Monday, June 22, 2009

Gung ho?

Apparently, this term doesn't mean what I thought it did.
" This unofficial motto of the US Marine Corps is an abbreviation for the Mandarin Gongye Hezhoushe, or industrial cooperative. The term was used in China, starting in 1938, to refer to small, industrial operations that were being established in rural China to replace the industrial centers that had been captured by the Japanese. The phrase was clipped to the initial characters of the two words, gung ho (or gung he, as it would be transliterated today), which means "work together." This clipping became a slogan for the industrial cooperative movement."

Here I was, thinking I was all gung ho over bread making, but it turns out I'm probably just mildly OCD with a very addictive personality.

I made my first loaf of sandwich bread yesterday. I'm really excited about it, because it is 100% whole wheat, and I was told that could be tricky to master. Not that I actually mastered it. All I had on hand was a Pyrex loaf pan, which really isn't the best tool, and I think that's why the bread was slightly more chewy than I would have liked. But still.

I really hate cooking, and I only slightly tolerate baking. And the only reason I put baking above regular cooking is because baking always tastes better.

I do feel that it's very important to feed my family healthy foods, but it's always so damn expensive!
I have high hopes for our organic vegetable garden, and I'm extremely grateful to have children who prefer raw vegetables to cooked! I'm also trying to figure out ways to cut back on meats, which is really hard when you already spent a good 6 years trying to get a child to eat a frickin hamburger and finally succeeded! But my big thing lately has been the cost of whole grain breads. Our family goes through so much bread that I actually did resort to Shoprite's completely nutritionally void 99 cent white bread. And anyone with half a brain knows that the only thing that's good for is $hi! on a Shingle. A meal that also involves way too much fat and a million preservatives. And I've been craving it for days now!

So, I bit the bullet and tried my hand at bread making. So far, 3 out of 4 kids have given it the green light, and the fourth is on her way home from Grandma's.

But then comes the obsessive aspect. I found Pleasant Hill Grain.

Making an average of 7 loaves of bread each week sounds like a monumental task. Certainly a Bosch mixer would help me out. And, instead of buying bags of flour that have sat on the store shelf for a while, wouldn't it be great to buy 45lb buckets of wheat berries and grind them fresh every week in a Nutramill? Of course, I'll also need a great set of loaf pans, and I may as well throw in a few cute bagette pans. I could use decent cooling racks. That gadget for slicing bread evenly would be awesome! And, while I'm thinking about it, I'm in the market for a knife sharpener.

I'm also busy thinking about all of the great recipes I should try. Whole wheat bagels, sandwich rolls, english muffins, waffles (oops, need a new waffle iron while I'm at it!), pita pockets, pizza dough...

I wonder if I can call it "gung ho" if I'm able to rope the kids into cooperating. I'm going to need a lot of help!


Something Happened Somewhere Turning said...

Never even tried to master the craft, but I have been know to roll out some homemade noodles. That is something the kids might get into.

Patty said...

I'm thinking it would be a lot cheaper to go back to buying commercially made bread LOL.

PearlsOfSomething said...

Ooh, we haven't done noodles in quite a while. That might be a great idea for tonight!

Patty, I know! I just get so wrapped up in the excitement, lol.

Now I want to go research pasta makers. @@

Janet said...

I made bread by hand for over a year before giving in a buying a Kitchenaid Pro 600. I love that silly mixer! While the bread is kneading I can unload the dishwasher or start a load of laundry. It's been about 60% less expensive to bake my own whole grain bread and we've really enjoyed the fresh bread :-) Our weekly yield is about 5 loaves of bread and 2 batches of rolls. There's an awesome recipe for 40 minute hamburger buns on We substitute half wheat flour and can have buns whenever we want- without planning ahead.

Good luck with your baking! I make my baguettes (sp?) by shaping two long narrow strips on a baking sheet. Before rising we cut diagonal slices in the top of the loaves. They look like something you'd buy fresh at the grocery store. Baking was my least favorite activity until I realized how much money we were spending on bread products. Since then I've trained myself to love it.