Monday, June 8, 2009

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

I mentioned that I spent a day at Girl's Camp at Zion's National Park this week. Somehow I managed to arrive just late enough to miss the five mile hike, which I regret since I could use a good, cleansing trudge up a mountain. But perhaps it was fortuitous; the five mile hike, as it turns out was a five miles UP kind of hike followed by a five miles DOWN kind of hike, with steep cliffs, sharp switchbacks, and oodles of strenuous teenage exertion. The poor girls hiked all day on apples and fruit snacks, since it was assumed that a piddly five mile hike that started at 7:30 AM would land them back in time for lunch. (Lunch didn't happen until 4.) Even though most of the girls were bone-tired, we moved forward with the evening's activities: rapelling, hot-tubbing, card games, bonfire testimony meeting, and snipe hunting. I'd forgotten how fun girl's camp is, even now, at thirty something. Especially at night, after the bearing of souls and secrets, when everyone is sitting around nibbling on hot tamales and plotting a little mayhem. It took me right back to the good ol' days of girl's camp with my own gang of buddies (Heidi, Tricia, Julie, Carry, and my sister Michelle.) Our favorite form of harmless torture we called "measuring for coffins," a rite of passage for the newest camp members, girls and leaders alike. The unsuspecting victim would somberly enter the cabin, where we would perform a mock measuring ritual with an old measuring tape. For the last measurement, the leg seam, the victim would have to lie down and put their leg into the air, at which point we would pour a cup of mountain-cold water right down into their pant leg. I was always amazed at how much one little cup of water could thoroughly soak the unsuspecting girl. It's a pretty harmless prank, with no lasting consequences. (Michelle and I actually performed the ceremony on her future mother-in-law; who knew?) Most people were pretty good sports about the whole affair, and after the initiation process would go on to become certified coffin measurers themselves. But one girl would have nothing to do with it and ran out of the cabin in a bit of a terror. I don't remember it at all, but later it would come back to bite me. Years later, after returning from a mission in South America, I moved into a college apartment with my little sister Heidi and some of her younger-than-me-by-a-couple-of-years friends. And one was this girl, Michal, who promptly became one of my best friends for life, after she realized that I was completely harmless and only measure for coffins as a side hobby at girl's camp. Who knew that the little frightened twelve year old would later be the kind and clever friend that completed crossword puzzles obsessively with me, would run into the November night to jump in the first snowstorm of the season, would make me die of laughter by dancing with a gigantic Mexican sombrero on her head, would stay up all night talking and listening away? Even though we are miles apart, Michal keeps a blog so I can still enjoy her wise and hilarious musings on life, motherhood (due with baby #5 in a few weeks), and this fantastic whole wheat bread. It's an amazing recipe, one that I could easily make on a weekly basis, especially considering that we (including visiting cousins) managed to polish off all four loaves in about a day. I wish I could make the bread with Michal, or at least watch her dance around in her sombrero someday soon, or at the very least.... finally get her measured for her coffin. Who knows, maybe our charges will end up at camp together some day, and the next generation can finish the job.
Money Saving Tips: Grind your own wheat for the best deal. Even if have to buy whole wheat flour, this will still be a lot cheaper than buying four loaves of fresh bakery whole wheat bread. My favorite whole wheat brands are King Arthur and Prarie Gold.
Michal's Mom's Whole Wheat Bread
Estimated Cost: $5.00 for four loaves
3 cups warm water
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup honey
scant Tablespoon coarse kosher salt or 1/2 t. fine salt
6 cups whole wheat flour
Mix ingredients in a stand mixer with a dough hook for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, proof the yeast:
3/4 cup very warm water
3 Tablespoons yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
When yeast is proofed, add to bread mixture along with:
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups white, all-purpose flourMix on low or medium to incorporate, then on high for 10 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic.Turn out into bowl sprayed with cooking spray and allow to rise in a warm place for 25 minutes. Turn dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and separate into four loaves. Shape loaves and place in greased loaf pans. Allow to rise for 25 minutes more.Bake in 350 oven for 25-30 minutes, until bread is golden brown. Remove from oven and from pans immediately. Rub or brush tops of the loaves with butter. Allow to cool on wire cooling rack. Freeze what you're not going to use today or tomorrow.
Coming Tuesday:
Raspberry Parisian Tarts


Janssen said...

I'm going to Girls Camp in a few weeks and I can't WAIT!

Jenni said...

I've been reading your blog for over a year (I think) and never realized you were LDS...LOL. Love your blog, love your does my family.

Beth said...

I think I would have run too!! Bread sounds and looks delicious

Anonymous said...

How do you proof yeast?

Prudy said...

If you have really reliable yeast, you can skip that step. It's a method of combining yeast with warm water and a pinch of sugar and letting it rise for ten minutes. In ten minutes, the yeast will have doubled, giving you "proof" that the yeast is good. I use SAF yeast which is so reliable that I almost always skip this step and just throw all the ingredients in together. Best of luck!

Michal said...

ah, erin, when you mentioned that you were heading to girls' camp i promptly remembered how you used to terrorize the first year girls! i'm so very glad that we had a chance to meet again under more favorable circumstances!:) i love all the memories you listed, plus our library ritual of sneaking chocolate-covered peanuts and yogurt-covered pretzels in with our schoolbooks. and don't forget the spiderman poetry we obsessively composed when we should have been studying.
i do make this bread once or twice a week--except for an occasional loaf of artisan bread i don't buy much. i'm hoping to get a new, bigger bosch for my birthday this year and a garage freezer--then i'll be making a double batch each time.
thanks for posting my recipe. i can't tell you what an honor it is, although even saying that makes me giggle because i know you won't take it seriously. but seriously. i adore you and your blog and every recipe you've ever shared with me.

The Blonde Duck said...

I never got to go to girl's camp. I feel cheated.

Can you make it without a bread machine and hook? I could let Queen Bitty stir....

Coleen said...

That is so fun! I told my husband the other day I suspected you were a member of the church. The girls looked like they have fun at camp, too!

Kerstin said...

Homemade bread is the best, looks yummy! I loved going to Girl Scout camp - I need a daughter so I can do it again :)

gigi said...

All our girls and one DIL left for camp this morning! It was always so much fun. It's just to hot any more for me to enjoy it.

Love the recipe and can't wait to try it out. It's a little different than the one I've been using.

Katherine Aucoin said...

Girls camp sounds like so much fun. I think I am up for making this bread. I;ve been in the baking mood lately.

Marie said...

That is one great looking loaf of bread Erin! Can you belive I have never been to Girl's Camp??? I know, I've really missed something special!

Jeanna said...

My girl just got back from being a wise and learned 2nd year camper. She had snipe hunting planned for sure! Darn this bread looks tasty! I got myself a sweet grinder, I better break it out and get to some serious bread making!

Rebecca Christianson said...

I'm with Michal. You and Michelle had me scared to DEATH that first year of camp. I might have even run away to avoid being measured. Another memory I have of you is sharing your testimony with a blanket draped over your head so no one could see you being "emotional." Those were some great times . . .

Katrina said...

LOVE whole wheat bread!
Loved girl's camp, many moons ago! ;)

Katelin said...

Did you really mean only 1/2 tsp. of fine salt? That seems strange with the option of 1 Tbsp. of kosher, right? Just not sure which.

Prudy said...

That's how Michal's recipe reads. I ended up using about 2 and 1/2 teaspoons regular salt. Sorry about any mix-up. Hope it all worked out for you.

Anonymous said...

Oh man, I am so jealous! I was released from YW so I don't get to go to girl's camp this year. I had way more fun as a leader than I ever did as a girl!

Nate' said...

You don't know me, but I love your blog. I am a law student, interning in D.C. for the summer and today I headed over to the Smithsonian. I was at an exhibit about WWII and in a display case about rationing there was a book entitled "Prudence Penny's Coupon Book." It reminded me of you and how much I love your blog...and made me wonder if that was part of your inspiration behind the name. Anyway, thanks for your recipes...I look forward to new posts every week!

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