Lately I’ve been big into knowing where our food comes from. Lest our kids grow up thinking their meals’ origins are grocery store shelves, I’ve decided to make as many of our meals from whole ingredients. What better way to teach them that food doesn’t naturally come wrapped in plastic than to try making bread ourselves, for starters. There’s nothing quite like the smell and taste of homemade bread. If you’ve never made it, consider this an official invitation to try it. I honestly can’t say why people seem to think it’s difficult. You KNOW I don’t go for things that take a) a lot of money b) a lot of ingredients or 3) a lot of painstaking steps. Yeah, you gotta knead it. So what? It’s therapeutic! The trick is…don’t feel rushed. You’ve gotta plan to make homemade bread. It’s not something you just whip up, but it’s not hard, either. You know those days in the week when you don’t have any playdates scheduled, you’ve been to the library already, and now it’s raining so you can’t go to the park? Those are perfect bread-making days! You KNOW you’ve got a boatload of laundry to do so you weren’t going anywhere anyway….why not make some bread with your babies?
I got this recipe from a cookbook I’ve admired for some time: Family Meals by Maria Helm Sinskey.
All of the Williams Sonoma books are beautiful and this one is especially so. And the librarian in me would be remiss without mentioning two awesome children’s books to read to your babes while your dough is rising:
Bread Comes to Life by George Levenson and
Everybody Bakes Bread by Norah Dooley. You can totally make this an event by reading one of these books and letting your child particpate in the kneading. Just give them a bit of their own dough to play with. Finally, if you need yet another reason to try making bread, just look at my kiddos watching the oven!
Enough said. Anyhoo, here’s the recipe:
Whole Wheat Bread (makes 2 loaves)
2 3/4 c. white flour
4 3/4 c. wheat flour
2 packages of yeast
2 1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. honey
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter
Stir together white flour and wheat flour; reserve one cup.
Let 2 packets of yeast bloom in warm milk for about 5 minutes; whisk. Whisk in honey and kosher salt. Let stand 5 minutes more and whisk again.
Stir in flour mixture until dry and flaky.
Add stick of unsalted butter (room temp) and beat with dough hook on medium speed, adding as much of the reserved flour as needed until it no longer sticks to bowl.
Knead briefly on floured surface. Put in bowl and cover with clean dish cloth. Let rise 2 to 2 ½ hours.
Punch dough down, divide in half, and flatten each into rectangles 2 inches thick and the length of the pan. Roll up lengthwise into loaf shape and place seam-side down in buttered loaf pans.
Let rise until 1 inch above pan.
Bake 375 for 35-40 minutes.
This is super-good for sandwiches or toast. Good luck, and if you have any questions, let me know!