Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bread Baking at A Joyful Cottage - Honey Wheat Bread

I was going to post this yesterday, but after hearing of the Boston bombings I just couldn't. My thoughts and prayers are with those families who have been touched
by this tragedy.




Welcome to the Colorado Rockies in April. We're in the midst of a major snow dump. So far (as of Tuesday afternoon) about 21" have fallen, and we're expecting another 2 - 4 inches in the next 24 hours. The elk gals were outside my hubby's studio yesterday morning. They didn't seem too bothered by all the white stuff.
Usually we have a view of the mountains from our front window. But not today. It's like one big white blanket out there, except for a few residential landmarks and trees.
That weird looking spikey thing to the right of the geranium is my attempt at forcing daffodils. It's only been a few weeks since I started them. I had a few left over from planting last fall, so I threw them into a pot and covered them with soil, just to see what would happen. I'm happy to see the ladies shooting up. I think I'll get a couple of blooms, at least. I'll keep you posted.
Yesterday I decided to bake bread. I've been doing this regularly the past couple of months for four reasons.
#1 - Whole grain bread that doesn't even taste good is close to $4 a loaf where we live.
#2 - Homemade bread is superior in taste and texture, and it has no preservatives.
#3 - I love the way baking bread makes our cottage smell.
#4 - I really love seeing a freshly baked loaf sitting on my counter.
Yes, that's my loaf of bread up there. Can you believe it? Honestly, I can't. I've made bread before, but never at high altitude. I wasn't sure I wanted to tackle it. Then I came across this miracle cookbook.
Susan G. Purdy is my new heroine. This lady rocks my world big time. I tried her recipe for Boulder White Bread and it was a smashing success. Feeling confident and very thankful, I then went for the whole enchilada loaf and made the Honey Wheat Bread my second time out. Another yeast bread triumph. Currently, that's all I make. But one of these days I want to try her recipe for Grassy Creek Multigrain Bread, a rustic round bread.

Getting back to the Honey Wheat, I like the fact that this recipe gives me the alternative to let my Kitchenaid mixer do all the hard work.  



I can use my paddle attachment to mix.



And my hook attachment to knead.



I like that I can turn the dough out and finish kneading by hand. It makes me feel a little pioneer womanish. (I wanted to take a picture of me kneading the dough, but -- uh -- I couldn't figure out how to hold the camera and snap while both hands were busy.)



After just five minutes of kneading, it looks like this. A smooth, pretty ball.




It goes into an oiled pan.



It take a nap under a tea towel while the yeast does its magic.




I remove the towel and Abracadabra, the dough is doubled in size.



I give it a few hefty punches to get all the air bubbles out, and knead it several times. It rests and rises again.

And then I flatten it out and shape it with my hands.



Roll it up, pinch the seams




and place it in the loaf pan.

(Dennis just walked by and said this looks like a burrito. I really must get a private space to write.
 Preferably with a door I can lock.)


It rises one last time and then goes into the oven. The aroma of the baking bread is heavenly. And when it finally comes out of the oven and I slice it, I get a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. (And lots of yummy sounds when my hubby noshes on it.)



If you like to bake and live at high altitude (or even if you live at sea level), look for Susan G. Purdy's Pie In The Sky cookbook. She's tested all the recipes for yeast breads, muffins, quick breads, cakes, cookies, pies, soufflés and more at sea level, 3,000 ft, 5,000 ft, 7,000 ft and 10,000 ft. Her recipes adjust the ingredients at each altitude to make baking at all altitudes a breeze. I love this cookbook.

Just curious, do you bake your own bread? Why or why not?

Blessings,


Sharing today with:
Create with Joy/Inspire Me Monday
Weekly Homemaking Party
You're Gonna Love It
Show It Off Wednesday

14 comments:

  1. The snow in April, I love it. Wonderful capture of the elk gals with the fast moving snow. Colorado is a beautiful state.
    Walking into a home that has bread baking with the snow falling outside is so inviting and cozy. Your loaf looks wonderful, forget the butter, I eat it like it is. Not a thing better than homemade bread and you are so right. Bread has no flavor anymore no matter what the style or type.
    betsy

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    1. Thanks for your nice words, Betsy. I grew up on a farm with a stack of Wonder bread at every meal. My mother baked, but never made bread. But Martha, our neighbor and my mother's friend, made bread and rolls in her cook stove. I remember sitting in her farmhouse kitchen eating warm bread and homemade jam and thinking it was the most wonderful treat in the world. I also vowed some day I would teach myself to make "real" bread. Wonder just never made it after that. :)

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  2. This is a great posting. I join with you, as my thoughts are with those in Boston. I love the bread baking recipe and demonstration...I need to save it for future reference.

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Nora. And I hope you'll get a chance to try Susan Purdy's bread recipe some time. Have a great week.

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  3. Love the photo of the elks gals standing in the snowstorm!
    Your bread looks delicious. I never bake bread or anything that requires yeast. I just never had any luck with it.

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    1. I think I've had better luck with yeast bread since I started using my Kitchenaid to make it. Can't say for sure, though. Thanks for stopping by Barb. Cheers.

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  4. I love cottages! You're pictures are very entrancing. I've never made my own bread before. Nothing like fresh, warm bread from the oven though. :)

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    1. Thanks, Nat. You should try making bread sometime. It's a very rewarding experience.

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  5. I used to make my own bread all the time. I remember saying in the 1960s that if bread got to $1 a loaf in the stores that I'd never buy it again. Little did I know! That is one handsome loaf of bread you made! Like a food stylist had her hands on it! I've got to try my hand at it again. I still do make homemade rolls and biscuits a lot and Sally Lunn. I used to make sourdough but let my starter die years ago.

    I don't know how I missed your post on the longhouse in Wales but it is beautiful. That's one I'd love to stay in for a month or so on a visit, or live in forever!

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    1. I love sourdough bread, but have never made it. I think it's the starter that has stopped me. It kind of inhibits my spontaneity. I did make a French baguette once and it was delicious. Have a great weekend, Dewena. (The longhouse is delightful. I'm glad you like it, too.)

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  6. I love baking bread for all the reasons you cite! I always heard that high altitudes made a difference but never knew why.

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    1. Hi Betty. The higher the altitude, the less air pressure there is pressing down on the dough as it rises and the faster it will rise. The slower the rise the better the flavor and texture of the bread. So I have to adjust the amount of yeast (less as the altitude increases) and salt (more as the altitude increases), to slow down the process and give me a good loaf. I've had to learn this after moving from 685 feet to over 7,000 feet. Thanks for visiting. Have a great week!

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  7. Hello Nancy, well your bread is beautiful and I can only imagine how marvelous your cottage home smells. It is amazing to me that the elk come so close to your home and the snow is beautiful, even if it is cold and I'm sure that you are ready for some warm spring weather. I am your newest follower and I would like to take this opportunity to invite you over to follow me back (that is if you visit and like my blog). Have a lovely time enjoying your warm and yummy bread. Connie :)

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    1. Hi Connie. Thanks so much for visiting and especially for the nice comment. It's great to hear from sweet people like you. I've visited your blog and am following you, too. Not because you're following me (although I certainly appreciate that), but because I like your blog. It sounds like we have a lot of the same interests.
      God bless you. I hope you'll come back often.

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