Baking Bread And Making Ice Cream

150313_BreadWhen you buy bread at the grocery store, you probably think it contains flour, water, salt, sugar, butter, and yeast, right? That’s really all that’s needed to create a nice loaf of bread, but there are actually a lot of additives in store-bought bread. Check the label.

Similarly, after the recent discovery that a brand of ice cream that we used to enjoy now contains carrageenan, we decided to finally use the ice cream maker that’s been sitting on the shelf.  We made vanilla ice cream, which contained heavy cream, half and half, sugar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Homemade Ice CreamBasically, the ingredients are mixed (sugar dissolved) and then chilled. Once it’s chilled from a couple of hours to overnight, it’s poured into the ice cream maker’s special bowl, which has been pre-chilled in the freezer. Turn it on, let it mix for 20 minutes, and viola! Soft serve ice cream…sans carrageenan. If you prefer hard ice cream, it firms up with time in the freezer. With summer coming, the possibilities are endless: peach, strawberry, blackberry…all sound delicious.

We make two loaves of bread at a time, and have found that using all whole wheat flour makes an unappealingly dense loaf; conversely, using all white flour makes a loaf with loft, but not much texture. Today’s loaves are a compromise: half whole wheat and half white flour. Yes, there is time involved in allowing the loaves to rise (and you can reduce that by using quick-rising yeast). Once they’ve risen properly, though, they just go into the oven and that’s it. For the time-pressed, bread machines can turn out pretty decent loaves, too.

So what’s so appealing about making your own bread and ice cream? Control. You have control over the ingredients and the handling. And there’s an undeniable sense of satisfaction when you see the beautifully browned loaves, smell the wonderful fragrance of baking bread, or taste that first pillowy spoonful of homemade ice cream. You did that, and you fed yourself something whole, good, and delicious. You’ll appreciate it in a way that you would never appreciate that spongy loaf from the store, or the brick of ice cream you bought.