Saturday, March 21, 2009

Review: Homestead Blessings The Art of Bread Making

Andrea and I have been bread makers for some time now. We have our disaster stories and from them came our motto: "You haven't failed at bread making until you burn the croutons." When a loaf doesn't come out right it's excellent crouton material in other words.

It's been a fun adventure through the years. Experimenting with different recipes, climates and critics. It's a challenge but it's well worth it nutritionally, for the flavors you can create and don't forget how it makes the home smell so wonderful. Bread making even affords the opportunity to be creative and artistic.

So when Andrea came across the Homestead Blessings DVD set she knew it would be right up our alley. (Follow the link above to watch a preview of the set)

So far we've had the opportunity to review "The Art of Bread Making" featuring the West Ladies Jasmine, CeCe, Vicki and Hannah; each a distinctly different and delightful personality.

Since we already know how to make bread we first analyzed their recipes and methods for accuracy. The West Ladies showed us they "more than know" how to make bread. We could tell it is a way of life for them. They are thoroughly knowledgeable and give all the essential basic information and instruction for the beginning bread baker. Their instructions were easy to follow. Their recipes were simple. The results are perfect and lovely. We were surprised to see that they didn't use a mixer. Everything was done by hand. There wasn't much kneading required with these recipes. We also appreciated how they did not over complicate things making the art of bread making relaxing and enjoyable. They inspired our creativity and artistry as well.

They offered a variety of recipes, more than how to make a standard loaf. But I have to mention, their standard loaf was amazingly light, puffy and simply incredible. You'll also learn how to make hamburger buns topped with sesame seeds, a cheesy herb pizza crust which they also turned bread sticks. At this point we were considering turning off the DVD and heading for the kitchen. But then they sprung the meal-in-a-loaf on us, which can be served as a breakfast, lunch or dinner meal, depending on what you put inside. Oh, and there was cinnamon rolls and cast iron corn bread too.

The DVD is full of tips. My personal favorite was how the West ladies continually show you how to create a variety within one recipe. If you have more than one food critic in your home you will appreciate this. They show you how easy it is to please everyone with one recipe. Andrea really liked how they used parchment paper. You can roll your dough on it or shape your meal-in-a-loaf on it and easily transfer your work of art from counter to pan with it because parchment is oven safe.

The kitchen setting was beautifully decorated with vibrant colors and was a mixture of old-fashioned, warm & cozy mixed with bits of modernity here and there. The West ladies personalities were just as vibrant and joyful as their setting, and like I said earlier, distinctly different. They are all very encouraging and I appreciated seeing them work together in different combinations, each taking turns with two on set for each recipe which was filmed from beginning to end.

All-in-all the Wests presented a friendly and light hearted atmosphere where bread making as easy to achieve, pleasant to do, with lovely results everyone in a family is going to enjoy.

The DVD also contains all the recipes presented on the film in the form of printable PDF files.

Happy Bread Making and don't forget to join The Great Homestead Blessings Contest.


The Whites said...

Hey, I've been wanting to see this for a while now, it sounds like a great dvd! Did they mention anything about how to deal with high altitude? I'm at a loss up here in the rockies...
- Beth

Miss Kelly and Miss Andrea said...

Hi Beth,
They didn't refer to high altitudes. They are in Tennessee if I remember correctly. Since you have a specialized need we recommend that you google "high altitude baking" to find how to alter your recipes for your location.