Since moving to Colorado and not having to return to work I have found the time and the inclination to bake our own bread. Or maybe it is just because I love using my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Either way I know that Addy really enjoys helping make bread. We make a yummy honey oatmeal recipe once a week and occasionally other types of bread. I like the idea of homemade bread because there are no additives and I can make it organic without paying the high price of natural bread. I create less waste because we can reuse the bread bags.
This is definitely one of the times that I have to suspend my desire for a clean kitchen. Making bread with a toddler is MESSY. However the learning that she does and the finished product make it totally worth it. Addy loves to taste all of the ingredients. I usually give her a tiny taste of each as they go in, but I have to watch the flour because she would eat it by the handful. She usually ends up with a fine coating of it anyways. She is just getting to the point where she can roll out the dough and is starting to try to shape the loaves.
I have found that although this recipe may turn out best when it is followed pretty closely there is some room for flexibility. For instance the rising times often are shorter or longer than recommended but the bread still turns out tasty if not beautiful. This past week we made the dough then went for our run. We stopped at the park on the way home and the bread rose for over an hour and a half on the first rise. By then we were pushing it to get it baked by the time we had to leave the house for the day so I only let is rise about 30 minutes for the second rise. It worked, they aren't the lightest fluffiest loaves we've had but they ended up a nice shape. I also just let it rise in the first time in the bowl I made it in rather than greasing a clean bowl as recommended.
When we first started making our own bread we went through it more quickly. Now that we are used to it we go through about two loaves a week. I store one in the freezer and then defrost it on the counter when we need it.
I've just started looking for a local source of flour but currently I just use whatever organic brand is on sale. I use local honey and good quality butter and oats.
This recipe came from the cookbook that came with my Kitchen Aid.
Honey Oatmeal Bread
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup honey
1 cup organic whole wheat flour
4-5 cups organic white flour
1 cup oatmeal
2 tsps salt
2 packages yeast or 4 1/2 tsps.
Heat the butter, honey and water together over low heat until 120-130 degrees. Use a thermometer! Otherwise you risk not allowing the yeast the proper environment. Put the oatmeal, whole wheat flour, 3 cups of white flour, salt and yeast in the mixer bowl. With the dough hook on, mix on stir setting for 15 seconds. Slowly add liquids and mix for about a minute. Add eggs one at a time until incorporated. While mixing on level 2 slowly add the rest of the white flour about a 1/2 cup at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and clings to the dough hook. That should take about 2 minutes. Then knead on level 2 for two more minutes. Scrape sides of bowl clean and form dough into a nice ball. Place in a cold oven and allow to rise for about an hour. Dump onto lightly floured surface. Divide evenly. Roll out into a rectangle and then roll up into a log tucking the ends under. Place in lightly greased bread pans. Put back into cold oven to allow to rise again for about an hour. Turn convection oven to 350 and set timer for 30 minutes. You don't have to take the loaves out while the oven heats, just leave them in there.
You could make this recipe without a stand mixer. Just read a recipe for making bread by hand and follow those instructions using these ingredients.
French Toast made with this bread is awesome!