Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Baking Bread

One of my favorite things about autumn is that it is finally cool enough to bake bread. I love to bake bread every Monday. It makes me feel so happy and glorious.

So, I'm posting a poem that describes perfectly how I feel about my bread-making ritual. I'll also post my two favorite bread recipes.


Baking Bread
by Carol Lynn Pearson

There seemed more accusation
Than admiration
In Vivian's voice
When she said,
"Well, I wish I had time
To bake bread!"

And so sometimes when
The loaves were in the oven
And Vivian was at the door
Louise mumbled something about
Another bake sale again

And never even tried to explain
Her near-religious ritual:

How the flour on her fingers
Was the sun and the rain
And the earth

How the thump of her palms
On the dough
Was the dance of women
On the ancient threshing floor

How the smell of baking
Leavened her
And left her believing that
We rise, we rise

How the cutting
Of the first warm slice
For the first child home
Made her a bounteous goddess
With life in her hand.

Wonder Bread
(From mitten Strings For God by Katrina Kenison)

If you've never made bread before this is the recipe to start with. It is so easy and SO yummy.

Combine in a very large bowl:
4 Tablespoons Canola Oil
4 Tablespoons Honey
3 Tablespoons Salt (I prefer sea salt, but any salt will work)

8 Cups Warm Water
2 Tablespoons Yeast

Stir and wait 5 minutes, until yeast is dissolved and bubbling.

Stir in:
7 Cups White Flour
7 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
2 Cups Rolled Oats (Or any combination of oats, soy flour, rice flour, wheat germ, oats, bran... I always use 3/4 Cup Oats, 3/4 Cup Wheat Germ and 3/4 Cup Flax Seed Meal. It turns out perfectly.)

It is not necessary to knead the dough, but you can if you want to. (Note to experienced bread makers: This dough is a bit more sticky than most bread doughs.) Divide dough into two oiled bowls. Cover and let rise until doubled. (About 1 1/2 hours) Punch down and divide it into 6 or 7 greased loaf pans and let rise until doubled. (Again, about 1 1/2 hours.)

Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, rotating halfway through baking.

Whole Wheat Bread
(From Small and Simple Things by Marjorie Pay Hinckley)

Dissolve 2 packages (or 5 teaspoons) of Yeast in 1/2 cup water with 1/2 Tablespoon Honey or Sugar.

Mix the following ingredients:
3 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 cups dry powdered milk
1 cup oil
4 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons salt

Add yeast mixture.

1 or 2 cups white flour
About 10 cups whole wheat flour
(Dough should be soft and pliable, but not too sticky. I generally save about 1/2 cup of flour to use for kneading and add more if necessary during the kneading process.)

Knead for about 10 minutes. Let rise until doubled.

Divide into 6 small loaves. Knead and shape. Place in greased pans and let rise until doubled.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Reduce to 300 degrees and bake for one hour, rotating halfway through baking.


Rosie said...

I'm a breadbaker too! I've never thought of it as a ritual, but it's definitely theraputic. I've ususally done Sunday rolls and bread 2-3 times/month. (more in the winter.) I'm in love with the poem you posted.

Rynell said...

I love homemade bread. I have baked bread a couple times this month, but I haven't been thrilled with the results. I am excited to try these recipes.

Also, a great poem!

Vanderbeeks said...

got any wheat free recipes? not gluten free, just wheat free