Let’s start with the basics…Bread

Bread. we eat it all the time and it is definitely a staple in college.  Although buying it at the supermarket is easy and fast, I have a few reservations when it comes to cheap bread. Why the heck do so many breads contain high fructose corn syrup?!  I was so surprised when I first found this out; I didn’t want to believe it, so I checked the labels myself.  And sure enough, there it was in the ingredients list of a variety of breads at the store, along with some other ingredients that I couldn’t quite pronounce.

It was then that I decided that I should just make my own bread! Then I could decide and know exactly what I was eating.  The only problem was time.  Real bread (with active yeast) takes about 4-5 hours to make (including rising time), and in between classes, practice, and other college life commitments, there was no way that was happening during the week.  But weekends were a different story.  On a normal Saturday I get up really late, go on Facebook, and watch TV.  So I figured if I devoted 4 of those hours to baking bread, it would not be a huge sacrifice….And boy was I right.  That was the best decision I ever made.  Not only did the bread taste WAY better (and fresher) than anything at the store, but it also made the whole apartment smell like a bakery. How can you argue with that?!

Here is the recipe for the scrumptious Honey Wheat bread I made.

Honey Wheat Bread

Honey Wheat Bread

This recipe makes 2 loaves of bread, but since this was my first time making it, and since there is only one loaf pan in the apartment, I made a half recipe.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking) plus additional for topping
  • 1/2 cup warm water (105-115°F)
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast (from 3 packages)
  • 1/2 cup mild honey
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus additional for buttering pans
  • 3 cups stone-ground whole-wheat flour
  • About 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Vegetable oil for oiling bowl
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Special equipment: 2 (8- by 4-inch) loaf pans

DIRECTIONS

Heat milk in a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan over low heat until hot but not boiling, then remove pan from heat and stir in oats. Let stand, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until cooled to warm.

Stir together water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon honey in a small bowl; let stand until foamy, 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.) Stir yeast mixture, melted butter, and remaining honey into cooled oatmeal.

Stir together whole-wheat flour, 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour, and salt in a large bowl. Add oat mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. Turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead with floured hands, adding just enough of remaining unbleached flour to keep from sticking, until dough is smooth, soft, and elastic, about 10 minutes (dough will be slightly sticky). Form dough into a ball and transfer to an oiled large bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel; let rise at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Lightly butter loaf pans. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead several times to remove air. Divide dough in half and shape each half into a loaf, then place 1 loaf in each buttered pan, seam side down, tucking ends gently to fit. Cover loaf pans loosely with a kitchen towel and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly brush tops of loaves with some of egg wash and sprinkle with oats, then bake until bread is golden and loaves sound hollow when tapped on bottom, 35 to 40 minutes. (Remove 1 loaf from pan to test for doneness. Run a knife around edge of pan to loosen.)

Remove bread from pans and transfer to a rack to cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.

(Recipe courtesy of epicurious.com )

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Don’t be afraid to make something new, or put a little time into your cooking!  After making this bread, I realized that, not only was it cheaper in the long run to just make my own bread, but it was also a great experience.  And now, since I know the basics of bread making, I can make all different kinds!  So get off Facebook, and get in the kitchen and make some bread!  Everyone will be jealous, you’ll see! Enjoy!

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2 thoughts on “Let’s start with the basics…Bread

  1. I agree that the ingredients of most commercial bread are horrifying. This looks yummy and you’re right there is something deeply satisfying about making bread at home.

  2. 1. I love the picture you took of your wonderful bread (and my lunchbox in the background, hehe). That is my favorite part of this blog post, obviously, as I love pictures the most.
    2. I’m sad I didn’t get to try a piece of this bread, though I can attest to the fact that it made the apartment smell like a bakery, definite plus.
    3. I think my $1.04 bread from Walmart is cheaper in the moment, and I can actually eat it. Sad times. You should make white bread next time. Then maybe I will conform to your ways.
    4. I think you should make taquitos for your next project 😉
    5. Your blog is lovely, just like you ❤

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