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i did it!

I have done something I had never done before.

I made bread.

The idea had been dancing around in my mind for weeks, and I kept encountering signs all around me that told me to face my fears.  Fears of flat, lifeless bread that you’d rather use as a footstool than eat.  Or dense, chewy, tasteless bread like this.

But on Sunday night I finally gave in.  I rooted around for a vegan whole wheat recipe and finally found one that spoke to me. It called to me really. Begging me to just jump right in.

All I needed was just a few basic ingredients.

And one cute little helper.

“Just Like Grandma’s” Whole Wheat Bread
recipe found here

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups hot water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tbsp sea salt, or whatever kind you have on hand
  • 6 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, divided
  • 2 tbsp dry active yeast

Directions

  • Combine the first five ingredients in your mixer bowl and whisk together. Mix in 2 cups flour using hand or standing mixer (I used standing – I already got my workout in today).  Next, add dry active yeast and then 4 more cups of flour. Mix thoroughly until the consistency is somewhat even.
  • Next,  slowly add another 1/2 cup of flour until the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. The dough should feel sticky when you touch it.  Add another 1/2 cup of flour if this sticky consistency has not been reached. Make certain not to overmix the dough, as it will make the bread hard.
  • Next, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel, say a quick prayer and let it rise for 30-45 minutes.

It should go from this:

To this:

  • Use a napkin to coat all surfaces of 2 bread pans with Earth Balance.  Toss a small bit of flour around the pan to cover all sides.  Mix the dough again to get it back as close to it’s original size as possible.
  • Now it’s time to really get messy.  Sprinkle some flour all over your counter-top and spread it around before plopping the dough onto it.  Knead the dough for just a couple of minutes or just until your hands begin to get weak, making sure to keep it somewhat covered with flour to prevent sticking.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Shape dough into a nice oblong loaf. Now destroy all your hard work by ripping the loaf in two and doing the same exact thing to each smaller loaf. When you’re done, it should basically look like it does in the movies, but maybe with a little more character.
  • Place each happy little loaf into a pan and make yourself busy while it rises for about 30-45 minutes.
  • Place loaves in the oven and bake for 36 minutes.

  • After removing it from the oven, immediately turn it out onto a cooling rack.  When you simply cannot resist one second longer, slice off a nice, thick, hot piece.  Slather it with Earth Balance and enjoy!!


*Store wrapped in foil in room temperature.  Do not refrigerate.

My first experience at bread-making was…enchanting. I honestly didn’t know I had it in me and about fell over in shock when it came out resembling an actual loaf of bread.  My favorite part of the process (besides eating it of course) was kneading and shaping the dough.

There is just something about working a floury ball of dough into that comforting and familiar shape that makes a girl feel like she’s been transported back to her grandma’s day.  I loved it!

Now I’m just itching to experiment with more variations…Christmas presents anyone?

Now tell me about a recipe you’ve made before that took you out of your comfort zone and made you face your fears! How did it go?

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