Sunday, April 1, 2012

Easy, Yummy Bread!

I have been baking my own bread for awhile now.  And, honestly, it is not hard.  It really and truly isn't.  
I started with a bread machine, but now I just do it by hand.  
My favorite book, by far, about bread baking is Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  
Definitely recommend this to anyone who would like to bake bread but is afraid to try it.

But when I'm in a rush and need a quick bread to bring to a potluck or when the kids are just begging for bread for breakfast, I always go to the recipe for oatmeal bread that I originally saw here.  
It is so easy that I know the recipe by heart.   Love that!  So, here it is:

Gather your ingredients:  Active yeast, Salt, Oats, Honey, White Flour, Wheat Flour.  That's it!  Take a look at the typical bread that stores sell, and you'll be sure to find additional ingredients, most that you can't pronounce and that you certaintly don't want to put in your body.  
(As a side note, when I do buy bread, I buy this brand.  Good stuff!).

Put a large spoonful of active dry yeast into a small bowl and add a big glop of honey (really, no need to measure this precisely....I promise it will turn out yummy!).

Add some very warm water (not too hot) to the yeast/honey mixture.  The actual temperature of water should be 105 degrees - 115 degrees F. to proof your yeast (or see if it is still active).  However, I make so much bread that I never test the temperature with a thermometer, and I've never had a problem.  The water should be pretty hot to the touch but not so hot that you can't put your finger into it.  If you are new to using yeast, I would recommend using a thermometer the first few times until you get a feel for what you are doing.

Mix it all up gently.

Put your bowl in a warm spot to let the yeast activate.  In a few minutes, you should see the mixture start to puff up and bubble...amazing and always fun to watch!

While all of this wonderful kitchen science is going on, you can get your dry ingredients measured out.
In a large bowl, measure 1 cup of oats, 1 cup of white flour, and 1 cup of wheat flour.  Add 1 1/2 tsp. of salt and mix it all up.

Have a sip of smoothie!  Yum!

After your yeasty mixture has poofed up a bit (maybe 10 minutes or so), add it to your dry ingredients and mix it up.  Add enough warm water to make a dough.  The dough should be on the wet side, as far as bread dough goes.  

Now, smear some Earth Balance in a loaf pan so that your bread won't stick or use a non-stick spray.  And spoon your dough into the loaf pan.
I then like to sprinkle the loaf with additional oats, just because it looks pretty!

 And pop your loaf in a warm oven (put it on for a few minutes and then turn it off).  Let your bread rise for 30 minutes.  Then set your oven at 350 degrees F. and let the bread bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.  That's one hour from rising to finished bread.  So simple and quick!

After 30 minutes, put the loaf pan on a cooling rack to cool for a few minutes.
Then pop the bread out of the pan and let cool completely.
Look at how beautiful!  And, trust me, the taste will not disappoint!

That's it!  I can make this bread in under 2 hours from the beginning to the yummy end.  
And, if you have a bunch of bread lovers, as I do, you can easily double this recipe and make two loaves at a time.  If you have leftovers (doubtful), then you can freeze the completely cooled bread, and it will be just as yummy and fresh when you defrost it.

You can slice and serve this anyway you like.  But, if my children had to recommend a favorite way, it would be slathered in Earth Balance and yummy raw honey.  So good!

So, what are you waiting for?  Get baking!

1 comment:

  1. Lydia, I'm going to try this tomorrow.
    Thanks for the recipe.