Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Who doesn't like homemade bread?

I love bread.  Its something my mother has almost always made from scratch.   Although she will deny it, she was a bit of a hippy in her day.  I grew up with homemade bread made from flour that she would buy in huge bags and store in trash barrels in the basement.  She would make white, oatmeal, rye and cinnamon raisin breads.  She has never been much of a whole wheat girl.  I remember when I was 8, going to school with my tuna fish on homemade white bread.  It was delicious, but everyone else had wonder bread, and so I thought I should too.  Silly me.

Now, it seems ridiculous that I would want something so awful.  There is nothing better than the smell of rising and baking bread.  The anticipation of that first slice to be slathered in butter, honey or homemade jam.  I can never wait as long as I should.  What I make however, is wheat bread.  Warm and nutty.

Since I had the canning class this summer, I've been asked to teach bread baking.  Time has gotten away from me, so I thought I'd post the recipe here.  The recipe is my mother's, but I've made quite a few changes over the years.

Whole Wheat Bread

3 C warm water ( you can use milk)
1/4 C honey
1 T salt
2 T yeast ( I use active dry)
7- 8 C flour ( can be all white, all wheat, or a combination)
Whole grain bread improver  1 T per cup of whole wheat flour used (optional)

Combine first 4 ingredients in bowl with 2 cups flour and whole grain bread improver if desired.  Beat for 2 minutes.
Add remaining flour until you have a nice cohesive dough.  You do not want it too dry.
Knead with Kitchen Aid or by hand for 8- 10 minutes.
Place dough in greased bowl, rolling dough in oil to make sure it is coated on all sides.  Place a clean kitchen towel on top and place in a warm place for 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in size.
Divide dough in half.
Gently flatten dough into a roughly 12x 6 rectangle.  Roll dough into a cylinder and place in greased bread pan.  Do this for each half.  You will now have 2 loaves.
Oil the top of the loaves and place kitchen towel on top.  Allow to rise for another hour.
Bake at 375 for 35-45 minutes.
When done, remove loaves immediately and allow to cool on a rack.
Try to be better than I am and don't slice into it for at least 15 minutes.

I generally make this with water instead of milk.  You can add up to 1 cup of oats, or other grains to replace some of the flour.  I almost never make this 100% whole wheat.  My family likes it best 50/50.


Stacy said...

Is the bread improver similar to vital wheat gluten?

kitsapFG said...

That's a fine looking loaf of wheat bread! I love homemade breads. There is something truly satisfying about a meal of homemade vegetable soup and a slice of homemade bread with butter.

The Mom said...

Stacy, it is similar. You could probably use them interchangeably.

Kitsap, that is one of the best winter meals.

Kerry said...

I can not wait to make bread!!