We've been trying to find a rhythm around these parts…..
It seems we need to.
In order to get things done and have some peace in our days.
Oh yes, and to make sure there is always toast. (says the Eldest)
And so we've started a baking day.
On Mondays we bake two very messy loaves of our favorite bread.
With little helpers.
I cannot tell you how important it is to do this before the day's clean up, because the flour and oats all about the kitchen is quite inevitable. And though admittedly not my favorite part, I do believe the mess is the little's favorite part! Another tip is to let the helper's make their very own loaves. This has been a huge hit around here. A very real "I made this myself" kind of moment.
Mr Three is always up for baking bread… and the others help at times too…..
As for the bread baking later in the week when things tend to get busy, the bread machine helps out by at least mixing up the dough for me. I recently made a delicious sourdough dough in it and then baked it up in the oven to serve with salmon chowder. Mmmmmmm……
So, onto our most favorite of bread. This is my own recipe, tried and reworked dozens of times to get it just right for us. The flax and oats help make up for the white flour fiber wise, and the flax seems to make it a moist bread too. It is quite delicious! I was focusing on the making for this post, but you can see a picture of the finished/baked loaf here if you wish 🙂
Gypsy Mama's Favorite Bread
- 3.5 cups warm water
- 1 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast ~ about 2.5 teaspoons
- 1/3 cup honey
- 3 Tablespoons butter melted
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup ground flax or wheat germ (we like flax best)
- 1 cup dry oats
- 3-4 cups unbleached white bread flour
Mix together the water, yeast & honey. Let sit while you melt the butter. Add the melted butter, salt and wheat flour to the yeast and mix well. Add the flax and oats & mix again. Add the white flour 1 cup at a time until the batter is too hard to stir (by hand) or until the batter is very thick and holds it's shape (by mixer). I have found my bread is best if I at least finish it off by hand. Meaning I can start it out in the mixer but once the batter gets thick I put it onto a floured surface and knead in the remaining flour by hand. Yes it's messier, but knowing the feel of the bread enables you to make good bread every time. Especially with wheat doughs. It's very easy to add too much flour in a mixer. Once the dough holds it's shape but is no longer sticky it is ready to rise. Flour it generously and put in a large bowl in a warm spot to rise for 45-60 minutes… until nearly doubled. Punch down divide into 2 loaves. Pat with flour and let rise 30 minutes in oiled/buttered loaf pan. Preheat the oven to 375.
** If you like soft sandwich bread, bake at 375 until nicely golden. About 35-45 minutes in loaf pans.
** If you like a crusty round loaf, place an oven safe dish of water on the bottom rack below the bread for steam. Bake the loaves at 450 for 10-15 minutes until crust is set, rotating if necessary. Reduce heat to 350 for remaining baking time, until loaves are a deep golden brown. Another 30 minutes or so.
** If you use stoneware, as I do, the bottom may not brown as well, you can gently pop the loaf out and let it bake directly on the oven rack the last 10-15 minutes. However if it seems stuck, don't force it! You'll end up pulling the bread right in half…. yes I've done that! And yes, it is a bummer!