There are a lot of foods I love in this world and three of those just happen to be:
Though, not necessarily in that order.
I love baking, but I especially love baking breads. All sorts of breads. From french rolls, to sweet breads, to quick breads, to sandwich bread . . . I just love it! Something about the smell of that rich wholesome scent wafting through my house is enough to make me eat the entire loaf right out of the oven, with honey shmeared all over it.
I really do try to not consume so much bread, because if I let myself loose I would eat WAY too much of it. I crave breads, I love breads, give me my bread!!! Growing up my mom ALWAYS made homemade wheat bread. It was a tradition I looked forward to (even the last time I went home for a visit she sent me away with a fresh loaf of bread!). Nothing better than coming home from school, opening the door, and smelling freshly made wheat bread. We rarely bought bread from the store – only for special occasions or treats (texas toast, french toast, anyone?). And after moving out of the house, and eventually getting married and becoming queen of the roost in my own home, I would on occasion break out my mom’s bread recipe and whip up a few loaves. I didn’t do it more often because I have always battled the health side of not consuming too much bread (because let’s face it, that loaf didn’t last more than 24 hours).
My mom’s delicious recipe features a blend of whole wheat and all-purpose white flower. A blend that gives the bread a lighter texture and is perfect for making sandwiches, and such. But, because of the use of white flour I once started on a quest for a 100% whole wheat flour bread, but stopped after my few attempts resulted in a dense, dark loaf that wasn’t very palatable or sandwich making material (obviously, sandwiches are my end goal with whole wheat bread).
It wasn’t until a conversation with my husband (pre-costco run) about our goals of eating healthier, less processed foods, as well as minimizing the amount of treats. He listed food that met this definition (since we do have slightly different definitions, this was important) and part of that was eliminated store-bought breads, crackers, breakfast cereals, white flours, etc. All these foods are highly processed with lots of added ingredients. I then asked him if he wanted me to start grinding our own wheat and making homemade whole wheat bread, and he was down with that! But, that meant finding a recipe that cut out white flour and was truly 100% made from whole wheat flour.
Thus, I resumed my search and VOILA!!! After some extensive research (ok, it wasn’t that extensive) I found an amazing recipe that I tested today as well as tips for getting a light and delicious bread made from whole wheat. I was skeptical at first, but I couldn’t wait until the bread cooled, and sliced into it right away. I was floored! The bread was so soft, but not crumbly, and the taste was very wholesome, nutty, and very delicious – no bricks in my kitchen today! The secret is in letting that whole wheat soak, and giving it the time it needs to rise – serious important steps you shouldn’t skip. You can find the recipe here along with step-by-step picture instructions: King Arthur Flour Classic Whole Wheat Bread
I chose to follow this recipe exactly (though I was short on honey & used real milk instead of dry milk), but next time I am going to sub the oil for melted butter, because I believe butter is good. I am certain this is going to be my staple bread recipe going forward, and am excited to play with it and make some fun variations! I can’t wait for Sam to get home so I can test my bread on him. And guess how I’m going to do that!? By making a sandwich of course:
I love making sandwiches and I love eating them! And, I do pride myself on making some darn delicious sandwiches. This here beauty features leftover rotisserie chicken, Tillamook cheddar cheese, tomatoes, pickles, spinach, mustard, and hummus. Simple, but highly satisfying :) Seriously, this bread turned out to be PERFECT 100% whole wheat sandwich making bread! And the upside: no preservatives or added stuff. I know exactly what went into my bread and am happy how it turned out!
And now . . . HONEY!!!
Did you know that there is quite a controversy over Honey in the United States and whether or not the honey you are buying from the store is actually 100% real honey??? For more information, check out this article here. Totally blew my mind and so I was happy when I used the last of my store-bought generic honey. I really had no idea what some companies were doing to process the honey to give consumers what they supposedly wanted (for those who don’t want to read the article, basically a lot of U.S. brokers purchase ultra-filtered honey from foreign companies that remove the pollen from the honey, and in addition, the manufacturers from China were adding in other unhealthy and cheap sweeteners to make the product cheaper).
I got lucky and happened to have a HUGE container of raw honey given to me by my mom the last time I was home. Apparently, the farmer they lease part of their land too keeps bees! How awesome is that? And, he gives my mom lots of yummy raw honey, and she in turn gives it to her kids because then she’d have a lot of honey on her hands. So, now I have a lot of honey on my hands. I mean, this was a huge jug of honey. Unfortunately, it had crystallized and was way to hard to pour out of the jug. So, I soaked the jug in warm water for 15-20 minutes to help restore it back to its regular consistency, and then was able to divide it into two mason jars to make it easier to access :) This raw honey does not taste like the store-bought kind. It seems richer, and sweeter, and you can taste the nature in it – if that makes sense.
So, I have to say that after a slice of warm homemade whole wheat bread with raw honey, and a delicious sandwich for dinner, my crummy prego day turned out all right.