Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The need to knead...


Every once in awhile I need baking therapy and yeast bread is just the cure!

This one has been making appearances in my home for years - it's my daughter's favorite and yesterday it rewarded me, even though I took out my frustrations on it, with some soft, tender, slightly sweet, golden loaves that disappeared very quickly.

There's nothing like the smell of yeast...watching that dough rise high above the bowl and whoooooosh down when you touch it. The way it yields and molds to your touch and settles into a pan with a contented sigh, ready for it's warm nap.

The homey goodness that is represented in a loaf of homemade bread is precious and rare, these days.

Do your family a favor and give to them a labor of love!

(I have kneaded bread for years - I like to feel the dough, and know when it's ready to rest. But I've also got a big KitchenAid mixer and sometimes that is the way to go. Throw the ingredients in and mix for three minutes with the bread hook. PRACTICALLY INSTANT!!)


1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons molasses or brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
Two 1/4-ounce packages active dry yeast (the "quick rise" ones are wonderful)
Drizzle of honey
1/2 cup warm water (warmer than lukewarm, but not hot-hot)
1 egg
3-3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

In a large bowl (or bowl of your big mixer) stir together the boiling water, whole wheat flour, oatmeal, molasses, honey, salt, and butter.

In a small bowl dissolve the yeast and drizzle of honey in the 1/2 cup of warm water. Let rest for one minute.

Mix the dissolved yeast and egg into the oatmeal mixture until well combined. Add one cup of flour and stir in until incorporated. Add another cup and repeat. Repeat for the third cup. At this point, if you aren't using a mixer, you will start kneading by hand.

Flour your hands and pull the dough to one side of the bowl. Add 1/2 cup of flour to the bottom of the bowl and lay the dough on it. Bring up one side of the dough and fold it over, pushing down with the heel of your hand, hard.

Turn the bowl 1/4 turn and pull the top edge of the dough up and fold it over, pushing down with the heel of your hand. Continue doing this, adding flour as needed, until the dough is very elastic - about 6-10 minutes.

(If you do it in the mixer, add the three cups of flour and mix on medium until incorporated. Feel the dough. If it's very sticky, add the other 1/2 cup. Mix for 2 minutes on medium speed. Dough will still be slightly sticky.)

Drizzle some oil into a big bowl. Gather the dough into a ball and roll in the oil, coating the surface. Place in a warm place, covered. (I turn on the oven just until the elements are red. Turn it off and place the bowl in there.) Let rise until doubled and very light.

Lightly grease two large loaf pans, or 4 mini pans. Set aside.

Punch the dough down, removing as much air as possible. Form into loaves and let rise until doubled again. Preheat oven to 350 degrees during this rising. Bake for 35-45 minutes for the big loaves, 25-30 minutes for the minis, or until golden brown.

Remove from pans to a wire rack and brush the tops with oil while still warm. Cool completely and store in plastic bags.

These are adorable little mini loaves...
just pretending to be bigger!


  1. ciao!! bellissimo il tuo pane! chissà che buono!!!anche a me piace molto fare il pane...impastare, modellare e poi mentre cuoce sentire un profumo buonissimo in tutta la casa!!!

  2. I agree taht there is nothing like baking your own bread. It's really not hard once you do it a few times. I wish more people would try it because it is truly rewarding. To make something so comforting and delicious out of virtually nothing!
    I am looking to expand my bread repertoire and may try this over the weekend. Good trick about letting it rise in a warm oven. I ruined a loaf of bread dough last weekend when I left it out on the counter. Windows were open and it was just too cool to rise properly

  3. Do you know the nutritional information of this recipe at all?

  4. These are very 'handsome' loaves! Very 'muscular'! I love how they look! Ever since I broke my Kitchenaid by overloading it with bread dough, I have been kneading them 100% by hand and I'm not complaining.

  5. Anonymous: I put it into my program (AccuChef) and these are the stats for the WHOLE recipe and then you can divide by how many slices you got.


    Per slice - getting 20 slices...which might be pretty hefty slices.

    Total Recipe: Calories 2914; Protein 74 g; Fat 64 g; Carbs 513 g; Fiber 28 g; Sugar 77 g; Sodium 5168 mg

    Per slice (20): Calories 146; Protein 4 g; Fat 3 g; Carb 26 g; Fiber 1 g; Sugar 4 g; Sodium 258 mg

  6. These look and sound absolutely delightful! I am definitely trying this recipe, you made my mouth water! Love it.

  7. Maybe I am just missing it, but what is the baking temp?

  8. Golden Beauties. I know how it is when you smell the yeast and feel the dough, it's almost therapeutic. Love your writing style!

  9. Oh my that bread is beautiful. That's one of my goals, to make my own bread and it actually turnout looking like bread. Maybe I'll give it a go sooner than later.

  10. I am inspired to try this. Is there an average amount of time to allow for rising until it doubles in volume?

  11. If you use the quick or rapid rise yeast it goes really fast - about 30 minutes, I'd say. The regular yeast could take twice that long.

    If it's in a warm place, both types go fairly quickly.

    Happy Baking!!

  12. Wow! What have I been doing all these years getting bread from the store? This is so easy, and most of all, DELICIOUS!

  13. Looks like a wonderful recipe and the pictures are great. Homemade bread is definitely the best :)going to try this out!