Maybe it's because I spent last week in Grandpa Bud's farm country, with nothing but peacefully frozen fields to rest the eye upon. Maybe it's because my stock of groceries was pitifully low when I came home, and short of starvation, I just can't make myself shop until the suitcases are unpacked. Maybe it's because our long drive read-aloud was Laura Ingalls Wilder's "The Long Winter," in which the Ingalls family survived a season of Dakota blizzards on loaf after loaf of wheat bread. Maybe it's because the making and kneading of bread is calming, steadying and even nostalgic. And maybe for all of these things it was important to bake bread today. A good, hearty, honest loaf of multi grain bread. The first loaf won't last long, of course, but will be gobbled up warm with slathers of creamy butter, jam, and honey. But the second loaf has potential for a truly memorable bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. And if I can ever get those suitcases unpacked and make it to the grocery store, that's what we'll be having for dinner. But if not, we'll read books by the fireplace, pretend we're the Ingalls family and eat some more buttered bread on this long winter night.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Money Saving Tips:
A hearty loaf of homemade bread is pretty inexpensive to make, but make sure you invest in good quality yeast. My favorite is SAF, but if it's unavailable in your area, ask your local bakery which yeast they use. They may even let you buy some of theirs. (That's how I started using SAF.) Whatever yeast you use, be sure that the liquids in the recipe are only BABY BOTTLE WARM-NOT HOT. If you ever happen to make a loaf of bread that doesn't rise, you can proof some more yeast in a bowl, mix it into the unrisen bread dough and give it another chance.
Farm Country Multi Grain Loaves
Adapted from Joy of Cooking
Estimated Cost: $3.50 for two loaves
2 cups milk
1 cup old fashioned oats
2/3 cup brown sugar
5 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup wheat germ (or substitute whole wheat flour)
3 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups all purpose flour, plus more if needed
Heat milk in microwave until just boiling. Pour into free standing mixer bowl (or into large bowl to mix and knead by hand). Add oatmeal, sugar, butter, and salt. Mix well and cool to luke warm, about 15 minutes. Add yeast, eggs, wheat germ and whole wheat flour. With mixer on low, add in remaining all purpose flour. Knead on medium for 6 minutes. If dough is still sticky, add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time until dough pulls away from edges of bowl. Shape dough into large ball and using your hands, rub the outside of the dough with butter. Put the dough back into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 1 and 1/2 hours. Shape dough into two loaves and place in two nine inch loaf pans. Let rise again, covered with plastic wrap, until doubled, about 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake about 1 hour.
Thanks for all of your kind comments of late, dear readers! I wish I could drop a loaf of bread on your front doorsteps.
Sunday Afternoon Juicy Roast Beef with Potatoes and Carrots