Recipes

Peasant Bread

Can bread be beautiful?

Yes, it absolutely can!

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This is a gorgeous loaf that we made yesterday. Hearty and rustic with just the right amount of crust. So, so good…

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My typical “go to” bread recipe is a honey wheat that I make about once a week.

This particular recipe, however, is one I found in an international cookbook.

It is entitled “Slavic Farmer’s Bread.”

Here’s the recipe we used, with a little extra somethin’ somethin’ added in for texture:

*2 Packs active dry yeast

*2 C warm water

*1 tsp salt

*Approximately  5 1/2-6 C bread flour

*1/3 C butter, cut into little pieces

*1/4-1/2 C wheat bran (Shhh…our secret ingredient!)

Dissolve yeast in a bowl with warm water.

In a separate large bowl, mix salt with 4 C of the bread flour and the wheat bran. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until it is a crumbly mixture. Add yeast mixture in and stir by hand or in a stand mixer until flour is nice and moist. Work in 1 more cup of flour to form a stiff dough.

Turn onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes. Add a little more flour to prevent sticking as you go.

Place in a greased bowl and flip to grease the top as well. Cover and allow to rise in a warm location for about an hour to an hour and a half.

Grease a baking sheet. Punch down dough and knead a little longer. Shape into a round or oval loaf and place on the baking sheet. Cover and allow to rise for about another 45 minutes. Loaf should about double in size during this time! Preheat oven to 400 F.

Cut a 1/2″ deep cross into the top of the loaf. Brush loaf with warm water. Bake for 25 minutes at 400, then reduce to 350 F and bake about 15 more minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack before serving.

The nice crusty underside of the loaf.
The nice crusty underside of the loaf.

Slice and enjoy!

Note: This makes one giant loaf of bread. When I make it again I am going to try dividing it into 2 smaller round loaves and figure out the baking times. Also, what we didn’t eat I stored in a paper bag overnight and it was just as wonderfully crusty this morning.

Points to Ponder

A Little Bit Scary…

So today’s post is a bit different from what I normally put on here.

Today I am sharing/venting about something that happened this week that really bugged me. It all has to do with food.

First of all, y’all know I love to make stuff. Pretty much anything DIY and you know I’m all over it. One of the things I really enjoy making is bread. This is something I really do on a regular basis, baking bread at least every other week. Typically I make a few loaves, we eat one right away and I freeze the rest for future consumption. However, I do buy some bread items occasionally as well, usually scoring them for around a dollar each. By the way, if you never make your own bread, I in no way judge you. Not everyone has the time, patience, or even desire to make their own bread. I’m just weird like that.

Anyhow, sometime within the past month I bought hot dog rolls from Wal Mart, getting their Great Value brand pack. Somehow we ate most of the pack and apparently one lonely hot dog roll got lost in the depths of my bread box. I have no idea how I missed it, but somehow it just surfaced yesterday.

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Now granted, I can’t remember the exact date we opened this pack, but I know it had to have been probably three weeks prior to my finding it again.

Well, guess what?

That lonely hot dog roll looked and smelled exactly the same as when I bought the pack. It wasn’t hard, funky, or even starting to go moldy.

What does that tell you and I about what is in these rolls/buns?

Um, the word “preservatives” comes to mind. Lots of them, I’ll bet.

I turned the package over to check the ingredient list. I only knew what a few of the ingredients actually are. As for the rest, I would have to have a pretty good knowledge of Chemistry to even have a clue what they are.

This is just a little scary to me. And it makes me glad that I’m weird and enjoy making my lovely loaves of bread. I know exactly what is in them, and they’re pretty good too.

This whole incident reminded me of a quote I had tried to explain to my kids recently:

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This is after they were reading a library book about weird and wacky foods. One of my boys was fascinated by the page about Twinkies and was reading us all the Twinkie myths about its longevity and possible shelf life. I had to explain that anything staying good that long had to be pretty cruddy for you. (As a side note, they also read about Spam and couldn’t believe someone would put pressed ham in a can. We did buy some and cooked it up just as a teachable moment. And yes, even though it was probably bad for me, I thought it was pretty palatable.)

Anyhow, I just had to get the hot dog roll incident off my chest. (For an even scarier one, check out this link and read the whole way through to the bottom.) It just makes me think of how we should all be more mindful of what we’re putting into our bodies on a daily basis. We don’t do too shabby around here, but I know there’s times we could do better.

That’s all for now, I just thought I had to share that!

Recipes

Oatmeal Bread

This is one of the best bread recipes I’ve ever tried.

No kidding. It’s awesome.

I found this recipe for oatmeal bread in the latest Penzey’s Spices catalog. Since I’ve been in a bread-making and baking mode, I thought it was worth a shot.

My kids (and man) all gave it a unanimous thumbs-up at dinnertime the other night.

Really, is there anything better than walking into a house that smells like homemade bread?

I think not.

Since this was such a hit with my crowd, I thought I’d pass along the recipe.

Oatmeal Bread

1 cup regular oats

2 cups boiling water

2 TB yeast

1/3 cup warm water

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup honey

2 TB canola oil

2 cups wheat flour

2 cups white flour

Put oats in a bowl and add the boiling water. Let these sit for @30 minutes. In a different bowl, combine the yeast with the warm water and let sit until it gets bubbly. Add the yeast mixture to the oats and stir. Add in the cinnamon, salt, honey, and oil and mix well. Gradually add in the wheat and white flour. (You may need to add a little more white flour to get the consistency you prefer.) Knead for at least 5 minutes. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise in a warm location for 2 hours. Punch down and shape into 2 loaves. Cover these and allow to rise for another 30-40 minutes. They may have more of a bumpy/rustic look to the top, but this is as it should be. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 F. Remove from oven and let cool.

Recipes

Fabulous Homemade Bread

Well folks, I finally did it. After 12 1/2 years of marriage, I finally managed to make decent homemade bread. I hadn’t tried in awhile because it seems like every time I do, it usually tastes ok, but ends up so dense and heavy that you could use it as a weapon. Then I get disgusted and don’t try again for a long time. However, a friend from my MOPS group gave me a recipe that she swears by. Yesterday I gave it a try and, lo and behold, it turned out wonderful. My family feasted on bread at dinner last night and gave it a thumbs-up all around.  So, since I love to share what actually works for me, here’s the recipe I used. Just a little warning– if the amounts seem a bit high, it’s because this makes 6 loaves of bread!! I’m told that it freezes well, so you can always wrap up a bunch of them into the freezer for later use. Also, my electric knife cut these slices beautifully.

Fabulous Homemade Bread

  • 1/2 C warm water
  • 3 packages yeast
  • 1/4 C bread flour
  • 1 TB white sugar
  • 2 C quick oats
  • 2 C wheat flour
  • 4 1/2 C warm water
  • 1 1/2 TB salt
  • 2/3 C brown sugar
  • 2/3 C oil
  • 10 C bread flour

Stir 1/2 C water, 1 TB sugar, 1/4 C flour, and yeast in a mixing bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Place oats, 4 1/2 C water, wheat flour, salt, 2/3 C br. sugar, and 2/3 C oil into mixing bowl and mix well.

Add bread flour into bowl, mixing in 1 Cup at a time. You may need to use a very large mixing bowl at this point and use your hands to mix well.

Place dough in an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.

Divide into 6 loaves–allow to rise 1 more hour.

Bake at 350 F for 35 minutes.

Recipe originally from allrecipes.com.  Thanks Cari!