Baking Over the Holidays

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I just wanted to share a few of the things I tried out over Christmas break. I've really got into the mood for homemade staples. I'm not really strict about only baking things that I know what goes into them. I realize this is important to many people and although I value it I prefer to do it simply for the taste. I think homemade taste better when it comes to certain things. I was raised on a farm and lived a field over, yes that how we measure, from my grandparents and my grandmother made some amazing bread. She made homemade blackberry jam and my dad would tell me about all the things his grandmother made from scratch like cobblers and butter. Mind you this woman was still doing this well into the 70's if not 80's when you could go buy your butter.

I've tried my hand at bread on several occasions but its really a gamble and I've never been able to do it on a regular basis with great success. Then I found a no knead bread recipe. I watched a lot of videos to better understand everything because I learn a lot from just watching. I've been very pleased with my results and all 3 batches have turned out lovely on my pizza stone.

I did a few variations included a Lemon Parmesan with Thyme & Rosemary. I used the guidelines and ideas from Simply So Good and you can find her recipe here. I also watched multiple videos by Artisan Bread with Steve on YouTube and you can find his channel here

Today I took some of my Lemon Thyme and Rosemary Bread and made it into croutons.

I simply scanned the internet for recipes and found that giving the bread a good coat of olive oil that had been mixed with whatever seasoning you like and then spread on parchment paper to bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes did the trick. I learned a few things that I may attempt next time, one of them being more uniform in my cutting, and perhaps forgoing the parchment. It really helped save the left over ends that I really didn't want to toss after all my hard work. 

The next thing I had to try was homemade butter. 

I took me about 3 minutes in my food processor and this was another one that I scanned the internet for and watched videos to see what consistency I would be looking for. I plan on making a video so that everyone can see how the change happens. After washing it, which you do to prevent it from going sour, I mixed in some rosemary and thyme to compliment our bread and then left some plan. The taste is not that different and its really just something fun to do. I saved the buttermilk, the liquid that your left with, to make pancakes with in the morning. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of butter that I got from the heavy cream making it very worth my while. 

All in all it was time well spent and very enjoyable.