Simple [Sim-puhl]

Simple [Sim-puhl]
1. easy to understand, deal with, use, etc.
2. not elaborate or artificial; plain
3. not ornate or luxurious; unadorned

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Staff of Life

There is nothing else quite like the aroma of homemade bread baking. My mother was not big into making homemade bread until after I left home, but I always felt like there was something fundamentally special about it. Whenever we received a loaf of homemade bread from a friend or neighbor it was an experience that nearly brought tears to the eye. Somehow homemade bread is an indescribable joy to be given. (My mother made biscuits, and boy did she ever know how to make biscuits no one else can compare with. You might think you were eating a round white dinner roll, but they were mother's baking powder biscuits.)
Especially in the last few years I have been trying to learn how to make a fluffy, soft, tall loaf of homemade bread. A friend who instructed a bread making class said, there is something about a home where bread is made that is different than other homes. (She was not referring to the aroma of coarse but the spirit of that home.) Bread is a special food.
The french say, "vive le pan Parisian!" and believe it to be the staff of life. (So says Mireille Guiliano in her book French Women Don't Get Fat or French Women for All Seasons, I can't remember which.) In just about every culture I have had the privilege of exploring there is always some version of bread. I cannot therefore get on the band wagon with all the carbafobes and believe that bread, the most basic and oldest form of nourishment to the human body, could be bad for me. (Especially since it's been proven to be heart-healthy.)That being said; of coarse, moderation in all things is required.
In my search over many years to learn to make this perfect food correctly; I have sought expertise from the best bread makers I have met with and tried several recipes but failed every time. It wasn't till I watched a video from a company called Wild Oats and Aprons that I was able to produce this...
Aren't they just lovely? My pride and joy.. This is proof that perservierance and prayer can accomplish anything! 
The recipe used in the video I watched was strikingly similar to the recipe my instructor friend gave me for homemade whole wheat bread. I wonder if my friend knows about Wild Oats and Aprons..
The lady in the video said the recipe could be modified to be whole wheat or add oats or replace the sugar for honey and the butter for oil etc. I just used white flour to see how it turned out. She taught this recipe because it was so versatile and a good start for beginners. Like Me!
In all the prior recipes I read they talked about chemistry and the right amounts of what for high moisture days and for low moisture days etc. This recipe is simple, and EASY! I calculated the recipe to make exactly one loaf and use Honey and Coconut oil (since I have a very small family more than one loaf is simply ridiculous for me to make right now.)

1+ Cup Hot Water
1 1/2 Tbsp Honey
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
¾ tsp Salt
2 tsp Yeast
2 2/3 Cups + 2 tsp Flour


Using an electric mixer with regular beaters, mix all but the flour together (setting 2 for only a couple seconds) in the order given and let stand for 10 minutes. Using dough hooks, mix in the Flour a cup at a time, mixing until the dough cleans the bowl and looks a bit glossy. Form dough into a loaf and place in greased bread pan, set pan on a towel on the counter and cover with another towel, let rise 20 to 30 minutes until doubled in bulk. Carefully set bread in the oven preheated to 350 degrees, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Take out of oven and slide out of pan onto a wire rack to cool so the bottom won’t get soggy. Butter the top to keep it soft and to add flavor.

Making homemade bread is cheaper than buying it at the store (especially if you try to be healthy and get whole grain or good quality.) It is much healthier for the body since one controls what goes into her own bread. And it tastes infinitely better. (When made right that is.) Bread has been a basic food staple since, well.. B.C. and I among many feel that we should give it the respect and proper place in our diet.

As I make my weekly loaf of bread I ponder the spiritual aspects of bread. I think of the Lord, The Bread of Life, and how each ingredient has reference to Jesus Christ in the scriptures. Experienced Breadmakers will tell you that bread dough is alive and it reacts to your mood and how you treat is as you mix and knead it. Thinking about the love I have for my family; especially my wonderful husband, I am making this food for helps me make a better bread. I knead a lot of kind thoughts and tenderness into my loaf for my loved ones to consume. Homemade bread blesses the lives of not only those who eat it but the person who makes it.

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