This morning was the perfect cloudy-rainy-holiday-Monday-stayin’-at-home-day for bread baking. The children love it, it makes the house smell amazing, and I felt like I built a little endurance in my arms kneading bread, so that maybe I’ll kick a little more butt at dragon-boat practice this week. You may think how cool it is that I bake bread from scratch without a bread machine, but here’s the truth – it’s the one and only bread recipe I have baked, for over 20 years, so it’s so ingrained in me that I’m really too lazy to learn to bake any other kind of bread. Which is a shame, because I’m sure my family would love a little variety, but hey – I’m a working mom, who has time for variety, and there’s always the bakery! Needless to say, this really is the perfect bread for toast in the morning (why is it that most superstore bread is just punk? It’s soft, fluffy, sweet, and practically disintegrates when you toast it?) I hate store bought bread. And the organic kinds, which seem closer to the kind I make, costs about $7 a loaf. So that little voice goes on in my head and says “come-on, you could just MAKE it”. Curses! Curses! The curse of a stuff-maker. Here’s the recipe for 3 loaves (I double it).
1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 tsp white sugar
1 tbsp traditional yeast
Put in a small bowl, stir briefly, let stand til frothy.
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp molasses
3 cups lukewarm water
1/2 lemon squeezed
Mix this in a separate bowl, then add the yeast mixture and stir well.
4 to 4 1/2 cups each of white and whole wheat flour.
4 tsp salt
3/4 to 1 cup of grains cereal (I use Red Mill 12 grain cereal)
Mix the dry ingredients together, then add the wet ingredients to this. You will definitely need a big-ass bowl if you’re doubling the recipe. Once incorporated, dump out onto your work surface, and knead bread until smoo th and elastic. Put in a greased bowl and cover with a clean tea towel. Let rise 2 to 2 1/2 hours (I stick the bowl in my oven and turn on the oven light – this generates enough heat to proof it nicely). Punch down (the children enjoy this part!) form 3 loaves, and let rise again, in the oven with the light on, until doubled, or about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Bake at 300 for about an hour. I just leave the loaves in the oven, turn the oven on, and let them bake for about 50 minutes from the time the oven goes on. Truly un-scientific, but that’s my oven – yours will be different and I’m sure you’ll figure out a way that works for you!