There is nothing better than the smell of home baked bread. I bake my own bread a couple times a week. The taste is superior to the store bought stuff and the smell is heavenly. I can wait just long enough for the bread to cool enough to handle before I slice off a thick crusty end, slather it with real butter and a drizzle of honey and….Mmmmmmm!
Most of my friends can’t believe that with my hectic life, I still make time to bake my own bread. Like, maybe I don’t know that I can buy a bag of bread at the store. It just isn’t the same. There are a few things that just shouldn’t even have the same name when compared to the real deal. Bread tops my list. Truly, though, it only sounds like it’s time consuming. It certainly tastes like I spent all day kneading and sifting, and whatever else people think that I do. What really happens, is that I spend 5 minutes throwing ingredients in my kitchen aid mixer bowl, attach the dough hook, and let it mix and knead for me. After about 7 minutes, I toss it in a bowl greased with butter and lay a damp towel over the top. I don’t usually hang out to wait for it to rise. I go about my normal day (or night) until the dough starts to poke the towel up in the center and then punch it back down, wait a minute for it to reshape in the bowl and then load the whole glob into a greased loaf pan. Again, I go about my business (usually laundry, but sometimes it’s feeding the baby!), and wait for the dough to rise above the pan rim. When it does, I pop it in the oven for 35 minutes. If at any time during the rising, I have to run an errand or leave the house for any reason, I pop the whole dish in the fridge. The cool air will halt the rising until I’m ready to start up again.
So, yes, the whole process takes the good part of the day. But the actual work? About 15-20 minutes total. TOTAL! For home baked bread! And I get the free smell to go with it for the rest of the day!
The other foods I think are worth the extra work? Macaroni and cheese. Strawberry jam. Buttermilk pancakes. Cookies. Tortillas (yes, I make my own tortillas! They are out of this world!). Salsa. Tomato Soup.
I don’t have time to give you the recipes for everything tonight, but this should get you started!
This bread is delicious right out of the oven with nothing but a thin layer of real butter, toasted, or used as a sandwich bread. My middle daughter won’t eat anything but this bread toasted with butter or peanut butter for breakfast. A loaf rarely lasts more than a few days! I should have taken a photo last night when I made it…it’s half gone already, but you get the idea!
If you have a kitchen aid mixer, put that dough hook to good use. It will do all the work for you!
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cups bread flour (or all purpose)
1 cup uncooked oatmeal
1 1/2 Tbsp salt
1 pkg active dry yeast
3 Tbsp warm water
3 Tbsp maple syrup or honey
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 1/4 cup milk, warmed
1. Mix the yeast and the water with a small drizzle of honey or syrup in a small measuring cup. Set aside for 5-10 minutes.
2. Mix the flours with the oatmeal and the salt in a mixing bowl. Stir gently.
3. Add the milk, butter, and syrup. Add the yeast mixture. Mix until well combined.
4. Use dough hooks in an electric mixer or knead the dough until smooth and attic. Approximately 5-7 minutes in the mixer or 7-10 minutes by hand.
5. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl covered with a damp towel in a warm place free from drafts. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
6. Punch dough down and knead for one minute. Place in lightly greased loaf pan. Let rise in warm place, free from drafts, covered loosely with a damp towel. Bread is ready to bake when it has risen one inch above the rim of the pan, about 1 hour.
7. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.
8. Make sure you try a slice fresh and warm right out of the oven… with a pat of real butter and raw honey drizzled on top…so delish!
This recipe was adapted from a recipe by King Arthur Flour.