Saturday, January 15, 2011

Honey Whole-Wheat Bread

(Continued journal entry from a year ago- January 2010)
“A week after returning home, I was trying to piece together this short yet intense life journey, and define what I had learned from it. All week, I had been very tired. I had geared up for tending to B laid up on the couch and a slew of appointments to follow. I was aware of the need to be mindful of Y and J and their day to day needs. I was ready for the challenge. When there was nothing, instead of new found energy, I felt exhausted- exhausted, but grateful. The epicenter of tragedy on January 12 was in actuality far away from my home and my child.” (To be continued)
B went to school the next day, not ever saying anything about his tumor. Word got out a little here and there as he spoke at church about his experiences months later. He spoke of certainty in understanding his role in God’s will. And he spoke much of the comfort he felt from God as he faced this short trial.
Comfort foods often remind us of home.
I grew up in a large family of eight. Every Saturday morning, three of us girls would fulfill our rotation to each make five loaves of bread. We began at an early age where three chairs accompanied us to the counter so we could reach our large stainless steel bowls and have plenty of height to muscle down the large mass of dough during the kneading cycle. There was no bread machine, Bosch mixer or Kitchenaid to relieve the process. Three of us five girls knew that you only occasionally hit a week off from your rotation. My brother was deemed too little, and Kimmy was the youngest and the cutest and seemed to talk her way out of it more often than not. After we mixed and kneaded the dough, we stepped down from our chairs and hustled off to do the rest of our Saturday chores while our dough rose.

It was many years after leaving home and acquiring a Kitchenaid that I ever even thought about making bread again. Last year, this hearty, healthy honey wheat loaf adapted from Williams Sonoma became a favorite:

Honey Whole-Wheat Bread

Dissolve 2 packages (5 tsp.) active dry yeast, 2 cups warm milk and 1 tsp. sugar in mixer bowl. Let stand until foamy- about 5 minutes.
Stir in ¼ cup honey and 2 large eggs. Add 3 cups whole wheat flour, 2 tsp. sea salt, and 6 T soft butter. Stir until smooth.
Add the dough hook and 3 more cups of whole wheat flour. Knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic- about 6 minutes.
Remove the dough from the bowl.
Transfer into another bowl lightly sprayed with Pam. Loosely cover and let rise until double. (1+ hours)
Grease 2 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pans. Punch down dough, cut into half and shape 2 loaves. I was taught to loosely shape it into a rectangle with you hands. Keep the width no greater than the length of your loaf pan. Tightly roll the loaf without over stretching it. Tuck under ends and place in pan. Loosely cover again with a towel and let rise in a warm draft-free place until double. (45+minutes)
Bake in preheated oven to 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until hollow to the tap. Remove from pans, brush lightly with butter.

As a kid, my goal was to complete my other chores before the bread was done baking. I remember many a Saturday afternoons sitting on the floor of the large living room, listening to the Carpenters' (Mom’s cleaning music) record and relaxing as the smell of freshly baked bread filled the house.

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