Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"How can a nation be great if it's bread tastes like Kleenex?" J.C.

    Bread baking day! So yesterday I decided it was high time for some fresh bread in the house. So I called up my mother for my favorite bread recipe, the one she had been baking for us every month for years while I was growing up. And I decided to add some little touches of my own to it.
 Her recipe is a wonderful rich whole wheat bread with a just hint of molasses. And I decided to take this rich sweet recipe and make it super nutty. Since nutty whole wheat bread is my absolute favorite sandwich bread. And it is super easy to make it organically and even vegetarian friendly by substituting the butter for sunflower, or safflower oil.
 Here is the recipe. It makes 4 loaves of bread, or you can cut it in half to make 2. Usually 1 will last us long enough that with such warm Hawaiian weather here I wrap up the 2nd loaf in Seran wrap and slip it into a gallon & 1/2 size ziplock to keep in the freezer. It'll last for weeks if you make sure it's sealed up enough not to get freezer burnt.
 In a small bowl, mix:
 1 cup room temperature Water   
 2 Tbsp. Dried baker's Yeast 
 1 tsp. Molasses
Allow this to sit for 10 minutes, until foamy. (This shows that your yeast is still alive and will make the bread rise properly.)
 Then pour it into a large bowl, along with:
  3 1/2 cups of tepid Water 
 2 cups of Milk 
 1/2 cup of Molasses (sweet or blackstrap is fine) 
 1/2 cup of melted Butter 
 1 Tbsp salt
Then beat in 1 cup of Wheat Glutton. (If you don't have this on hand you can leave it out, it only makes the bread a little springier but wont ruin your end result if you don't have it.)
 Here is where I add a touch of my own.
Before adding the flour I mix in:
  4 Tbsp. Wheat Berries 
 4 Tbsp. Chopped raw Sunflower Seeds 
 4 Tbsp. Flax Seeds 
 4 Tbsp. Oats 
 4 Tbsp. Wheat Germ 
This really gives the bread a nuttier taste that I just love! And you can adjust the amounts of each that you use, or leave out some and double up on others. I find all my grains and seeds at a local organic vegetarian store here, so try looking at a place like that if you have a hard time finding them at your local grocery.
 Add 9 cups of Whole Wheat Flour Cover and set to rise for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
Then then beat down and one at a time mixing after each addition add
4-5 cups of Whole Wheat, or Unbleached White Flour. (These flours make for a healthier bread, but you can use white flour as well. Or mix and match the flours you use. Sometimes I use half unbleached and half whole wheat, and sometimes I just use all whole wheat.) Knead in and add flour as needed until the dough becomes smooth and workable. Knead an extra 10 minutes. Cover and let rise again, for one hour.


 Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Grease 4 loaf pans. Shape loaves into the pans and let rise for about 30minutes or until doubled in size. *(Optional: I brush the tops of mine with some beaten egg and sprinkle on some of the seeds and grains I used inside the dough for a nice nutty crunchy crust.)*


 Preheat the oven to 400*F, but turn the oven down to 350*F as soon as you have put the loaves in to bake. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from pans and let cool for about 2 hours before storing. (I brush mine lightly with some milk, once there right out of the pans, top sides and bottom to help keep the moist) Even though this recipe seems to have a lot of steps. It's really not hard at all, just a little time consuming. But the end result is wonderful and well worth it. For taste and health!


 Slice and enjoy! I just love the smell and taste of home baked bread. And everyone just eats this recipe up!

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