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Monthly Archives: January 2014

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I love baking bread.  I love the whole process, proofing the yeast, kneading the dough…first rise, second rise…the waft of fresh baked bread.  Delicious.  Satisfying.  Time consuming, but fun.  I made the mistake a year ago to buy some yeast so I could have fun making bread.  I bought in bulk…4 total pounds of yeast.  Fortunately, it was in 2 vacuum sealed bag, so one bag is still sealed.  But now, before it expires in December, I need to use some yeast.  So if you have ideas or requests, I’m taking them 🙂  That said, I have been working on mastering sandwich bread for our family.  My favorite recipe to date comes from none other than King Arthur Flour.  Of course those guys have figured out how to make good bread!

We have a few requirements.  My husband wants it to be big enough so he doesn’t have to make 2 sandwiches in order to not be hungry by mid-afternoon.  My daughter prefers “soft” bread.  I prefer name-able ingredients including a majority whole wheat.

Then we have the technique.  We had a lot of failed attempts.  Sometimes the middle fell in…weird shaped bread.  Sometimes it was just too big, we had to cut it to fit in sandwich containers.  Some were too dense, some with too many holes, etc.  But I think we found our winner!  Each time it just gets better.

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I would encourage you to read their blog on this bread,  but I’ve made some modifications, for better or worse…so here’s our recipe!

1 to 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water*
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 Tablespoons honey

2 Tablespoons molasses, or maple syrup
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup bread flour

2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast, or 1 packet active dry yeast dissolved in 2 tablespoons of the water in the recipe
1/4 cup Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dried milk
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Warm the water.  Dissolve the yeast with the honey.  Mix the flours, dry milk and salt in a bowl.  Add water and frothy yeast mixture and molasses.  Knead.  Knead until it is smooth and soft.  Set in a warm place to rise.  My best tip is to turn on your oven when you start and after about 3-4 minutes, turn it off.  Grease and cover a bowl with plastic and stick it in your warm oven until the dough doubles in size (about 1 1/2 hours).  Then shape it and put it in a greased pan.  Now, be patient here.

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Let it rise until it is about 1″ over the edge of the pan.  It may take an hour, it may take 2, just be patient!  I have tried to speed this up by using that same warm oven trick, but it doesn’t work here.  That makes the bread rise too quickly and then fall because there’s not enough structure.  Just let it rise.  Then bake.  Bake about 25 minutes at 350.  Cover with foil and bake another 10-15 minutes.  It should sound hollow when you tap on it.

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Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread – Success!

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2014 in Breaking Bread, Homemade Staples

 

Uniquely Valuable?

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I have been wrestling recently with a desire to be uniquely valuable.  I only want to be part of a team, if there’s something I can offer.  I want to make sure the things that I’m doing offer more value than any random animal or person could offer.  And I’m sure I’m not alone in this.  While I think it comes from a good place of wanting to recognize my own uniqueness and how to utilize that best, I think I can also get caught in the pride of only wanting to do something where I am uniquely valuable.  The problem there, is at some point, it becomes all about me.  Now, I am an only child and grew up with a lot of my world being all about me, and really, let’s face it, as humans, generally we do see the world that way, but I don’t think that’s really how we were designed.  In fact, what I’ve come to appreciate is that it actually has very little to do with what I can bring to the table and much more with what God is going to do.  I get to participate in something great He is doing, and He gives me the opportunities, the circumstances, the gifts to witness and marvel.

So how does this pondering relate to this blog or to food?

Well, mostly it helps explain a long absence.  See, I started writing about a certain subject or food or recipe and then I would go off reading other blogs.  There’s plenty out there to enjoy.  And honestly, food blogs are a dime a dozen.  But the great ones are fun.  The writers are captivating, the photography is inspiring and the food, is well, reliable, predictable and delectable.  So I could write a fun post, but then I got caught in the pattern of comparing myself to others.  I’ve worked hard to challenge my 5 year old to stop doing this, but to just try to be her best, improving on yesterday or the time before.

So what is my unique value?  What about yours?  What makes us unique is that we are who God created us uniquely to be.  We are where God intended us to be and we have opportunities with neighbors, friends and family to grow, to teach and to serve.  So this fall, when I wrestled with the large questions of what made me uniquely valuable, I came to the conclusion that first and foremost, I am a daughter of God, then my husband’s wife and my children’s mother…everything else comes into place when I set things in order.

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And as it relates to food, cooking and this blog in particular?  I know there are dozens of blogs out there, some with better features, but mine is this one.  My unique value is my friends, this circle, that I get to cook for.  My unique value is the creative ideas to tinker with a recipe.  And for me, this blog offers and outlet for me, a resource of recipes and a chance to share with close friends and those afar, some of the dishes I love most.

I hope you’ll take a chance to consider your unique value.  Who did God create you to be?  Where is your identity?  Love that, own that.  And then   come back and enjoy a favorite recipe.  To tempt you, I’m on a bread baking mission, so this week, I’ll highlight some of my favorite homemade breads.  Hope you’ll come back.

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2014 in Uncategorized