I have decided that heaven on earth is homemade bread. The smell, the taste ... yum! I've made bread for years, but usually in a bread machine. I've gone through three different machines in my married life. Eventually I just used it as a dough machine and would bake the loaves in the oven so that they would have a proper shape. But of course, with 6 kids, this was a rather inefficient use of my time.
Then my husband developed some health issues which could be helped by homemade bread, which I could custom make to what he needed. But I still usually bought bread from the outlet bakery for the rest of us.
Finally in the last several months, I've let go of the bread machine and started baking all our bread. I don't do it all "by hand" but use my 1000-watt motor Viking mixer to help with the mixing and kneading. But now I bake 3-5 loaves at a time, slicing and freezing what we won't use in the next couple of days. I've been combining and tweaking some basic recipes to find some that we like.
Now that I'm comfortable doing this, I'm ready to experiment. I've been reading about soaking the grains first, different grains to use, and all sorts of good stuff. I even went to a mini-seminar on bread baking today hosted by some friends cause I just love learning new tips on it. I think it's fascinating all different ways to make bread and how healthy it can be while being yummy at the same time. Since I have several in my family with baaaaad allergies and there's my husband's digestive conditions, I am interested to see if some of these things could help them.
Contrary to what I always thought, bread making isn't hard, even without the bread machine! It's actually quite satisfying. And of course, now that my family is used to it, if we eat store bought bread now we all think "yuck!"
Too bad we don't have smell-o-blogs. This stuff smells so good!