Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Earn Your Daily Bread

H loves to help me in the kitchen and I've been trying to let him help in more ways. Today, it was baking bread. The first step in my mom's Honey Whole-Wheat bread recipe is to mix 5 cups of hot tap water with 7 cups of whole wheat first I was filling the measuring cup and giving it to him to dump in, then I thought 'What am I doing?' I poured the water from the mixer into the sink and showed him the line on the cup, asking him to count each one as he poured it in, up to five. Sure enough, he was fully capable. The flour, I measured out, but let him put in and then showed him how to add 1T honey to the yeast and water mix in order to allow the yeast to 'work' better.

We had a great time together in the kitchen, and he was able to enjoy the fruits of his labor after the two risings; the first of which had initially been left out of my mother's translation of her recipe to me, so I ended up with an entire year of bread baking feeling like a complete failure since they were loaves of brick. I only found my mistake when reading Late Nite Kitchen and then called my mom "um, do you let the dough rise in the mixer first and then in the pans?" "Yeah, why?" "Sweet, you totally missed that part when reading me the recipe over the phone last year." Yet another reason it will be nice to be within driving distance of my parents; I can steal her written recipes from her house when she's not looking.

I felt like H had a fun time, and he definitely liked the bread, though he takes after his Grandma P and Papa in that he kept dunking the bread in the milk. I've never liked soggy bread, just thinking of the idea of milk toast makes me shudder. I kept telling him to stop that! That's disgusting! when he finally turned to me and said "I like to dip my bread in milk, it makes it taste better." Right. I keep forgetting that I'm supposed to be, like, allowing him to develop his own tastes and interests.

One step, however, that he will continue to miss out on that my mother did, unless I turn into uber freakshow mom when we get a house, is that my mother had an electric wheat mill and so ground her own flour for each baking session. Yeeeeeeah, we'll just stick with the triumph of baking our own bread for now.

H and Charlie had a lovely dinner last night of cinnamon toast made from homemade bread, applesauce and milk. They went to bed fat and happy, and my house still smells good this morning.

Granny's Honey-Whole-Wheat Bread

1. Mix 5 cups hot water and 7 cups of flour with paddle in the electric mixer.

2. While the above are mixing, sprinkle 2 tsp. yeast into very hot water, adding 1T honey or sugar to work yeast more effectively. Allow to sit until bubbly

3. Add 2T salt, 2/3 c oil, 2/3 c honey, yeast mixture and 1 cup more flour and mix.
4. Add 3-4 more cups flour, 1 cup at a time, dough will be sticky in the end. If it's still super wet, add a little more flour. Knead with dough hook attachment for 10 minutes and allow to raise in bowl for about 2 hours (I put my bowl covered with dishcloth on the pre-heated oven so it was warm...since my ac'd apartment is not warm right now)
5. Transfer to four loaf pans and let rise again until 1/3 larger, then bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes. Voila! You have bread!
I think I may try to use a little white flour next time, because this bread does end up being pretty dense. It's REALLY good for french toast, though two pieces will be plenty filling!

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