The smell of homemade bread in the oven is defiantly at the top of the list when I think of my favorite smells (oddly the smell of new tires is up there too but I will limit this post to bread). Did you know that today is Homemade Bread Day?! To celebrate I am going to show you one of my favorite bread recipes. I would love for you to give it a try.
Let me start out by saying that if you have never made bread before, PLEASE don’t avoid making it out of fear that it is “too hard”–it is actually quite easy. The main part that I find I have to be aware of is picking a day to bake that I will be home most of the day as the process takes time. It is so worth it though, the taste just can’t be beat. The recipe I am providing below will make two loaves which is perfect because if your family is anything like mine, the first loaf will be finished off almost before it cools as warm bread is irresistible! You can also freeze bread by wrapping it in foil and then placing it in a freezer bag for later use.
This recipe is tried and true as it was the one my mother made when I was a young girl. I have fond memories of helping her knead the dough and eating warm slices of bread with butter and honey–oh yum!
Honey-Whole Wheat Bread
2 packages active dry yeast (or 4 t)
1/2 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
1/3 cup honey
1 T salt
1/4 cup shortening
1 3/4 cup whole wheat or graham flour (I use whole wheat and prefer to grind it myself)
3-4 cups unbleached or all purpose flour (again, I use whole wheat and it turns out great)
butter or margarine, softened
if you use 100% whole wheat flour you may wish to add some gluten to help it rise better (I do)
Start by gathering up all the items listed above. Then fill up your sink with warm soapy water so that you can add your dirty items as you finish using them, making clean up faster.
1. Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water in a large mixing bowl.
Next, stir in honey*, salt, shortening, 1 3/4 cups warm water and the whole wheat flour. Beat until smooth. Then, stir in enough of the all purpose flower to make dough easy to handle.
*the honey will come out of your measuring cup more easily if you first rub a bit of oil inside your measuring cup.
2. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. This is a great time to have your kids get involved!
Place in greased bowl; turn greased side up. Cover; let rise in warm place*
until double, about 1 hour. (Dough is ready if an indentation remains
*In the winter I put it by our wood stove or turn the oven on the lowest setting (for mine this is 170 degrees) and then turn it off and allow the dough to rise inside the oven.
3. Punch down dough (kids are great help in this step); divide in half. Flatten each half with hands or rolling pin into a rectangle, 18×9 inches.
4. Roll the dough tightly toward you starting on a narrow end. Press with thumbs to seal after each turn. Pinch edge firmly to seal. With side of hand, press each end to seal; fold ends under.
5. Place loaves seam sides down in 2 greased loaf pans (9x5x3 or 8.5×4.5×2.5). Brush lightly with butter; crushed tolled oats if you like. Let rise until double, about 1 hour. If you watch them rise as my kids are doing below, it definitely rises slower;).
6. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place loaves on low rack so that tops of pans are in center of oven. Bake until loaves are deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped, 40-45 minutes. Remove from pans; cool on wire rack.
Now what I really should have taken a photo of was us enjoying the bread but we got so excited to dig in that I forgot!
I hope you are inspired to give bread making a try and at the very least consider dusting off your bread maker:)!
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