Certain Doom. The Apocalypse. Yeast and Rise.
These are the words that first come to mind when I think about making bread from scratch.
Actually, it's not that bad.
I made my first loaf of REAL bread last week--and by real I mean something that does not have bananas or a cup of sugar as its base--and I survived to tell you all about it.
The hardest part about making bread is waiting patiently for the dough to rise. I released my building impatience by kneading the dough as if I were giving an enemy a deep tissue massage (in what world would I being doing that?).
After a second rise (and increasing impatience) I painted a beautiful golden egg across the top of the unbaked loaf and sprinkled it with roasted sunflower kernels. Whole wheat bread was in need of a make-over.
After baking this bread my apartment smelled homey and comforting and I bathed my face in a stream of hot steam coming off of the warm loaf.
Then I slathered butter on it--the bread, not my face (in case you were wondering).
The loaf turned out a bit denser than I expected, but that's all right with me. When toasted it is the perfect accompaniment to a nice dinner salad or a bowl of soup, or, of course, a stick of butter.
Whole Wheat Bread
Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com
Yields: 1 regular sized loaf
2 TB brown sugar
1 TB active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk
1 TB vegetable oil
Drizzle of olive oil (to rub over dough)
1 cup all purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
Roasted sunflower seed kernels
Dissolve brown sugar and yeast in a bowl with the warm water until mixture is creamy, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Add yeast mixture to all purpose flour, 1 cup of whole wheat flour, milk, vegetable oil, and salt. Beat or stir well. Add the rest of the flour, a little at a time, and continue to stir. Once dough has formed a ball, pulling away from the sides of the bowl, move dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until dough feels smooth and elastic.
Drizzle olive oil in a large mixing bowl and rub oil up sides of bowl. Place ball of dough in bowl and turn until dough is well coated with the olive oil.
Cover bowl with a warm damp towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours until dough has doubled in size. It works well to place the bowl inside an oven turned OFF as there is no draft there. Dough is ready when an indentation pressed 1 to 2 inches into dough with a finger remains.
Grease a regular size loaf pan and set aside. Punch dough in the center to deflate it. Place the dough in the loaf pan and cover it again with a warm damp towel and leave it to rise for another 40 minutes to an hour until the dough has again doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 400 deg F.
Brush the top of the loaf with a beaten egg and roasted sunflower kernels or other chopped nuts or seeds if desired.
Bake loaf for about 30 minutes. Bread is done baking when tapping on the bottom of the loaf pan produces a hollow sound.
After baking, allow to cool for about 5 minutes and then remove from pan.