Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bread is Good


It's been a pretty yucky week so far.  So, I'm choosing to thank God for His presence and provision and I am sharing my bread recipe with you.  It's easy-peasy, inexpensive and so reliable. It's also vegan, containing no dairy or eggs.  I've only ever had requests for MORE bread, not less, so I don't think anyone has ever missed those ingredients.  Plus, using just the water and oil, it saves even more money!

 My electric mixer was a thrift-store purchase about 5 years ago and was easily 25 to 30 years old at the time.  It finally bit the dust this past autumn and I've been doing all my mixing by hand ever since.  I actually am enjoying making the bread even more now that I'm doing it all by hand.  My recipe reflects that.

Easy Whole-Wheat Bread

3 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c sugar
2 T salt
4 t yeast
4 c water
1/2 c light olive oil
6 c unbleached, all-purpose flour

Stir whole-wheat flour, sugar, salt, and yeast into a large bowl.  Heat water and oil on the stove until about 120 F. Add water to flour mixture and stir for a few minutes until it's nicely blended.  Continue stirring in unbleached flour one cup at a time.  After about the 5th cup of flour, I turn the dough out onto a floured countertop and with oiled hands, begin kneading, adding the additonal flour as needed keep it from being too sticky.  You may need more than just 6 c of the unbleached flour as you near the end.  Sometimes if it's seeming too dry, I'll oil my countertop and knead that in too before I add more flour.  Knead until it is nice and smooth - about 10 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl, setting dough in the bowl and then flipping it over so that it is coated on both sides.  Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm spot until doubled, about an hour to hour and a half.  Punch down and divide in two.  On an oiled countertop, roll out 1/2 of the dough into a 9 in.-wide rectangle to release air bubbles.  Roll up, tucking in ends as needed and place into prepared, oiled bread pan.  Repeat with second half.  Let rest and rise for about 20 minutes.  While the dough is resting and rising again, preheat oven to 375 F. Move a middle rack lower, so that the tops don't burn when the bread rises even more in the oven.  Bake for 40 minutes.  You can brush with melted Earth Balance over the top if you like, for a softer, shinier crust.  I like mine as is.  Let pans cool for about 10 minutes, then remove bread from pans onto racks to completely cool.  I know it is tempting to eat the bread when it is still so nice and hot, but it will hold up much better for you for slicing into pieces if you let it cool thoroughly - at least an hour!

This past weekend I spread one half of the dough with brown sugar and cinnamon before I rolled it up to place in the pan and made cinnamon-swirl bread.  YUM!

Let me know if you give it a try! Enjoy! :)

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Image by Alan Blaustein - available at Allposters.com
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