Thursday, June 10

Vaaaaaacation!! (White Bread)

OK, not an exciting vacation, but a break nonetheless. Grades have been posted, I passed in the manner in which I expected, so now it's time for some project fun. Today's project: bread!

Yes, I make my own bread. No, it is not hard. Back in March, I had to do a project for one of my classes that involved changing a health-related behavior. After doing a little bit of research, I decided to eliminate high fructose corn syrup from my diet. It turns out that it is NOT the same as sugar and fine in moderation, like the commercials tell you. (Go figure- they're funded by the corn people.) Check out this study down at Princeton on HFCS. The first attempt was to eliminate it entirely, which sounded really great on paper, until I discovered that Rita's Italian Ice contains pretty much nothing but ice and HFCS. Sadness. So, I decided that I would eliminate HFCS from my diet with the exception of Rita's. (Which we don't eat TOO much, maybe once a week or so, so I figured it was safe.)

Anyway, this required reading every nutrition label and forgoing a lot of processed foods, but despite the extra effort, I was much happier with what I was eating. Also, without trying to lose any weight (meaning I still ate ice cream and didn't work out any more than usual), I have since dropped all the extra pounds that sitting at a desk for 10 hours had put on me. Woohoo! College jeans fit again!! And I credit it all to bread.

Making bread really isn't that hard. I played around with a few recipes until I had one that made the kind of bread I wanted. This recipe makes two loaves of moderate-sized, soft, yummy bread. I generally do this on Thursdays, since that's when we run out, and I usually reserve that afternoon for laundry, grocery shopping and other homey things anyway.

Diana's Thursday Bread Recipe

3 cups whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur, it's a bit more expensive, but I find it makes the softest bread)

2.5 cups white all-purpose flour (see above)

1 envelope active dry yeast

1 tbsp sugar

2.5 tsp salt

2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

2 cups warm water

In your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix 2 cups of the flour (I use 1 each whole wheat and white), yeast, sugar and salt until combined. Add butter and water and mix on high for 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup flour (whichever you want) and mix on high for another 4 minutes. Swap the paddle attachment for the dough hook. Slowly add the remaining flour, mixing on low, until a dough is formed. The dough should be moist, but shouldn't stick to your hands - if it does, add another tbsp of flour until it is the right consistency.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead for 8-9 minutes. This is the fun part - I can usually get through 3 songs on my iPod (the Chili Peppers are great for kneading!) before I see that it's done. The dough should then be smooth.

Form it into a ball and place in the bottom of a lightly greased (I use Pam) bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and place in a warm place for 1 hour, or until it has doubled in size. Now that the weather is nice, I put mine on the trunk of my car in the garage, or on the running dryer (good thing Thursday is laundry day).

After the dough has risen, turn it out onto your kneading surface and knead for another 30-60 seconds. Cut into two equal pieces, form them into balls, cover with the bowl on your surface and let them rise for 15 minutes. This is usually when I clean up and wash the dishes. After 15 minutes, roll each ball out into a rectangle with the shorter sides slightly longer than the loaf pan you're going to use. Roll the dough into a tube, fold the edges under and pinch all the seams closed.

Place into two lightly greased (again with the Pam) loaf pans. Cover with plastic wrap and put them back in your warm place for about 45 minutes, or until they've risen to the top of the pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 26 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack, and let them cool completely before you cut into the loaves.

This bread makes awesome toast! I've gotten dear hubby hooked on blueberry toast - I'll post a picture of that tomorrow. Also, part of this whole blogging process for me is to hopefully get better at pictures. So many of the food blogs that I read every day have awesome pictures, and hopefully mine can made my food look as delicious as it does to me!

During the rising times, I spent the afternoon taping the rooms that I'm going to paint tomorrow. Ahh - paint!! I love to paint!!! :-)


  1. Your fresh-baked bread looks perfect and golden brown, and I bet it tastes wonderful! I sometimes make my own bread, but my boyfriend always makes his own. Homemade is outstanding compared to store-bought! :)

  2. Thank you!! I spent a lot of time cleaning up logs of un-risen dough before I got it right!


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