, since going out wasn’t a good idea post-Sandy due to the gas situation.  So, I picked two more autumnal breads from my four seasons bread machine book:

Pumpkin cranberry bread:

I used Trader Joe’s organic whole cranberries and pumpkin puree that I had made and froze. Since homemade pumpkin puree is “wetter” than canned pumpkin, I had to add a lot more flour to the dough (as the machine was kneading) to get it to the right texture.  As with (almost) all the breads I make, I used whole wheat bread flour instead of white bread flour.

Dark Pumpkernickel bread:

I didn’t have Dutch-processed cocoa so I just used the cocoa I did have (Trader Joe’s brand).  I added only 1 tsp of caraway seeds since the recipe said they were optional. Instead of white flour I used white whole wheat flour.

But the baking didn’t stop there!  Yesterday, I made the Challah bread (also an autumnal bread, coincidentally) that I’ve been wanting to make so that I could make French toast in the morning:

For this one, the recipe called for all-purpose flour and whole wheat pastry flour. Instead of all-purpose flour (I try to reduce or eliminate the use of white flours as much as possible), I used half spelt and half white whole wheat flour for the amount of all-purpose flour.  I didn’t have extra-large eggs (doesn’t anyone actually buy extra-large eggs regularly??), so I just used 2 large eggs. I did in fact make French Toast in the morning, but it was a quick, I-think-this-is-how-you-make-it kind of French Toast. Afterward, I reviewed how Alton Brown makes it and, if I don’t have work Friday morning, will make it then (God willing).

The last “bread” I made (today) was Italian breadsticks, using the recipe from “The Cook’s Encyclopedia of Bread Machine Baking” by Jennie Shapter.

Interestingly, this recipe does not call for sugar or any sweetener, at all!  I thought all breads need a sweetener to activate the yeast, but according to the author active dry yeast, which is what I was using, doesn’t.  So, these are actually sugar-free!

My mother LOVES breadsticks, which is who I was making them primarily for (that’s how I got permission to use the kitchen ;). Whenever we go or someone else goes to Egypt, that’s something she usually buys or requests. It’s a quick, per-serving, to-go snack.

I made these using whole wheat bread flour. I tried sprinkling some with sesame seeds, but it was hard getting them to stick to the sticks instead of my finger.

It has been such a pleasure making bread. I love seeing the dough become a beautiful loaf of bread (or breadsticks) and seeing others enjoy them. The pumpkin bread was finished in about 2 days! 😀  Knowing how fast the others were consumed, I hid the Challah bread because I was worried I wouldn’t have enough to make into French toast, lol.

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