Today there was sun, snow, rain, hail, more snow, more hail, and then just cold, damp skies. It felt like the world needed a little bit of homemade bread...or at least I did. I Googled "best easy bread recipes" and found one on Allrecipes.com called Simple Whole Wheat Bread that looked and sounded delicious (how can you go wrong with a recipe that calls for lots of butter and honey?) So right after the kids woke up from their nap we decided to have an afternoon of baking fun! I didn't know if they would be interested or not, but as you'll see...they got quite involved:)
After I mixed the warm water, yeast, honey, and flour together, I let the babies try some honey. Let's just say Oliver licked every spot of honey off of his sticky little hands, and Audrey licked the spoon and somehow got her hands on the measuring cup I had used for the honey and licked that clean too. I think they liked it. Meanwhile, Gracie was eating her chicken and green beans like a good girl:)
As I was mixing the whole wheat flour into my bubbly, gooey dough I realized that making bread is messy business. I forgot to flour my hands before pulling the dough out to knead which made my hands a sticky mess, the countertops were well-floured, and I had a tower of dirty dishes (a tribute to my baking endeavor) in my sink. I secretly hoped it would be phenomenal bread that would take my breath away and make me never want to purchase store-bought bread again as to somehow justify the effort and mess.
While I baked, the little ones decided to pull all of my bakeware out of the drawer beneath the oven and slide them around the hardwood floors running as fast as they could and randomly crashing into things. I wonder if they thought that was what I was doing? Do they equate the word "baking" with loud crashing tin and a huge mess in the kitchen? I guess that's not too far off...
Since the whole process took over 3 hours, I had to put the babies to bed before the loaves came out of the oven. I brushed the tops with butter and was absolutely amazed at how beautiful they all looked! I let them cool for about 7 minutes (I couldn't wait a second longer), turned them out of their pans, cut a slice, and you know what? They were phenomenal. And the first thought that crossed my mind just happened to be how utterly scrumptious my homemade bread was and how I've never tasted anything so warm, chewy, and delicious in my entire life. I won't rule out stale, prepackaged, store-bought bread completely - :) - but I think I just may make bread making a monthly tradition in our home.
Simple Whole Wheat Bread
Time: About 3 hours
Yield: 3 beautiful loaves