Bread had been my therapy. When things are crazy, the living room needs to be cleaned, I haven't showered in ages, I'm so comforted when I see the homemade bread on the counter. It's a small thing I do to pretend that I am a superior homemaker. And the gentle rocking that you do as you knead the bread for 6-10 minutes is so addicting you don't want to stop. Like a baby, I'm so comforted by the sway.
I've been baking and refining this bread recipie for about two years now. I now am at the point where I don't need to look at my recipe card and I barely need to measure. This bread is perfectly hearty, soft and sweet. This bread can be used with every meal. Breakfast: Bread slathered with Peanut butter. Lunch: Grilled Tuna fish sandwich Dinner: Soup and salad with bread on the side. And a snack: Toast with coffee. However, you shouldn't necessarily eat all those the same day unless you're an avid exerciser or fast growing toddler (don't give the toddler coffee either).
I started using this recipe, but over the years have changed it slightly. Here's the updated recipe. From start to finish, it takes 3 hours, but each step is small so you don't feel like you've been slaving away in the kitchen.
It makes 3 loaves. That means one for now, one for the freezer and another to give away to a neighbor or friend (or you can keep that one in the freezer too).
Mix the following:
-3 cups warm water (115 degrees)
-2 packages yeast - try to make sure your yeast is fresh.
-1/4 cup honey - you're best off if you can get a nice big mason jar of fresh local honey. It is far better tasting than the grocery store stuff and can even be good for allergies. Costs about the same, really.
-4 cups white bread flour - all purpose will work in a pinch.
-1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
-1 Tbsp Vital Wheat Gluten - you can make the bread without the gluten, but I find it just makes it a bit more fluffy and fool-proof. It can be found by the flour at the grocery store.
Cover that loosely with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes. It will get big and bubbly.
mix in small bowl:
-3 Tbsp. melted butter
-1 Tbsp salt
-1/4-1/3 cup honey
Mix these well and add to big bubbly bread dough.
Add in 2 1/2 cups more Whole Wheat Flour with a wooden spoon and eventually your hands. Knead in another 1 to 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour. The bread should be nice and smooth and elastic. If you don't have much experience kneading bread, watch this video.
Let rise in a greased bowl for about an hour. It should be double in size. It may need more time in the winter and less in the summer. Then put into 3 greased loaf pans and let rise for another hour*. Loaves should be about an inch above the top of the pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Remove from loaf pans, coat tops and sides with butter to keep the sides and top moist and let cool. If you are freezing, cover with saran wrap and aluminum foil as soon as it is cool and place in the freezer.
*sometimes I like to make cinnamon raisin swirl bread with this recipe. Or even whole wheat rolls tied into knots. Once you have the basics down, be creative. It's your bread. Enjoy it. Share it.
Check in tomorrow so I can show off my new vintage dress that I found today at the used clothing store. It is being held hostage until I return with cash. Who carries cash anymore?