4.08.2011

Homemade bread.



"How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?"
~Julia Child

I am embarrassed to say that I have never made homemade bread before. I know...it's pretty sad. I'm 38 years old, a homemaker and afraid to make homemade bread.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE homemade bread. I think it's just the thought of trying to get wheat to rise and all that kneading that is required,it is a bit intimidating for this novice homemaker.

I remember walking in the door from school when I was a young girl and smelling homemade bread cooking in the oven. The whole house smelled divine when my mom made her homemade bread. For whatever reason though, I never took the time to have her teach me how to make it. Admittedly, the idea of learning how to cook didn't interest me when I was a teenager. Sadly, I don't think I saw the value when I was a youth in learning such things as this from my mom. I regret that now.

I decided this week it was time to try my luck at making homemade bread. I found this great recipe for Honey Wheat Bread at Allrecipes. I was a little nervous in the beginning when it came time to do all the hand kneading of the bread (yes, I know I could have used my electric mixer; yet, I wanted to do it the old fashioned way for my first time), and I discovered it really wasn't that hard. I had a few interruptions during the 15 minutes of kneading the dough...little man came running to the back door and said he had found rolly polly's and wanted me to come see them---"RIGHT NOW!". He had a royal meltdown when I tried to explain that I was knee-deep in bread dough and couldn't come right then. And to his shock and dismay, I continued the kneading while he threw his temper-trantrum at the door. My nerves were a bit shot after that event, but other than this--my first attempt at bread making went pretty smoothly.

{Note to self...wait and make the next batch of homemade bread when Little Man is at preschool. ;-) }

After completing the 2 hour process {and just as the Hubby was walking in the door at 6pm from work} I pulled my first 2 loaves of homemade bread out of the oven. And yes, they smelt divine.

I was a little nervous when the Hubby sliced the first piece and took a bite. (I was thinking to myself, "Oh please, please, please don't let it taste crappy!") But when I saw the smile spread across his face, I knew immediately that it was a success. Whew!




Here's how to make this delicious homemade bread:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add honey, and stir well. Mix in whole wheat flour, salt, and vegetable oil. Work all-purpose flour in gradually. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead for at least 10 to 15 minutes. When dough is smooth and elastic, place it in a well oiled bowl. Turn it several times in the bowl to coat the surface of the dough, and cover with a damp cloth. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
  2. Punch down the dough. Shape into two loaves, and place into two well greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise until dough is 1 to 1 1/2 inches above pans.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes.



Surprisingly, my first homemade bread was a hit with the family. Both of my boys enjoyed gobbling the first loaf down that night. We ate it with our dinner and then later that night...I found both of them in the kitchen having it as their "midnight" snack.




Making homemade bread proved to be much simpler than I ever imagined. I know this may sound silly, but I felt such joy seeing my family savor a loaf of bread that I made. I am continually humbled by how the simplest things in life often bring the greatest joy and happiness.

And Julia... I'm happy to report that it didn't taste like Kleenex!

Speaking of recipes...a friend of mine from my hometown has started her very own cooking blog. She has delicious recipes, so head on over today and meet Alise at The Ranch Kitchen!

Lastly....a special shout-out to our nephew Beck who turned 3 today!! Woo-hoo!! We love you so much. Happy Birthday!!

Have a great weekend everyone....

XOXO...

Jennifer


4 comments:

  1. This is wonderful! Of COURSE everyone loved it--there is little in life better than a mommy's homemade bread. I always feel happy that I can make bread for my family. When I was dating DH, I thought his mom was "extreme" or something because she ALWAYS made their bread--they never bought bread at a store. What a silly thing to think! Now I try to make ours as much as I can (though I'm still not quite as diligent as she). I started out with the completely hand-made, like you just did. Now I DO enlist the help of my mixer, since I do five loaves at a time! (I'm not THAT buff. :)) Way to go. Homemade bread is just the best! (Well, so is Little Man's smile with his slice!) :)

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  2. I agree that the simplest things in life bring the greatest joy!! I love the smell of a clean house and DEFINITELY love the smell of fresh bread! I admit that I too have never made bread from scratch. I will have to give this recipe a whirl!!

    I just wanted to say THANK YOU once again for the Project Life gift. I got it yesterday and waited until my boys were asleep to dig in!! It is TRULY amazing! I actually cried a little because I would NEVER buy myself something like this but having it now makes me want to buy it for someone else! I have a very hard time buying things for myself!! I just wanted to let you know how much it brightened my day!!!

    Congrats on your first loaf of bread! Looks divine!

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  3. Way to go, Jennifer! I remember that feeling of fearing baking with yeast and making bread! I love to make rolls now. They are so fun and a lot of incredible recipe variations. I highly recommend Mel's Kitchen Cafe. She has such awesome recipes for many of my favorite foods. Congratulations on your baking success!

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  4. Aww...thanks, Jen, Naomi and Kelly!

    Naomi...I'm so happy to hear that you like the Project Life kit. :-)

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