I enjoy baking bread

Ed went to a coin auction so I was at home alone with the dogs, enjoying the cooking channel’s celebration of Christmas.  I like most things about that channel — the voices are familiar, the commercials aren’t upsetting — well, usually they aren’t — and I’m fascinated enough to actually pay attention to it when I’m not actually asleep in my warm nest on the sofa.

I paid attention so well today that I longed to actually make bread, so, why not give it a try!  So try I did, and here’s the result.

At first it was going to be a very simple single grain garlic bread.  But oops! Ed had left most of the bread flour out of reach.  I had enough to make bread (about 3 cups is enough to form a good gluten sheath) but that’s not enough to make a big loaf.  So my bread had to be multi-grain.  Which grain?  Of the flours within reach I chose oatmeal. I’m in the mood for multiple textures — a slightly crispy crust, a very soft yet slightly chewy crumb, moist, tender.  I added a couple of handfuls of whole grain quick cooking oats.  Obviously I need more moisture.  Toss in an egg for richness, and about half of a cup of warm milk.  I really appreciate the feeling of kneading dough, so I add a tiny bit at a time until the bread feels ready to rise for the first time.

There’s already a good pesto sauce in the refrigerator so I put 3 garlic small garlic cloves through my garlic press, combined the pesto with the now minced fresh garlic,  cut the only cheese we had in the refrigerator (Colby and Monterey Jack), and dozed on the sofa until Ed came home.  He put the bread in the oven at 400°F,  lowered it to 350 25 minutes later, and, in an hour we had a lovely (if plain) loaf of bread.  We let that cool long enough so the bread was comfortable to handle, then sliced the same way one would slice a “Blooming Onion” in a tic-tac-toe pattern.  The softened butter and pesto we spread between the cuts, cheese was more or less stuffed into the slices, the of the cheese went on top — then back into the oven until the cheese was nice and gooey.  At which point we did what we usually do with fresh bread and ate!