Thursday, April 21, 2011

April 20, 2011- Starting jelly and baking bread

Okay, so how did it get to be the third week of April without my realizing it?! :)
Is it just me or is this year flying by? Maybe it's because I'm preggers, but MAN!

Today, my husband kept the kids away from our room so that I could sleep in a bit. Jackson (our 2yr old) had a bad dream last night and consequently, kept me up until all hours. If I'd gotten up at 7, I would have been a zombie, so kudos to Tim!!

This morning, I really needed to wash some diapers and put them on the line, even though it was a bit overcast. The kids played with splash balls, an outdoor tub of water, and cups while I planted a few plants and did the diaper laundry- which means they were soaked, half-naked, and had a blast! Thank goodness for living in the middle of the woods, right?

This afternoon, Keelin and I decided to bake some bread and make some jelly! The jelly is still in the works (we're extracting the goodness from dandelions and mint picked from our backyard) and won't be finished until tomorrow, but here are pictures of the bread!

I made two batches- the dough on top is multigrain (a new flour I was trying) and I kneaded it by hand. The bottom dough is a wheat dough that I mixed using the knead cycle on the bread maker I got at a thrift store. Unfortunately, the bread maker is downright WONKY and the knead cycle is super loud, so I won't be using it again, I don't think... but it was good to see if the $10 bread maker was worth the shot.

This was the first rise after they were kneaded!

The multigrain after it had been punched down and kneaded some more.

The 5 loaves that resulted from those two bowls of dough! The top 3 are multigrain and the bottom 2 are whole wheat. I rolled the unbaked loaves in ground flaxseed and was so excited to taste it!

Here they are on the second rising!

You'll notice that they're in foil baking pans- that is because I only have two "real" baking pans and wanted to make enough to freeze, so this was a good option. Once the bread is removed, I wash them carefully by hand and air dry to ensure that I can reuse them many times! When yard sale season gets into full swing, I will make it an obnoxiously Dusti mission to get my hands on around half a dozen baking pans so that I can do my baking less often and more efficiently!

Baking in our CRAZY hot 40 year old oven. Our whole kitchen was super warm during this process. It just felt like someone was baking :)

We'll be eating one of each loaf and the other 3 will be carefully wrapped and frozen for future use!

The very first time I baked bread at home was about 3 years ago using a recipe that I'd run across while browsing The Hillbilly Housewife online called "Beginner's Bread." It is almost fool proof! I am just learning to branch out into reading bread recipes and trying them, but I can still, from memory, make Beginner's Bread- but with whole grain or multigrain flour, organic ingredients where possible- just to make it super healthy. I don't follow a recipe anymore, just make what tastes good to me and my family from a couple of years of practice and tweaking!

An Easy whole wheat Bread!

-3 cups of organic whole wheat flour, or 1-1/2 cups of white and whole wheat if you're unsure about the density of whole wheat
-1 teaspoon kosher salt

-1 packet, or about 2 teaspoons yeast

-1 tablespoon organic cane sugar or brown sugar or  local honey

2 tablespoons of organic oil (I use a few kinds- there is no right or wrong oil)

1 cup warm water

Add dry ingredients and stir them together. Add the wet ingredients and knead with your hands for at least 5 minutes. Pour a bit of oil into a dry bowl, stick the dough in and roll it around to coat it, then let it rise in a warm spot for up to two hours covered with a hand towel. The dough should double in size! When it’s risen, punch it down, knead it until smooth- just a minute. Grease a loaf pan and pop in the dough, shaping it as you wish. Recover it and let it sit for about an hour and a half. It should rise to double it’s size again. Bake it on 350* for 30-40 minutes. When it’s done, it should be golden on top and crusty. Turn it out onto a dish towel, thump the bottom to ensure that it sounds hollow- that means it’s done!
Do you make bread at home? What kind is your favorite?
I have a few other types of bread that I make and will be posting pics and recipes for as I make them this spring- zucchini bread, peanut butter bread, garlic breadsticks, buns, rolls- etc.


Samantha said...

I am going to give your recipe a try. I have failed many times trying to make bread at home, but I want to so badly! I need to make a trip for cinnamon anyway, so I will be picking up some yeast and hopefully baking some delicious bread tonight! :)

Tidbitz said...

That is awesome! I was baking bread in my breadmaker all December/Jan til I got my electric bill. Awesome post!