Troubleshooting Tips to Help You Bake the Perfect Loaf of Bread

Have trouble baking homemade bread? Get answers to the most common bread baking questions to help you turn baking flops into bread you'll love.

I got a phone call from an old friend yesterday.  As we were talking, his recent bread baking mishaps came up.  He told me, “Next time we’re over for a visit, you have to show me how to bake bread.  I’ve been trying, but one loaf of bread was flat, another loaf of bread looked great and then in caved in, and I just can’t get my bread to turn out right.”  Since he and the family won’t be able to come and visit until summer, I decided to write up a list of troubleshooting tips to help you bake the perfect loaf of bread, or at least bread that won’t do double duty as a door stop.  We’re going to tackle things in a question and answer format, so hopefully if there’s a question you’ve run into while bread baking, you’ll find it in the list. [Read more…]

Best Ever Cornbread Recipe

Best Ever Cornbread recipe with Gram Irene's Secret Ingredient - always moist and delicious.

Whenever I make homemade baked beans, I always make up a batch or two of cornbread to go with them.  We call it “cowboy food”, although I’m sure the cowboy version would have been a lot simpler and probably not nearly as tasty.

I got this recipe from my mom (Irene), after having tried it at her place and commenting on how good it was.  The texture is great – really moist and tender, not dry and gritty.  The “secret” is in the sour cream.  I’m sure you could make it with whole wheat flour, although I admit, I normally use white or a gluten free blend like Namaste.  I recommend full fat dairy, organic if you have it. [Read more…]

Betty’s Buttermilk Rye Bread

Betty's Buttermilk Rye Bread @ Common Sense Homesteading

I love my country neighbors!  Last week my son’s piano teacher, Betty, stopped by with extra cucumbers from her garden and fresh baked cookies.  She stayed to practice duets with my son on his new keyboard.  Afterward she and the boys played a board game together.  Betty and her husband, who just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, have a nice garden and many edible plantings.  They cook pretty much everything from scratch.  In the past I’ve shared her No Canning Required Dill Pickle recipe, and how I preserved some excess asparagus that she shared from their patch and making pear wine with some of their excess pears. [Read more…]

Leftover Mashed Potatoes? Make Potato Bread

Potato Bread Recipe Using Leftover Mashed Potatoes - easy to make, great sandwich bread.  Recipe can be doubled, freezes well.

Quite often when I make mashed potatoes for supper, I end up with just a dab (less than a cup) of potatoes left – not really enough for another meal.  So how do you stretch a small amount of potatoes into another meal sized portion?  One option is chicken and gnocchi soup, another favorite option is potato bread.

Most of the “potato bread” recipes I’ve seen used powdered mashed potatoes – not something I keep in my pantry  My husband used to be a fan of store bought potato bread when we were first married – you know kind that resembles cotton candy in bread form?  (Pretty sure they use potato flakes…) I was tickled to finally find a recipe that uses real mashed potatoes.  I throw mine in just the way I serve them – butter, milk, salt and pepper included. [Read more…]

Duncan’s "Meat in a Loaf"

Duncan's Meat in a Loaf @ Common Sense Homesteading

A while back, my youngest requested “meatloaf” for supper.  I was somewhat taken by surprise, as I was not aware that he preferred meatloaf as a meal.  Just to make sure we were both talking about the same food item (he can a be rather creative in his wording at times), I described the dish that I thought he was requesting – ground beef, bread crumbs, eggs, seasonings, all baked together in a loaf shape.  As it turns out, it was a good thing I asked, because he had something entirely different in mind.

What he was looking for was meat in a loaf, that is, meat inside a loaf of bread.  I had thrown together something like this together when I ended up serving a crowd unexpectedly and wanted to stretch some leftover spaghetti sauce into a meal.  Here’s what I did. [Read more…]