I am still alive, I am still here and plugging along. I've just been busy. Everyone is busy right now it seems doesn't it? It's that time of year, with gardens coming along and yard work, cook-outs and better weekends for travel and leisure (although with gas prices going the way they are, we all may have to travel less and leisure more at home, eh?) and it just seems like everyone is going, going, going.
We aren't any different. Our remodel is coming to a close (finally) and our garden is in full swing. I'll soon start canning and dehydrating everything that I can get my hands on and I'll be even busier.
Speaking of canning, I'm planning a series on water bath and pressure canning this year. So, if you've never done it before, I'm going to go through the process step-by-step and outline everything about it from equipment to canning lid options. Be on the lookout for that coming up in the future.
I'll leave you with a recipe to try out. It's rather long process, but it yields such a good bread out of whole wheat, try it for your sandwiches this week and you'll be impressed!
Sponge Method Whole Wheat Bread
makes 2 loaves
3 cups water
1 Tablespoon+ 1 teaspoon yeast
1/3 cup honey
3 cups whole wheat (either regular wheat or the new white whole wheat)
Mix 1 cup of the water with the yeast to check that your yeast is good. If it bubbles up go ahead and add the other 2 cups of water, yeast, honey and flour. Stir until very combined and no lumps are left (about 100 strokes). Let this sit on the counter for 45-70 minutes or until double in bulk.
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup oil
1 cup rolled oats, cracked millet, or other grain
3-4 cups whole wheat
Mix the salt, oil and enough wheat to make a nicely stiff dough without being dry. Knead on a floured counter until it will make a smooth ball. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let sit about an hour, or until doubled.
Punch down dough, re-cover and let sit until doubled (about an hour)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Punch down dough, shape into loaves and place in 2 WELL GREASED pans, cover and let raise 30-45 minutes or until doubled.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until they sound hollow when tapped on the top.
Cool on a wire rack and wrap tightly when cooled.
A couple things about this recipe~ you can use 2 cups or so of white flour in the initial sponge if you aren't used to all whole wheat until you're ready to use 100% whole wheat. Also, 2 tablespoons per loaf (this recipe makes 2) of vital wheat gluten will help make the loaves lighter and taller. You would add that with the second flour addition.
Yes, this takes some time but it yields a really superior bread that makes great sandwiches. Most of the time the bread is just hanging out by itself anyway, you aren't doing anything with it.
We are in love with this recipe and I hope you try it so you can love it too!