Friday, February 20, 2009

Farm-Country Multi Grain Bread

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.

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
2 eggs
1/2 cup wheat germ (or substitute whole wheat flour)
3 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups all purpose flour, plus more if needed
extra butter
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.
Next Up:
Sunday Afternoon Juicy Roast Beef with Potatoes and Carrots

39 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

Wonderful feelings attached to this loaf of bread - glad you baked it :-)

Steph said...

I haven't had homemade bread it a long time. Yours looks so soft and delicious. I love how big it is!

Mary Ann said...

I am definitely going to give this a try. It sounds great and if it is like your rolls, than it shouldn't be too hard. I need to bake bread more and quit making so many sweets!
Thanks for all your sweet words. I hope you and your family are doing well.

Sandy said...

Sounds so yummy! And looks yummy!

Cathy said...

Wow wow! This bread looks fabulous. I am just starting to get my feet wet in the bread making department, and I can't wait to try this one!

Thinking of you and your family. I hope that you are all well.

Patsyk said...

Your bread looks like a perfect loaf. Thanks for the tip on what to do if the dough doesn't rise.

Michal said...

as my oven and my bosch mixer are both out of commission this week, i wish you could drop off a loaf of bread at my house, too. but only if you stayed for a visit. i miss you!

Maria said...

Homemade bread is the best!! My thoughts are with you and your family!

Amanda said...

This looks so good! I am always on the look out for new bread recipes, thank you for sharing it, I am bookmarking :)

Marjie said...

You have hit precisely why I do not have any store bought bread in my house: it's just not as good. The proportions I like are 1-1/2 cups liquid to 4 cups flour(s), plus sugar, salt, fats...makes 2 nice 1 pound loaves - for tonight's dinner and tomorrow's lunch!

Rindy R said...

This loaf of bread looks as delicious and yummy as the Little House on the Prairie Book Series! I remember them eating just meat, as well, for an entire winter. And to think she lived to a rip old age! What are we doing wrong?

Lisa said...

Homemade bread is so good. I love how you describe the liquids baby bottle warm...perfectly said!

1freshstart said...

I'm like that too. I can't rest until everything is packed, laundry is sorted and started... it's just too much to think about when you've spent time away from home.

The bread looks incredible. I'm on a bread baking weekend too...

~Cat

Allie said...

Homemade bread is the best!

Emily said...

That bread looks awesome. You can't beat homemade bread.

I love Laura Ingalls Wilder! I grew up on the Little House books. I live close to her home in Mansfield, where she settled with Almanzo and Rose.

Catherine said...

I loved reading all of your reasons for baking that delicious looking loaf of bread. I just read the long winter to my kids, they did not love it (I suppose they're still to young to appreciate the Little House books, but I just couldn't help myself.), but I did and it made me want to bake bread, too. And now I know exactly what recipe I'll be using!

jenjen said...

Wow Prudy - that bread looks so delicious! YUM!

Thanks!

Jen

HoneyB said...

I totally love homemade bread warm from the oven with butter and honey. We always used to fight over who would get the end piece when were were kids! Yummm, I can just smell it!

Mags said...

my family are suckers for a good loaf of bread! can't wait to try this one.

mikky said...

your bread really looks fantastic, and with the butter melting on top... yum... :)

n.o.e said...

I've been having such a blast making homemade bread; haven't bought a sliced loaf this year. This recipe looks really good; I'll put it on the list. The Joy of Cooking is one of my standbys. Love reading your recent posts, lots of food for thought, Prudy. God bless.
Nancy

Laura said...

That looks like the perfect loaf of multi grain bread. I want a slice now!

Leslie said...

mmm..I have never made a homemade bread before..amybe all the kneading scares me! But yours is sucking me right in!!

Amanda said...

Hey Prudy! I made this recipe today. I think I could have baked mine for a bit shorter time period as they were a bit dark and the crust is harder than I prefer, but the bread inside is wonderful! I will definitely make it again :)

hey, also, I am starting an event called Thrifty Thursdays and immediately thought of you! You wouldn't even have to make any extra effort, LOL, all your post are thrifty! Hope you will stop by and take a look :) http://amandascookin.blogspot.com/2009/02/gauging-interest-thrifty-thursday.html

Marie said...

Your bread looks delicious Erin! I am not a great breadmaker I am afraid, but my ABM is!

Girl Japan said...

Hi Erin! You need a disclaimer at the top saying "warning hazardous to read" might induce growling stomach.

Fab darling!

Girl Japan said...

Even worse when you have a fridge border lining on empty!

Janna said...

I need to make some homemade bread! This sounds great!

Wendy said...

Okay, so mine turned out dark and pretty dense. I think my oven's thermostat is off, which accounts for the excessive darkening, but what did I do wrong to make it so dense? It was rising nicely and I thought it was going to be light and fluffy. Help!

Prudy said...

Wendy:
If your bread rose nicely on the first rise and it still came out dense, chances are it needed a little extra time on the second rise. Bread can be tricky and no two batches are the same. Even when I use the same recipe, the rising and bake times are always a little different. I would say that on your second rise to let it go a little longer so that you have a nice light bread on your final product. All that being said-bread with wheat, oatmeal and wheat germ is going to be denser than plain white bread. I'm sorry it didn't turn out just right for you and I'm hoping you at least got some good toast and will be willing to try it again. I'll put a note about the baking time since another reader also got a dark loaf.

Amanda said...

I posted about my bread, thanks for the recipe. I will definitely try it again as the flavor was great! This would be wonderful with some sunflower seeds thrown in! I'm going to try it again as my baked too long, but still really good! http://amandascookin.blogspot.com/2009/02/homemade-multigrain-bread.html

Aggie said...

Your bread looks so comforting. I'm glad you are back!

Wendy said...

Prudy, thanks for the advice. Next time I will let it go a bit longer on the second rise. We did get great toast from it, and sometimes I'd pop it in the microwave to soften it up a bit and slather it with peanut butter and jelly, and it worked out. But next time, I'll definitely let it rise a little longer on the second rise. I was probably just too impatient, wanting my fresh bread and all.

Jessi A said...

This was delicious! I only cooked mine for 30 minutes though. I just loved your Blog!! Keep up the good work.

Tina said...

Did you grind the wheat germ?

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whonozbest@hotmail.com