I'm just a busy wife and mom who loves to cook (and hates to clean up afterward), balancing the many hats I wear and trying to look cool, calm, and collected while doing it...

Oh, and I rarely measure anything when I cook, so consider yourself warned. Love good food. Try new things. Eat to your heart's content.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Homemade Bread... (using yeast!! *gasp*)

UPDATE: This bread is good right out of the oven... but hard as a rock and brick-like the next day. I suggest eating it quick. Otherwise it's gross! Next time I try making bread, I'll be using a better recipe for sure. :/

Last week the igniter went out in our oven. Eight days later, it was fixed. In those eight days, I don't know what came over me, but all I could think about was wanting to bake something. (So today I baked cookies two ways, then made dinner in the oven, and now this...)
I am not a baker. Probably because it takes measuring ingredients out, and if you don't get the chemistry right, things just don't turn out. Cooking is much more forgiving than baking, in my opinion, which is why i usually stick to that, and bake only on the very rare occasion, like holidays and birthdays. That, and I'm lazy.

Even more rare than me baking, is me using yeast when baking. It scares me. Scares me to the point where we had frozen rolls when I hosted Thanksgiving this year, which is just plain wrong. In fact, this is the very first recipe in which I've EVER used yeast. I don't know why it scares me, but it does.

Today I might have conquered my fear.

I baked bread.

While browsing Pinterest I came across a recipe for soda bread which led me to a blog where I got the original idea for this Easy Little Bread. This blogger stated that if you are afraid to use yeast, then this is a perfect recipe to start with. And it looked so very simple with only eight ingredients.

I did change it up just slightly, by using two cups of white whole wheat flour, instead of one cup AP flour and one cup whole wheat flour, and I only guessed on how much honey I added, but I'm sure it was more than one Tbsp. I also added about a 1/2 Tbsp of butter to the dough, brushed the top with melted butter in the last 4-5 minutes of baking, and did not put it under the broiler. The broiler is another fear of mine. But we'll save conquering that one for another day...

I can tell you it smells delightful as it bakes. I can also tell you that it is the most unattractive loaf of bread I've ever seen. Ever. It makes Sloth from The Goonies look attractive. That's how ugly this thing is. It's simple, dense and crumbly.

But it is good. With butter all over it while it's warm. And homemade strawberry jam from your neighbor (Thank you Deanna!!).

See, it is what's inside that counts.

Oat-Wheat Bread (For Beginners)

1 1/4 cups warm water (105-115F)
2 tsp active dry yeast (or one packet)
1 Tbsp honey
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
1 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
2 Tbsp butter, melted (1 1/2 Tbsp for coating the pan, 1/2 Tbsp to add to the dough) + extra for brushing on top
Preheat the oven to 350F, with a rack in the middle.

In a small bowl, add the yeast into the warm water and stir until the yeast dissolves. Set aside... the yeast will activate within 5 - 10 minutes. It will all of a sudden move... not quite fizz, but you'll know when it happens...  Then stir in the honey.

Meanwhile, mix the flour, oats, and salt in a large bowl. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir very well (I used my hands, hence the lack of pictures). The dough is very dry. Add the butter toward the end of stirring, and this will help get the last dry bits incorporated.

Brush a 9 in. loaf pan very generously with the melted butter. Put the dough into the pan and pat gently to disperse it evenly. Cover with a clean, slightly damp cloth or paper towel, and set in a warm place for 30 minutes, to rise. It's not going to rise much. Just enough to kind of fill in the pan a bit.

Bake the bread for 35-40 minutes, until golden and pulling away from the sides of the pan.

Remove from oven and spread or brush more melted butter on the top. Put it back in the oven for 4-5 more minutes.

Remove from oven, and turn the bread out of the pan right away onto a rack (so it doesn't steam in the pan).

Serve warm, with butter (and jam!).

Makes 1 loaf.

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