Friday, May 13, 2011

Whoel Grain Bread = Super-stardome

I have been making my own whole grain bread for a couple of years now, and let me tell you something ladies, there is NOTHING like the smell of fresh bread baking to make you feel all warm and fuzzy, excited and calm, and like the world's greatest home-maker/wife/mother/super-lady... ever!  During the easy times, I try to make 4 loaves at a time in the oven and freeze 3 for later in the week, in the less easy times I have a bread machine adapted recipe that turns out wonderful, and in the "this is too hard, I need help!" times, I buy bread at the store... not too proud :)!

So, over the past 2 years, I would say I'm 50/50... 50% homemade and 50% store bought.  But you just try telling my 2-year-ago, new to bread-baking, convicted self that I would be buying bread from the store... gasp!... I would have said you were Crazy and swore I would NEVER do that again.  Well friends, life happens, and I have come to learn that home made bread should be a treat, not ANOTHER weight holding you down.  So, if you are doing good with the rest of your life, make this delicous recipe... if not, the store stuff sure is good, and sometimes if you're really feeling down, plop the bread machine recipe in and make yourself feel like at least you can do something right :).

Although I'm in an "easy" place right now, I have whole-heartidly embraced the bread machine.  I can prepare it in 5 minutes, during one of our schooling breaks, and by dinner, I AM super-mom (imagine how I feel on the days when not only is all the schooling done, but the house is clean, the laundry done, AND homemade bread is on the table!!).  I plan to have Anthony proficient in placing the ingredients in the machine soon, so then HE can be the celebrated super-boy at dinner, and eventually, when the kids are older and I need more for them to do, well be back at the 4... ehhh... maybe 8 loaves a week, hand kneeded and baked in the oven.

Traditional (oven) Whole Grain Bread
Makes 2 loaves  (double for 4 loaves... obviously...)

2 1/4 c water, warmed (or milk or buttermilk)
1 3/4 T yeast (not rapid rise)
1 c whole (not instant) oats
1/2 c + 1 t honey
6 T butter, melted
3/4 T sea salt
1 1/2 T Vital Wheat Gluten (optional)
5 1/2 c whole wheat flour

-Mix 1/2 c warm water, 1 t honey, and yeast, cover and allow to foam about 5 minutes
-In mixer (ONLY if you have a heavy duty one, if not, place in a very large bowl as this recipe will burn up your regular mixer!) add all other ingredients, except flour
-Add yeast mixture to rest of ingredients
-Add flour
-kneed 20 mins if by hand (come on, feel the burn!), 10 mins with a mixer
-place in a buttered bowl, cover with a towel, and place in a warm place, let double in size.
-punch... yep, literally punch... down, re-kneed and divide in 1/2
-shape 2 loaves by rolling the dough out into a rectangle and tightly rolling them into a spiral
-place in a buttered bread pan seam-side down
-set in a warm place and let rise until doubled in size
-place in a COLD oven THEN turn oven on to 350 degrees, bake for 30 mins
-Enjoy the best bread you've ever sunk your ever-livin'-teeth into!

Bread Machine Adaptation
Now, to give credit where credit is due, a lovely momma from the CLAA adapted this from the recipe above... thank you woman for this heavenly, life saving recipe!

-In seperate container, mix 1c + 2T warm water (or warm milk or honey) with 1t honey and 1T yeast, cover and let bubble for 5 mins
-In bread machine pan (with it in the machine, bottom stirrer on) add:

1/2 c oatmeal
3T butter, melted
1/4 c honey
1.5 t salt
1T Vital Wheat Gluten (optional)
2 3/4 c whole wheat flour
water and yeast mixture

Set to "quick whole wheat" setting, feel good about all the extra time you have now, eat a piece of chololate and wait.  In about 2 1/2 hours, guilt-lessly enjoy your homemade bread slatered with REAL butter... mmm... You WILL be a super-star!

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