Easy Peasy Recipes
with N. N. Light
Want to reconnect with your roots and bring your family together for dinner? Make homemade bread.
My first year of marriage was a year of discovery and changes. My husband was a chef and worked over eighteen hours a day. Needless to say, I was home alone a lot. One late night, I was watching Food Network and Mario Batali’s show came on. He talked about baking bread and how it brought families together. I decided to give it a try.
I’d love to tell you it was the most delicious loaf we’d ever tasted but it wasn’t. *laughs* It was compact, flavorless and salty. But my husband loved the smell of fresh bread when he came home from work. So, I started experimenting with different recipes, tweaking things here and there, until I came up with my own recipe (see below).
There’s something beautiful about taking a few ingredients and creating a loaf of homemade bread. I can close my eyes and imagine my ancestors kneading bread dough with me. Using my hands along with flour, yeast and water to create a mouth-watering loaf of bread that rivals the great bakers around the world is a great stress reducer and you’ll never go back to processed bread again.
Don’t think you have enough time? Think again. You can make the dough in less than 15 minutes and let it rise all day (or even overnight). The smell of fresh bread baking will bring your family together and even your neighbours will want a taste.
Just be prepared for your family to ask you to make it all the time. My husband does and so does my family, friends and neighbours.
1 ¼ cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (or 1 envelope)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted or olive oil (I use olive oil)
1 ½ teaspoon salt
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
Directions: Pour warm water into a large bowl (I use a candy thermometer to measure the temperature) and sprinkle yeast over the water. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar to activate the yeast. Set aside and let proof for about 20 minutes.
Pour yeast mixture into a large bowl and add sugar, butter and salt. Add flour, one cup at a time, until mixture forms a soft dough. Knead until smooth like a baby bum, about 10-15 minutes. Grease your bowl with some cooking spray or butter and place
dough back in the bowl. Leave covered in a warm place for about 90-120 minutes or until more than doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Meanwhile grease a loaf pan and set aside. Punch down dough to release all the gas and air bubbles. Form into a loaf and place in the loaf pan. Do NOT cover and allow to rise 60-90 minutes (depending on how high you want your bread to be).
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Bread will make a hollow sound when tapped. Allow to cool in pan for 5-10 minutes, take the bread out of the pan and allow to cool fully on a wire rack. Slice and serve. It will usually stay fresh in a plastic bread bag for about a week.
So, why am I talking about bread when I’m here to talk about my latest romance? My romance takes place on a farm and my family comes from a long line of farmers. Farmers make the wheat that goes into my flour and without them, I couldn’t bake all the loaves of bread I do.
Torn between two men, Sally must follow her heart and decide if love will lead her to the city or the countryside.
Jack's eyes roamed the length of her body and Sally could feel a slight warmth heat her cheeks. She looked down at her disheveled robe and pulled her robe tighter. Dammit, what's he staring at? She lifted her gaze and her stomach did a flip. Jack's shirt wasn't buttoned and she caught a glimpse of his tanned ripped stomach muscles. Oh my!
"Jack, what are you doing? Do you know it's five-thirty in the morning?"
He shook his head, as if that was an answer. She tore her eyes away from his abs to his face. She inhaled sharply. His hooded eyes looked ready to devour her. I must be seeing things. Maybe he's just hungry.
The two other men set down their chainsaws. "Listen Jack, we'll be over at your farm eating some breakfast. Come get us when you're ready."
Jack snapped his head around to the men. "Sure. I'll see you guys in few minutes." He ran his fingers through his hair. "I have to clear things up with Miss Rayton." Jack watched the men walk away and whipped his head back to Sally.
Sally rolled her eyes and said aloud, "Yeah, you just have to talk to the womanfolk." She spoke in a sweet Southern drawl. "Remember to speak nice and slow so she understands ya'll."
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I'm so jealous you make bread. I'd eat the whole loaf!!! Have any of you baked bread?