Making Bread at Home

I guess we’re late to the party on this one since making bread at home was popular last year, but we decided to get an automatic bread maker to use at home. I guess it makes more sense now since there aren’t huge flour shortages. I’d have been pretty disappointed if we bought a bread maker but couldn’t get flour.

The machine arrived yesterday and I decided to use it right away. I was too excited to wait so I was up late making bread. Or rather, watching the machine make bread. It’s bizarrely easy. I was worried about the results because of some of the reviews on the product page but I had zero issues even with using oat milk instead of cow milk. I think people were just using poor quality flour or yeast and expecting miracles.

A freshly baked 1-lb loaf of “basic white bread” made using the Cuisinart CBK110P1 automatic bread maker

The texture of the bread is thick like “artisan” bread you buy from the deli/bakery in the grocery store and not spongey like pre-packed bread in the bread aisle. It was thick, heavy, and slightly chewy. On the medium setting, the crust was firm without being hard on the teeth. I’m not sure I’d want to use the darker setting.

Most importantly, it tasted good. It tasted real. The basic white bread loaf seems like it would be best with butter, jam, or dipped in soup. I’m going to give the sandwich bread recipe a try.

This machine will also just knead and manage the rising of the dough for you so all you have to worry about is shaping and baking. It will even make pizza dough and pretzels.

I’ve wanted to make my own bread and do more baking. This takes the hard work out of it and lets me just have fun while making clean, better quality bread at home.

The only thing I found really odd is that today the product page is missing from Amazon. I wonder why? It’s still listed on Cuisinart’s own site.

Baking flaky biscuits for two in cast iron

As a kid, when we visited my grandmother in Georgia on the weekends she would make biscuits from scratch. Biscuits and bacon gravy. I always looked forward to eating breakfast there. It was like having a feast every week and different family members would show up each weekend. I’d still be going to her house every weekend if I lived in Georgia, but I’d be doing the cooking now I think.

About a year ago I decided that I should learn how to make biscuits for myself and I did some research online to find a good recipe. Something fast, simple, and reminiscent of how my Nana makes them. I wound up finding this recipe:

Watching this guy cook in a cast iron skillet got me interested in using cast iron as well, but getting involved with cast iron is a pretty serious commitment so I held off for quite a while before I bought a 12″ cast iron skillet. There’s a lot of preparation involved in seasoning cast iron and it was daunting at first. Now that I have the hang of it, it doesn’t seem that tough at all. And cleanup is a breeze, if you’re using them right anyway.

You can’t really cook flaky biscuits for two in a 12″ cast iron skillet, though. I mean, you can, but it’s not practical, especially since that’s where the bacon will be frying. So, I was using a 9″ cake pan. A few weeks ago I finally picked up a smaller cast iron pan and after seasoning it a few times in the oven, I finally used it to bake some biscuits.

I’m not sure if it’s just in my head, but I felt like the texture and flavor of the biscuits was a lot better this time around. And even if it is just in my head, what difference does that make? It was fun, felt good, and tasted good. And now I’m carrying on a tradition from my childhood, even if it’s just for my wife and I.