Bread for My Family, Soul, and Spirit

by Amy on August 14, 2011

A few years ago I stopped buying bread and started making my own for several reasons. For starters, homemade bread tastes so much better, but I also liked the idea of knowing exactly what the ingredients were as well as using honey instead of sugar, old-fashioned oatmeal, wheat germ and unbleached whole wheat and white flour.

When it comes to my family, I’m big on creating nostalgic memories with food that will become my kids’ comfort foods someday. I wanted to make bread that they would grow up remembering with fondness. I’m a little weird, I know.

Making homemade bread also means more to me as the main (only) cook in our family. It takes effort and more importantly, lots of time on my part but I feel like making my own bread is doing something special that’s from my heart for my family.

I used to be a terrible bread baker who couldn’t even make decent bread dough because I didn’t understand the role of the yeast in bread but became determined to master bread making from scratch rather than with a bread machine. I reminded myself that I would be making mistakes and learning until I got better, but got lots of information from our local extension office and friends I considered excellent bread makers. My biggest challenge is usually finding long enough blocks of time to dedicate to the mixing, raising and baking but it’s always worth it.

 

It may sound kind of silly but sharing homemade bread at our table also has spiritual meaning for me. I am always reminded of communion and its deeper meaning when I have homemade bread at our table. Taking communion is a big part of attending church for me and our congregation’s members oftentimes take turns making the bread that’s provided for communion which I prefer, instead of always using on wafers.

I usually follow the same bread recipe because I’ve tweaked it to include the ingredients I want my bread to have, such as oatmeal and local honey, but I most importantly, I like the following recipe because it makes three loaves. I usually slice each loaf once they’ve cooled and freeze two of them for later.

Below is my adapted recipe. The original is from the kitchen of Lutheran Outdoors’ Outlaw Ranch church camp in Custer, South Dakota:

Everyday Bread

2 pkgs. (2 T.) dry yeast (I’ve had the best luck using Fleishman’s)

½ c. warm water (110-115 degrees)

1 ½ tsp. sugar

Combine and let foam

In a mixer bowl, combine the following:

¼ c. local honey (original recipe calls for ½ c. sugar)

¼ c. oil (I use canola oil)

1 T salt (I use sea salt)

3 c. warm water

1 c. cooked and cooled old-fashioned oatmeal (½ c. oatmeal + 1 c. boiling water) this is my addition for texture, moisture and the health benefits.

Add with yeast mixture.

Add:

¼ c. wheat germ

3 c. whole wheat flour

3 c. white flour

Mix for 3 minutes and add 4-6 c. white flour, 2 c. at a time. Just add enough until dough leaves sides of bowl and is not too sticky (might not need all of flour). Let rise in bowl greased with shortening for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Punch down and form into three loaves. Let rise 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

I’m still working on mastering shaping my loaves. The appearance of my loaves would not earn a high placing at the fair but it isn’t a priority with me. Sharing homemade bread with my family is.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Shelli (Hausvik) Felderman August 15, 2011 at 6:27 am

Hi Amy,
I love your story on the bread! My mom makes home made bread and buns and my husband and kids absolutely LOVE it. I still haven’t mastered the whole technique and secrets to her bread making, but I hope to some day get that accomplished! I love reading your blogs! Although I’m no longer living out on the farm, my rodeo days are long over and I am now a “city” girl, which saddens me, but yet makes me happy because I am making memories with my own family now. Take Care!

Robyn August 15, 2011 at 8:10 am

Amy
We love homemade bread too! I have not taken the step to make all my own bread vs. buy it. I would like to someday for the same reasons you listed. Like you, time or lack there of is a factor.

I do have and use a bread machine (it was a wedding gift) and a Whole Wheat mix. We like the bread and it’s easy.

Good post and I got the recipe printed off!
.-= Robyn´s last blog ..Make Mine Tenderloin =-.

Jennifer August 19, 2011 at 2:22 pm

I will have to try this recipe! I love homemade bread!

Joel Schwader August 29, 2011 at 9:35 pm

the picture of oyur bread tells me oyu are over proofing it. I let my bread rise just till its a 1/4 inch over the top of the pan……
Another tip for what it is worth….the more you knock your bread down and let it rise…the beter the texture adn flavor. I let my dough rise and knowck down at least 3 times and it dosnt ahve to be double in size just let it rise good and knock it down good…but remember 3 times…I think this will help the way your bread look shape adn form as well…..just a few pointers hope you don’t mind…Best Joel

JoAnn August 30, 2011 at 10:29 am

I bake bread every chance I get. I have the same cookbook and our favorite is the other recipe by the same lady. She was a sweet lady and boy-howdy could she bake bread!

Amy August 30, 2011 at 10:04 pm

I’ve used the other recipe too but I wasn’t fortunate enough to sample the bread she made.

Amy August 30, 2011 at 10:08 pm

I’ve never heard of “over proofing” but all pointers are welcomed! Actually, I spoke with an extension educator who told me the same thing about letting it rise 3x’s. Your tips are great! thanks for sharing with me.

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