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lifestyle

How to freeze home made bread

This week one of my friends asked me how I freeze and unfreeze my home made bread, she got a bit more adventures now during these pandemic times and I realize many people is baking bread for the first time now, so some tips might be useful for many people. Since I was a kid I watched and helped my mom making bread, she used to make 5 or 6 loaves at a time and we froze them as a whole. We were a big family and a new bread didn’t last long enough to get dry. Her bread was delicious, usually made using white flour, milk and eggs. I started making breads from scratch as soon as I moved on my own but I could never eat a whole bread before it gets dry, so I always freeze. Now a days my everyday bread uses whole wheat and seeds or grains, so I had to also learn a few new tricks. Today I want to share a few tips on how to finish and freeze your bread so you can enjoy in the rush or laziness of every morning.

It’s ok to refrigerate the dough and use another day!

Sometimes I don’t bake my bread on the same day. If I’m busy or if it’s too late, after my dough grew at room temperature, I store it on the fridge and bake the next morning. Some recipes (the ones with no eggs or milk) you can refrigerate for longer, two or even three days, but there is the risk your yeast will lose strength. So I make one day and bake usually on the same day or next. For my everyday bread I prefer to use a metal bake sheet so I can have more regular slices for my breakfast. I make bread in other shapes when I want something different for the weekends.

I just smash the dough on the bottom

Because the dough is still a bit cold I let it sit for around one hour until it doubles the size and looks nice and full.

Ready to bake!

Keeping the seeds on top of the bread

The secret for keeping those oats on the bread is to brush a mix of water and cornstarch before adding your toppings. This is valid for most breads with seeds on top. It works as glue and make the crust a bit more crunchy. (I use this mix for most whole wheat/seeds bread. For breads like brioche or breads with milk and eggs in the dough, the best topping is usually egg wash). Simply make your cornstarch mix and brush after the bread grew. Apply your seeds or oats and then make the cut on the top. The cut is there to help your bread open in that direction instead of crack on the sides, but not all recipes require that and if you forget it’s fine too.

My “drying rack”

Why use a drying rack for bread?

After baking I immediately take it out of the baking pan and place on a “drying rack”. I don’t have one now, I sold mine together with all my cooking gadgets before moving to Canada. So I’m using a dish in this picture, this way the bread can breathe and won’t get soggy underneath. The drying rack it’s much better because it distributes the weight of the bread and keeps its shape.

The crust is your protection!

Bread crust won’t let you dry

If you are going to eat the bread immediately, don’t let the middle be exposed to the air. Keep the bread “standing up” so it won’t get dry. Even if you leave your loaf outside for one day it usually will be all right as long as the middle is not “open” to the air. If I have visits I know we will eat the bread in just 2 days, so I don’t freeze, I simply keep in this position on a plate and cover with an upside down loose plastic or paper bag (just to avoid dust).

Get a slice from the middle, leave the ends for the end

Get your slices from the middle

Now if I’m freezing I wait until it’s totally cold and slice the whole bread. You should wait until it’s cold for 2 reasons: first because slicing a hot bread it will make a huge mess and it will crumble all over. And second because you will loose way more water and your bread will get super dry later. Use a serrated bread knife, if you don’t have one, buy one so you can slice it properly. A table knife will cut irregular slices and make a mess, a kitchen knife will smash your crust and make you angry.

If you want to eat a slice right now or any time later, always take it from the middle and keep the both ends of the bread. The crust will protect your bread from getting dry, so keep the crust around as long as you can.

Ready to freeze

Keep the slices together and avoid extra air

My breads are small and I usually keep them in a large zip lock bag. If I make a very large bread, I reuse a bag from my last store bought bread. While packaging, keep the slices together and make the whole as compact as you can. Take as much air from the bag as possible, you don’t want to open a bag full of ice crystals. Never ever freeze a hot bread, because the water vapor will become ice and your bread will lose the original texture. Find space on your freezer to keep your bread nice together and with a good shape. That’s it! Every morning take out a slice from the middle and put directly on a toaster for a few seconds and voila! Fresh bread with amazing texture every morning!

I hope you enjoyed these tips and you are having an amazing time baking! I believe the quarantine times are getting to the end for most of us, but some new habits are here to stay. Thanks for reading!

Categories
lifestyle

Corona life

Hi! I’m sorry it’s been a while since last time I posted. How much things changed in just one month! Last post I was planning to sew a quilt, organizing things for my family visit and excited about new projects. In just few weeks I lost my job, all travel is suspended and I’m in saving mode now, trying to work on projects with materials I already have. No prospect of visits, not going out. Just waiting quietly at home for all this to pass and thinking I’m lucky because I have a great house, EI will cover me for a while and I have lots I can do.

I love my cozy house

I cannot avoid feeling a bit depressed about the whole pandemic situation, but let’s talk about fun stuff: what was done this last 4 weeks.

The basement upgrade – few updates

Before all corona crisis I was able to go to Ikea and buy a few boxes and other things to organize my basement. Take a look on these adorable boxes they had.

I love my new boxes, they are so cute!

I know I’m still hoarding so many art supplies but I’ll try to slowly use my art materials or give them away. We will see. I have extra time and I hope to feel inspired again.

Still there is too much information!

I thought about stapling some fabric behind the shelves to cover the computer cables, make some curtains for the base shelf and maybe add some linen to the drawers on the left, I don’t like how everything is exposed. I’m still thinking about solutions.

Speaking about hiding ugly stuff, I’m quite glad about the new visual behind the sofa. I used 3 blinds from Ikea and now you cannot see the laundry from the office. It feels more cozy and now I also have some space to hide extra shoes behind the couch. Take a look:

The laundry totally visible before
Ikea cheap blinds now hide the laundry
And I got some room to hide shoes and other stuff behind the sofa

The last upgrade I did in the basement was to find a box with some pieces of wood floor. I simply spread around an old rug and it looks like I have new floor!

I had just 12 pieces of wood, so that’s all I could do but it looks cool!

Later I’ll add more pictures to the walls, I have tons. So far so good! A bit at a time.

Small traditional crochet table runner

I got a fine thread the other day just for fun and I actually loved! I didn’t start too ambitious, I found a pattern online for a table runner made with squares so I tried a few squares just to see how the thread works

Kinda wonky beginning

I was not sure how this was going to turn out but I was persistent and decided to keep working. What a surprise! I loved it! I like the feeling of working small stitches and also the delicate result. After a few hours of work this is what I got:

I love it! Can’t wait to get more thread and make many new pieces. I want to add crochet on everything now, towels, dishcloths, make a cover for my bed, I’m obsessed with the tiny delicate patterns. Its fun and easy, it just requires a bit of patience. However I got a huge pain in my arm and I need to be careful with my posture when I’m working. But isn’t it worth it?

Cooking life

I also did a ton of cooking during the last weeks, some are not so photogenic but it’s been fun to cook with no pressure (I have lots of time now that I’m unemployed). My husband said he is very happy with this “pandemic food”. We need to find some reason to laugh, right? Here are some highlights.

A delicious trout with vegetables and butter/lemon sauce
This super cute home made burgers in a home made bun

There was lots of other food I did, like cakes, salads, stews and even a moussaka but there were not so pretty on the picture (although they were delicious). Food has been just fine!

The dance lounge

Before the whole corona crisis I was planning to create an Arabic lounge downstairs for some of my guests. It would be an extra guest bedroom but stylish and fun. Anyways those plans are over for now. But why leave the space totally empty? I found some old coloured lamps and some Christmas lights and voila, now we have a dance lounge to enjoy during the isolation time.

It’s still messy but it’s fun!

So that’s how is how things are here at home. I’m sad about our cancelled plans, worried about vulnerable people and not very optimistic about the near future. But life goes on. I’m working on a crochet blanket and if I get motivated again I’ll paint the pictures I’ve been planning for my kitchen and bedroom for a long time. Keep in touch and stay healthy and safe. Good luck for all of us!

Categories
lifestyle

Updated decor and some recipes

Yesterday I put away all my Christmas decorations and since I was in the mood, I changed a few things around the house. Check it out.

During Christmas you come in and see our fun cute socks and I was using this cabinet as a sideboard. Here is another angle:

We never found the garland for the stairs as we wanted (I wanted some very fluffy ones). I also forgot to buy some red candles and didn’t find nice / affordable Christmas pillows. No problem! Our biggest challenge here is that our dining table was in the kitchen.

I forgot to take a picture of the whole table but there it is on the left of the picture. The good things about having the table there is that it’s wood floor and there are lots of space.

And there was space for the Christmas tree so it was all fine! We made some hand painted ornaments, like the cover of this post, it was fun! But I had to offer dinner for guests in the kitchen.

So yesterday I changed a bit. All Christmas is gone and this is the new deal:

The orange chairs are in the window and the sideboard became an extension of our tv rack. We are not using the balcony until the summer anyways, so I like the chairs there now. Definitely would love to put an area rug and curtains, also I’ll add a few things on the sideboard in the future.

Dining table is now squeezed a bit but it fits! Now I feel the chairs are way too mismatched, so maybe I’ll buy another one to match the 3 vintage ones and put the Ikea dark chair in another place. Maybe I’ll also paint all of them the same color, not sure yet. And now in the living room not sure if I’ll keep this green.

Dining room is a bit tight but at least it’s integrated in the living room. The worst aspect is the carpet, but this is a rented house and there’s not much to do about it.

Since that kitchen side was completely empty, I tried to fill it in, that’s what I got:

The white canvas will become paintings, I’ll do some botanical illustration. This table is not staying, I’m planning to get a small wood kitchen island in the future, if we get used to this layout. Those shelves were downstairs with my art supplies (that now are all over the basement!). I’ll think about the basement next week.

My simple hack for keeping the plates still: I used this thick double sided tape. If I like the new set up I’ll cut a small piece of wood and attach to the shelf to make it safer.

During Christmas season I didn’t cook a lot but I got a simple iron cast pan, look at this frittata, I loved it

I also found a ton of great Brazilian ingredients at Minas Steakhouse (their store is great!) so here is “dried meat in the pumpkin”. I even cook some home made requeijão (a Brazilian spread cheese). Both recipes were successful here at home.

And last but not least , one of our visits brought us flowers and in the last days I was keeping beside the oven and I loved, look how cute

Then I was checking kitchens I like in Pinterest and they all have an utensil holder with lots of nice wooden spoons exactly on that place, so I guess I’ll adopt a nice cute thing on the side of the oven always.

And that’s it for today! Tomorrow I’m back to work and our classes start this Saturday, so that means I’ll be busy again. I hope I can manage to still post from time to time. Thanks for reading!