To Carb or Not To Carb? Bread Baking!

To Carb Or Not To Carb?

Bread Baking!

There’s nothing like the smell of freshly baked, homemade bread. And for me, there’s nothing like the pleasure of making it by hand … no machine (except the oven) … just me, my son and some delicious, fresh ingredients.

Courtesy of “The Republican”

I think there are some foods I just would not be happy giving up. Cheese is certainly one. Red wine. And my carbs. I know some people can’t eat them or won’t eat them, but I, for one, am very grateful for wheat!!

My sister goes even further than I do when she bakes her bread. She bought a wheat grinder, and she grinds her own wheat. (Makes me want to quote The Little Red Hen: “Who’s going to help me grind my wheat?”)

My grandmother taught me to love baking bread from scratch. My sisters and I would look forward to that activity with her every summer that we spent visiting in Minnesota.

Baking bread with Grandma, 1970s

What a connection to our ancestors! No matter where yours are from, they probably baked their own bread every week. It’s a great way to connect with your past and to enjoy flavors and textures you just can’t get in the bread aisle at the grocery store.

This isn’t for the faint of heart … it takes about 6 hours, but only 45 minutes of that is hands-on time, split into 3 shorter sessions.

So set aside a Saturday that you’re going to be home anyway. Get your kids involved. Start early enough so you can enjoy fresh bread with your supper. Yum!!

Laura’s Multi-Grain Bread

This recipe originally came from Cook’s Illustrated cookbook, but I’ve tweaked it a great deal to make it my own. It makes 3 loaves.

  • 1¼ cup seven-grain hot cereal mix
  • 2½ cups boiling water
  • 3½ cups whole wheat flour, divided
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 teaspoons yeast
  • pinch of sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 tsp. vital wheat gluten
  • 3 tablespoons wheat germ
  • 3 tablespoons flaxseed
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 oz. unsweetened applesauce

Prep work: 30 minutes – Gather your ingredients. Place cereal mix in bowl and pour boiling water over it; let stand, stirring occasionally, until mixture cools and looks like porridge, about 30 minutes. Mix ½ cup wheat flour, warm water, yeast and sugar in a bowl. Cover and let stand until cereal mix is done. In a large bowl, whisk together 3 cups whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, wheat gluten, wheat germ, flaxseed and salt.

Mix & knead: 15 minutes – Stir thickened cereal mix, yeast/flour mix, honey, melted butter and applesauce into dry ingredients with a stiff rubber spatula until the dough comes together and looks shaggy. Transfer the dough to a clean counter and knead by hand to form a smooth ball, 10 to 12 minutes, adding additional flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the counter. Dough will be sticky at first; just continue to add flour as needed, but don’t over-flour. (It’s done when you poke it and the indentation fills back in quickly.)

First rise: 45–60 minutes – Place dough in a large, lightly greased bowl; cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes.

Dough into pans: 10 minutes Grease three 9×5 inch loaf pans. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and divide into thirds. Press each piece of dough into 9×6″ rectangle, short side facing you. Roll toward you into a firm cylinder, keeping it taut by tucking it under itself. Turn loaf seam side up and pinch closed. Place seam side down in pans, pressing gently into corners.

Second rise: 30–45 minutes – Cover loaves in pans loosely with towel and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 30 to 45 minutes.

Bake: 40–45 minutes – Preheat oven to 375º. Using thermometer, bake until loaves are 200º, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer pans to wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove loaves from pans, return to rack, and let cool to room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour before slicing.

Enjoy!

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