There are a few things that can really brighten my day when I'm feeling low, and one is a freshly baked loaf of homemade bread! I am a lover of bread.
My family started making our own bread each week when I was a young girl. Now we started from scratch...we ground our own wheat into fresh flour right before we used it in the recipe. We had a Bosch grinder and mixer which are so wonderful, and maybe someday I'll have my own to use. Since we used to live in Kansas, we had farmer friends who sold wheat and we were able to have buckets and buckets of red and white wheat to use. I am so thankful that my siblings and I could take part in helping. I feel so confidant in the kitchen now, and nutrition has become so important to me and Landon.
The problem with bread in stores now is that there is a loss of nutritional value. The thing I look for when buying bread is 100% whole wheat or whole grain. And I also look for a very small ingredient list. The less I see long words I can't pronounce, the better. Now I'm not putting down store-bought bread. Sometimes you can find some great bread, but you usually have to pay a lot more. I love making our own bread because it's so incredibly cheap and easy and healthy! Since I don't have my own wheat and grinder, I like to buy 100% whole wheat flour. If I have to buy white flour, I look for unbleached flour that hasn't been enriched. Bob's Red Mill is a great brand for high quality flour. Plus, they also offer a variety of flours like rice and soy and even gluten-free flour. You can usually find Bob's Red Mill products in most large grocery stores and health food stores.
Whole wheat is my favorite bread to make, but I also love to try specialty breads. I love making French bread, pizza dough, cinnamon rolls, herb bread, soft pretzels, and so many more. Some breads I'm going to try now that we're settling into our new place are: focaccia, bruschetta, asiago bagels, panettone, and some german black bread.
Now I will share with you the recipe that Landon and I use for bread. We use a mix of white and whole wheat flour so it's a bit lighter. We also use honey in this recipe because it's a natural sweetener and we can buy it in bulk.
Honey Whole Wheat Bread
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
3-1/2 to 4 cups unbleached white flour
2-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 pkg. active dry yeast
2 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1/2 cup honey
3 Tbsp. oil
In large bowl, combine 2 cups unbleached white flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour, the yeast, and salt and mix well.
In saucepan, heat milk, water, honey, and oil until a thermometer reads 120-130 degrees F (warm). Add liquid mixture to flour mixture along with the egg and stir to combine. Beat this batter for 3 minutes. Then, gradually stir in rest of whole wheat flour and enough remaining white flour to form a firm dough.
Sprinkle work surface with flour and knead dough, adding more flour if necessary, for 5-8 minutes until smooth and satiny. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning the dough in the bowl to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour, until double in bulk.
Punch down dough and divide into 2 pieces. On lightly floured surface, roll or press each piece of dough to a 14x7" rectangle. Starting with shorter side, roll up tightly, pressing down, into greased 9x5" bread pans, making sure short ends of bread are snugly fitted against the sides of the pans. Cover and let rise in warm place until the dough fills the corners of the pans and is double in bulk, 30-40 minutes. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 35-40 minutes, until the bread is golden brown. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.
Here are two examples of breads I've made: Honey Whole Wheat, and Old World French Bread.