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?


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