Sunday, March 8, 2015

Bread and Butter

There is just nothing like the smell of bread baking in the oven. I love walking into a house warmed by baking, overflowing with the scents of homemade goodness. Lately, it seems, that bread is becoming an enemy. With the rise of gluten allergies and more people realizing that bread can become an unnecessary carb on a weight loss diet; bread gets more bad press than good. Not to mention that people just buy bread anyway. 

I love homemade bread. It is such a gift and a delicious part of a meal. It takes a little time, a little fore-thought, some planning and is worth the minimal effort required. Growing up, my mom always enjoyed making zucchini bread or banana bread. These are sweet treats to me still. If I baked it was usually in the form of a treat like this. When I met Joel, I was amazed that his mom made bread every few months, loaves and loaves, that they would store in the freezer. She made wheat bread, slicing bread, stuff that we tended to buy. It had not occurred to me that you could just make your own bread for your weekly needs. I was suddenly inspired.

Homemade Honey Wheat bread, yum!

I've discovered that every bread maker has their way of making their masterpieces. There are a million and one recipes out there to help guide you. I've tried to keep my attempts simple and healthy. I do not have a bread maker and I do not have time to spend hours and hours by the oven, so please trust that this recipe is worth a share. 

I've tweaked a recipe from my favorite cookbook "More with Less" from the Mennonite tradition. Besides their natural, seasonal approach to food, I like their theology behind eating. Food has a purpose beyond just filling you up. There are nutrients involved, communities shaped, and souls restored by breaking bread. They also write their recipes out so that you just start at the top and follow them to the bottom because ingredients and instructions go hand in hand. I like that.

In honor of that beautiful tradition, I share my favorite bread recipe with you.

Acts 2:42
And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

makes 2 loaves

Combine in a mixer bowl:
3 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. nonfat dry milk or regular milk
1 T. salt
2 pkg dry yeast (or 4 1/2 tsp yeast)

Heat in saucepan until warm (or in microwave):

3 c. water or potato water
1/2 c. honey
2 T. oil

Pour warm (not hot) liquid over flour mixture. Beat with electric mixer 3 minutes. Stir in:

1 additional cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup of Oat bran
1/2 cup of flax meal
4 - 4 1/2 c. white flour

Knead 5 minutes, using additional white flour if necessary. Place in greased bowl, turn, let rise until double in bulk. Punch into loaves. Place in greased 9x5" bread pans. Cover and let rise 40-45 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes. When you remove the bread from the pans to cool, rub butter over the top so that it will stay soft. Eat with butter melted over the top of a warm slice and enjoy living!