Baking Bread: Sourdough French Bread

Making bread is fun!

That is certainly not what I used to think though! Working with yeast scared me. And working with sticky dough even more!

Today’s bake is a sourdough french bread that I could use to make garlic bread.

I found a recipe for Sourdough french bread at Taste of Home.

I owe a lot to Taste of Home magazine. Reading through this magazine and then trying the recipes that looked interesting (and a few of its fellow magazines like Simple and Delicious and Light and Tasty) is how I learned to cook.

I had no idea how to cook when I got married 14 years ago. Yes, you should feel bad for Josh. I had many disasters!

We’ve come a long way since then. And even Josh knows how to cook now. He’s been busy working overtime for the past week though so I’ve been trying to make yummy dinners for him when he gets home. Not today though. Today we are going to our nephew’s birthday party! And we are bringing garlic bread.

I started my dough around 10:30 AM today.

My dough is all ready to rise for the next hour and a half.

This is about 20 minutes into rising time. I turned my oven on to 250 degrees F for about 5 minutes so that the dough would have a happy place to rise.

This is my dough after an hour and a half. This is a beautiful thing to see!

The dough was a little bit sticky but not impossible to work with once I got it out of the bowl.

I’m still learning about how slashing dough works. I might not have slashed these deep enough. Also, the lower loaf is a bit odd-looking. Since the dough was a little sticky, I had a hard time shaping it the way I wanted.
One thing I learned that I definitely need: a bench knife.  The crinkle cutter just doesn’t get all the dough off the wooden table I use for making bread.

I ended up with gorgeous-looking loaves anyway! Instead of using a cornstarch wash as the recipe states, I just brushed the tops of the loaves with egg white.

This looks like a good crumb.
I think I was finished with the loaves by around 1:30 to 2 PM. Not too bad on time.

My boys were actually disappointed that I was turning these loaves into garlic bread! They wanted to eat it just like it was. In fact, they kept trying to finagle more slices to “taste test.”

This pic doesn’t show how soft these loaves are. After I sliced them in half, I wanted to pillow my head on them!
I spread on some butter and sprinkled garlic salt and grated parmesan on each half loaf. Hopefully, I didn’t go overboard with the garlic salt. I probably should have just gone with garlic powder! Two of my middle children didn’t mind the garlic salt though. They loved it. My oldest told me it was too salty. As long as the kids eat the bread, I’ll be happy. There will be 12 children (all family) at the party after all! That’s a lot of little mouths! That many children makes for a lot of fun. 🙂



Homeschooling Post – Pros and Cons

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, but I haven’t had a chance to sit down and think it all out! Finally, I decided to just write this post as a draft, save it, and then come back and modify it until I think it is ready to be published.

Our curriculum: BJU Press Online, streaming video

Equipment: One Ipad, one laptop, and one desktop computer

Grades: 6th grade, 3rd grade, 1st grade

Extra-curricular: Piano lessons (all), flute lessons/band (6th grader), computer programming/video game design (6th grader), computer programming (3rd grader), art (1st grader, 3rd grader), recorder (3rd grader)

Pros to Homeschooling:

  1. Flexibility: I tend not to be very flexible, but our schedule does allow for going out for lunch with family, or taking a day off here and there for fun outings.
  2. Hot lunch: At school, my boys hardly ate anything at lunchtime. At home, they get a hot lunch every day (unless it’s peanut butter and jelly 🙂
  3. Bathroom breaks: My boys can go use the bathroom whenever they want. This is their favorite perk to homeschooling.
  4. Extra-curricular: We have time for fun stuff in the afternoon. Examples: Art, Lego Mindstorms (robotics and building), Computer programming, Board games, Puzzles, and Building Blocks
  5. Work at their own pace: There is very little dead time. Once they are done with one subject, they move on to the next one.
  6. No uniforms: Shorts and a T-shirt is their usual dress. 🙂
  7. Cost: Homeschooling is definitely cheaper than private school.

Cons to Homeschooling:

  1. The paperwork: I usually have paperwork coming out my ears.
  2. Small house: Six people stuck inside all the time all together in a small living area.
  3. The Toddler and The Preschooler: Yes, the two youngest are a con. lol They are very, very distracting to my 1st grader if they don’t feel like watching his classes.
  4. Socializing: I do miss seeing the other parents at school events. A lot of them are my friends, and their kids are my kids’ friends. Most of the time, we only see them at church.

Our schooling history:

I love our church-school and it has improved greatly since I went to school there! My oldest son went there until 4th grade. Tuition is not that expensive compared to other Christian schools in the area but about three years ago, I realized that we just could not afford to send 3 kids there at once. So homeschooling was our next choice. I was not too thrilled about this, and there are days when I wish they were going to the school (usually when I am grading papers and I feel like my kids might not be learning as much or as well as they should be). I have never felt like I would be a good teacher and actually taught 4th grade Science and Spelling at our church’s school in the afternoons for one semester. That was very difficult for me because I am not particularly fond of public speaking! One of the main reasons I like the streaming video classes is that I am not my kids’ teacher. If they have questions though, I can usually help them.

Our usual day:

Since 3 of my boys are taking piano lessons, we try to get music practice out of the way first. Practice takes about an hour and a half. We don’t start school most days until 9:30.

Before we start classes, we say the Pledge of Allegiance and pray that God gives us a good school day.

Lunch and recess are any time between 11 AM and 1 PM. Both together take up about an hour. Most days my boys are finished with their videos and worktexts around 2:30 PM. The early days are very nice. They can go play outside, or we can be ready to go somewhere as soon as Josh gets home from work.


We don’t usually let the kids watch television or play video/computer games (unless it is part of their computer programming classes) on weekdays. If it’s a weekday pizza night or the boys are done with daily chores early, we may let them. So my kids really, really look forward to Friday!

There are still many things that I feel like I need to work on. For example, how do I grade papers, do laundry, entertain the two youngest kids, and still get to the baking/cooking in the kitchen? And when do I go to the grocery store?

I have to admit that most of the time the grading ends up not done and the laundry is clean but not folded. I find ways to get out to the grocery store. It is a good thing that my boys are mostly self-motivated and get their work done without too much prodding from me. It also helps that we are all in the same room and it is easy for me to tell what they are doing.

So there are pros and cons to homeschooling just like everything else in life. I do know that we are doing what is best for our kids right now. And this is the most important thing: my kids enjoy homeschooling!


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