Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Real Food: Baking Bread.

I've turned a corner, my friends. Not just on the doubt issue (but thank you all so much for your great comments!), a different corner. A cooking corner: I've turned a corner in the kitchen.

Yup, I've become a real food addict. Not to be confused with a real food addict. Nope, I'm addicted to making, baking, creating, and serving real food to my family. Might not sound like a big deal; after all, I've long advocated the benefits of eating real food but I'd become a bit of a slacker in recent months. I started to take more and more advantage of convenience foods. Nothing major -- I was still cooking decent dinners and such -- but I was buying and serving more foods that made me cringe just a little each time I served them.

So, just like with the smoothies and the chia, I am now back on the real food track. More whole foods. More organic foods. Less of the processed stuff. I'm not swearing off all conveniences -- I'll still buy my butter (although I did find a good, seemingly easy, recipe for making your own . . . ), and many other things -- but I am striving to be better about the quality of what I feed the family.

And first up: Bread. I've gone crazy bread-baking style!

Um, why didn't I remember how easy it is to bake bread? And how satisfying? Because it is. Easy. Satisfying. And better. Oh, so much better.

Last week I made three loaves of bread, using a recipe adapted from my favorite cooking dude, Mark Bittman.  I first made one loaf and we ate it with a veggie-heavy soup that I made for dinner. It was hearty and good. The next day, the bread made excellent toast:

Mmmm . . . toast!

The second day, I went for two loaves, a regular one and a cinnamon swirl:

That's the cinnamon swirl loaf in the front.

Seriously, bread is not hard to make and I plan to keep baking.

Give it up for homemade bread!

Then, on Friday, I made homemade pizza with -- you guessed it -- dough from scratch. Again, super, super easy! 

Want to hop on the bread-baking train? Here's the simple recipe I used (again, modified a little using Bittman's recipe).

Sandwich Bread

3 cups of white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons butter (softened)
1-1/3 cups milk

Put the flour in a food processor fitted w/a steel blade. Add salt and yeast and process for a few seconds. Keep machine running and pour in sugar, butter, and milk (through the feed tube). Process for about 30 seconds, until the dough forms a bit of a ball. It shouldn't be too sticky. Knead on a lightly floured surface for about a minute.

Lightly oil a bowl and place the dough ball in it, cover with a damp towel, and let the dough rise for about 2 hours. It should double in size (about). Then, deflate the dough, reshape into a ball, and let it rise for 15 more minutes.

Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan. Shape your bread, put it in the pan, and let it rise one last time, for about an hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. After final rise, bake the bread for 45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. 

Slice. Enjoy!

You can play with the ratio of whole wheat and white flour, or add flax meal, ground oatmeal, whatever you like. I'll be experimenting this week!

What's your favorite bread recipe? 

Have a great day!

~ Felice


Anonymous said...

I love making bread. I don't always take the time to and then I get annoyed when my husband buys some. Not only is it more expensive to buy it but it's harder to control the content.

Hands down my favorite recipe is a 100% whole wheat, no fail and not dense bread from the Progressive Pioneer.

I mix in some fun flours like spelt and other things from time to time. Or add sunflower seeds. It's a great recipe and doesn't take much of your time.

Marlene said...

Very impressive! I would love to find the time/motivation to make bread from scratch.... if for no other reason than to smell fresh bread in my house. :)

Bridget said...

I was on a bread kick a few months back. I found a book at the library and it was all about how to make bread without kneading it. So I have some recipes for that if you are intersted in making it more simple.

JanisG said...

I love this post. That's all!! :)

Nicole said...

I love making my own bread! But I'm lazy so I use the bread machine, the loafs are a lot smaller, but I love it. Going for it tomorrow!

Michelle @ www.movinitwithmichelle.com said...

This looks amazing!!!

Cindy said...

i'm a huge believer in whole foods as well...i still have a bit of "junk" in my diet but it's usually a bit on free days so i don't go crazy...but other days it's all clean whole foods and all meals are made from scratch.

i've actually never made bread...for some reason bread (or anything with yeast) and pastry intimidates me, even though i'm an avid cook!

Elle said...

I don't make bread very often anymore because I want to sit and eat the whole loaf when I do!

I have made many kinds over the years and love it all..

Mamun said...

You blog is amazing and I have found some wonderful recipes which gave flavor to my life.


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