Cold Days and Warm Bread

I wrote yesterday about Anticipation – specifically two lovely boxes that were delivered to our home yesterday!

They sat patiently on the table through the night so I could photograph them in the morning light (cloudy and chilly, so different from yesterday – but that might actually be good – read on!) as I opened each and reveled in their contents.

The first box – Some interesting things from the Preservation catalog from Cabela’s:

Yes! This means that jerky, and hand-made(!) sausage(!) are coming in future months. The books I had already; I’ve been reading them over the past year as I’ve been increasingly interested in preserving meat. From Cabela’s, I ordered two different jerky seasonings and sausage casings (that’s the small blue packet). Next I need to get Instacure #1 and #2 and I’ll be ready to roll.

But the real treat, the real anticipation, was for the second box. The box from King Arthur Flour. (I’m getting excited again just typing up this blog post.)

Because this box means something special.

And not just these pretties that came inside…

It means a brand new adventure and challenge for myself – and for all of you out there who want to take this adventure with me. What was inside the box? These!

This box means BREADBAKING!

I’m going to teach myself how to make bread this winter. I’m calling it the ‘Cold Days, Warm Bread’ challenge.

It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while now: learn how to bake wonderful, yeasty, crusty, fabulous artisan breads.

I have tried yeast breads a few times – even going as far as attempting to create my own sourdough starter (a particularly spectacular failure and quite a mess to boot). However, I have never been very successful – even with the one loaf of bread that ‘worked,’ (thank you, Linda!) I can’t say that I’ve ever made any that tasted good. Certainly I haven’t come anywhere near a real understanding of the art and science of baking good bread.

With this challenge, I’m committing to baking at least one loaf of bread each week – good or bad, success or failure. Please join along as I stumble my way through the magic of yeasts and fermentation, of proper oven preparation and baking-environment management!

If you, like me, have never tried or have not yet felt successful in your bread baking, maybe you want to bake along? Or if you are an old pro, come along and help out those of us who are learning!

I am partnering on this challenge with the wonderful people at King Arthur Flour! During this challenge, I will have pro tips from their Baking Experts, as well as give-aways (!!!) of their incredible flours and other bread-baking wares. They are starting me off with some wonderful KAF products to begin:

Aren’t they incredible?! It’s no mystery why they are the industry’s leader and favorite for home (and professional) bakers. Seriously – take a look at how much they value education and helping home and professional bakers. It’s amazing.

For this challenge, I will be baking once a week as I learn new skills and work to better understand the magic that is artisan bread baking. Along the way, I’ll be talking about tools, education opportunities, and anything else I can think of that could be fun and interesting.

As I begin, I am reading these books to get going. I’ll also be talking with the lovely folks at the KAF Baker’s Hotline before I mix my first batch of poolish.

Are you ready? Let’s bake BREAD!

See my new “Cold Days, Warm Bread” page. I’ll be using that as an ongoing archive of all posts related to the challenge. Happy Baking!

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4 thoughts on “Cold Days and Warm Bread

  1. Michelle says:

    Ooo I’m excited to hear how it goes! I remember when Mom used to make bread- it always smells sooo good!

  2. Sounds like you are going to be eating well this winter! Glad we can be a part of it. Have fun!

  3. found your website on google and was just what i was looking for, keep it up 🙂

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