Thursday, May 20, 2010

Adventures in Bread-baking (week 3)

Are you tired of me posting about bread yet? Sorry. This is discovery time for me, and...well...this is my blog and my blog is where I chronicle whatever is going on in my life. Bread.

I think I have found "my" whole wheat bread recipe--the one I'll use over and over. It's basically THIS RECIPE except that I use all honey (no molasses) and I end up using 4 cups whole wheat and 3 cups all purpose flour.

My kids were eating sandwiches yesterday and they said, "Mom, this tastes like REAL bread. Like we'd usually eat." I asked what "real" bread tasted like and Taevy said, "You know mom. Like from a store. It's good for sandwiches." She's right. This stuff tastes pretty much like whole wheat bread from the store. Scratch that--whole wheat HONEY bread from the store. [Note: We all still LIKE the nice yummy devoid-of-nutrition white bread I have been making, but the point is to eat healthier.]

Did you notice how TALL the loaves are? That's right! The yeast and I have come to a truce. I buy the "25% more better-for-wheat packets of yeast, and the yeast stay a live. However, to seal the deal I had to promise to always put the loaves in a nice warm oven to rise. [They like that.] I turn the over on 170, wait for it to get to temp, then turn it off and let some of the warm air out, then let the dough rise in the warm (but not too warm) oven. The yeast gets all bubbly and happy in there. It's just one small thing I can do for the little yeast-buddies!
I decided to get a little funky with it and on a whim, I roiled out one of the loaves into a rectangle. Then I spread coconut oil on it. Then cinnamon and sugar. And just to really throw a wrench into it, I sprinkled liberally with some cinnamon raisin granola. How bad could it be, right?
The end result was a slightly sweet bread with a granola crunch! LOL! It is GREAT toasted with honey and butter, or as cinnamon toast. Yum!

It's fun to feel my confidence rising (along with my yeast). Kneading feels natural (and good). There's an art to forming loaves, and I feel like I'm getting better every day. I'm feeling free enough to mess around with a recipe--to make it my own--without worrying that it's all going to go to waste. Worst case scenario is that we end up with some sort of hard soup bread, right? It's fun, this bread-baking. And it really takes very little time. Most of the time it's just sitting in a bowl rising. Any stay-at-home or work-at-home mom could add this to the schedule a few times a week (4 loaves a week is really all my bunch needs). If I can do it, anybody can do it!


Renee 7:29 AM  

Yippeee! It's absolutely BEAUTIFUL!

You are a rock star Miss Anita!

Cora 2:50 PM  

I don't mind hearing about your bread it looks so yummy!

The Hullingers 3:03 PM  

I'm a few steps behind you in the bread-baking,so I am really enjoying your posts! That bread looks delicious, too.

The Last Crusade 3:13 PM  

Keep on talking about your bread! You've inspired me. We have been doing the whole meat and veggies from farmers thing for awhile. Bread was something I never thought about til you said it. Hopefully mine will look that good someday!

Patty 6:49 AM  

I am totally going to try this recipe---looks yummy! I've also been wanting to try bread making for awhile. Just started summer vacation, so I'm going to give it a shot. Thanks for being my inspiration!

A. Gillispie 10:35 PM  

To all of my bread-baking buddies....this wheat bread looks good and tastes great fresh, but it doesn't stay fresh as long as I want it to. =-( It tastes fine, but really starts crumbling after a few days. Might be adding some vital wheat gluten to get more elasticity out of it!

Mama D.'s Dozen 11:05 AM  

I think it's time to recommend just one thing ... grinding your own wheat.

Yep! Sounds so totally old fashioned and time consuming. But, it's not. We grind our own wheat for morning pancakes or waffles. And, we grind our own wheat for Mama's Honey Wheat Bread. (Oh yes ... you are definitely motivating me to get out those bread pans.)

We buy 50 lb. bags of hard red wheat and 50 lb. bags of soft white wheat. Then, instead of having to use 1/2 and 1/2 with bleached white flour, we just use 1/2 and 1/2 of the red wheat and white wheat.

Oh my! So yummy!

You might want to visit for the amazing kitchen tools (wheat grinder) and the bread recipe I use.

We spent a couple hundred dollars on our wheat grinder, and it has worked perfectly for the past 10 years. Definitely worth the money. (And, we save a lot of money by purchasing wheat rather than processed flour.)

Looks good, Anita! You've motivated me.