When in Doubt…Bake Bread

Whole Wheat Molasses BreadI needed to bake this Sunday to clear my head (ummm…plus we are still making all our own bread and had been out for days).  I have to say I have done very little of the bread baking lately. Mr. Beardpants has been fixed on these tasty potato bread loaves and I have happily indulged without getting my own hands involved.  But there is something therapeutic about kneading and punching down dough.  The ‘punching’ being my favourite part.

So this weekend, while I processed changes that have just happened along with changes to come…I baked (and later savoured a huge chunk of whole wheat molasses bread with homemade crabapple jelly…delish!).

This bread recipe turned out exactly the way I wanted it to.  I don’t know if you know how rare that is?  To bake bread is to accept imperfection, but I think the universe was trying to soothe me.  The density, the magic bubbles in the bread…that thing that makes it taste just perfect warm with a little slap of butter.  The hollow hard knock on the underside of the bread and cutting into a soft pillow interior.  yum.

So I thought I’d share.  I have a gazillion old cookbooks on a teetering shelf because I can’t say no the stacks in the second hand stores or lining the tables of a garage sale.  So this recipe comes from an old purity flour cookbook that I got for a $0.25 and that I remember my mom used to bake from.

This recipe makes 4 loaves

Whole Wheat Molasses Bread

Scald 1 1/2 cups milk
Pour into a large bowl and add

1/2 cup molasses
2 tbsp salt
1/2 cup shortening

Stir until shortening melts
Add

2 1/4 cups water
cool to lukewarm

Meanwhile, dissolve
2 tsp sugar
in
1 cup lukewarm water
over this sprinkle,
2 envelopes active dry yeast
Let stand for 10 minutes.  Then stir briskly with a fork.  Add softened yeast to luke warm milk mixture.  Stir.

Beat in
6 cups whole wheat flour
beat vigorously by hand
Then gradually beat in with a spoon
6 to 6 1/2 all-purpose flour or white bread flour

I worked in the last of the flour while kneading as it became too hard to stir.  Flop the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes.  Shape into smooth ball and place in a greased bowl.  Cover with a damp tea towel and let rise until doubled in size (about 1 1/4 hours).  Punch down and shape into 4 loaves.  Place in greased loaf pans and let rise again until doubled (about 1 hour)

Bake in preheated oven 400 F for 30 to 35 minutes.

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