Inventing bread

I love to bake. I pride myself on my biscuits and French bread, both oven-baked from scratch. Real Southern biscuits, the kind that soothe your soul and raise your cholesterol. Perfect French bread, stellar with spaghetti and lasagne. I also mastered (though for many years haven’t practiced) the art of salt risin bread, the kind you start with potatoes as yeast. Smells like hell, tastes like heaven. (I do think I need to resurrect that art!) 

So why, for cryin out loud, haven’t I transferred that gift and that love to the breadmaker? Why have I treated breadmaker bread like an invitation to mechanics rather than art? Why have I resigned myself to the breadmaker crapshoot, never knowing how the loaf will turn out or whether it will actually taste good?

Yesterday it finally came through to me that I didn’t have to use mixes, didn’t have to follow recipes. The result is quite wonderful. Here’s my recipe for breadmaker spelt bread:

Crust setting: dark

1 c minus 1 T lukewarm water (err on the cool side if you’re not sure)
2 T canola oil
2 T maple syrup
½ t liquid lethicin
2 c spelt flour
1 c white bread flour
3 T whey
1-½ t sea salt
2 t yeast

As the loaf begins to knead, have a spatula, some lukewarm water, and some white bread flour on hand to adjust the dough as needed. It should pull away from the pan as it kneads, but it shouldn’t be lumpy.

Enjoy. We are.