Growing up in a family of 8 kids, we lived a life short of the “luxuries” all my friends had experienced (according to my elementary-school-aged perspective at the time). No store-bought wardrobes (Mom sewed the majority of our clothes), cereal was a delicacy (but only the bagged generic brand), and all food was homemade from scratch and food storage items. It wasn’t until I grew older and started living on a budget myself that I realized how much money this was saving my parents. (although every once in a while, my dad would splurge at the grocery store and come home with Oreos and Grape-Nuts!)
However, the one thing my selfish 8-year-old brain was always grateful for was mom’s homemade wheat bread – fresh from the oven as soon as we got home from school! I could smell it all the way from the horse field as we walked home. There was mom, apron-clad in the kitchen, a steaming hot slab of bread on a napkin with butter already melting away on the sponge-like texture, and a bottle of homemade raspberry jam waiting to be slathered on top. I couldn’t contain myself. On special occasions, Mom would spare baking a loaf and use the dough to make scones! OH, SWEET LAYER OF HONEYBUTTER!!!
I’ve always been too fearful to re-create the experience myself - ”homemade bread” always sounds so daunting to me! But my blessed husband decided to try and convince me otherwise. (Seriously, how many men do you know that make homemade bread?!?!?) Here is what we learned:
A) Hand-ground wheat flour is what it’s all about
B) Feats of Strength must be involved
C) Aprons are a must (notice that beautiful sunset through the window?? Every night, people! EVERY night!)
E) A group effort lightens the load
F) Always partake of the finished result!
G) Be versatile and treat yourself to some french toast the next morning! (with raspberry syrup and whipped cream of course)
Want to experience the same wholesome goodness and melt-in-your-mouth homemadeness that we experience in these parts?
Follow this recipe – and make sure to add some cranberries! They make all the difference! I’m tellin ya
7-Grain Whole Wheat Bread
In a glass 4 cup measuring bottle, put the following in the microwave for about 4 minutes (until butter is melted):
* 3 cups milk
* 1 cup water
* 1.5 cubes butter
* 4 Tbsp yeast
* 2 eggs
* 3/4 cup honey (oil measuring cup first. Honey comes out easier)
* 4 tsp salt
* 1 cup 7-grain cereal
* 3 cups wheat flour
* 1 cup other (i.e. flax seed, sunflower seed, wheat bran, etc.)\
Mix together. Add half of the liquid in glass measuring cup.
Add 3 cups white flour.
Add remaining liquid and 5+ cups of white flour (enough until the dough is not sticking to the side of bowl).
Place all the dough in a greased large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 hour.
Split dough into 4 loaves and knead each on oiled surface. Form 4 loaves and put into greased loaf pans. Turn over once so top is greased. Cover with plastic wrap.
Let rise approx. 30 mins (until dough is just bigger than sides of pan).
Remove plastic wrap and place each pan into preheated over (350 degrees). Bake for 30 mins (bake with a small pan of water in over to help the crust stay soft and prevent cracking).