Baking Bread

What a satisfying tradition it is to create something from scratch, to work with one’s hands to knead and fold and mix without the assistance of noisy appliances. To wait patiently for the bread to rise, to fall, and to rise again. With such sweet anticipation does one tuck the wee loaves into the oven, peeking ever so often to check their progress as the warm scent of baking bread fills the house. What reward fills the heart as a soft, steaming slice is cut and spread with butter – savored without caloric fright, but as something wholesome and beautiful. It is like art. It is like birth. It is the remembrance of simpler days.

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Graham Bread, The Little House Cookbook

For two 1.5-lb. loaves you will need:

Yeast, 2 envelopes

4 c. whole-wheat flour

2 c. all-purpose flour

2 tsp. salt

1/4 c. molasses (I used honey)

In a small bowl, crumble yeast into 1/4 c. bloodwarm water. Let soak for 5 min.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine flours and salt, and make a wide, deep well in the center.

To the yeast, add molasses and 2 c. bloodwarm water and stir. Pour this liquid into the well and stir around and around at the center. Gradually the batter will thicken into a stiff dough. When all flour is mixed in, dust the dough mass with an extra handful of flour so it no longer sticks to the bowl. Cover with dishtowel and set it to rise at rom temperature for about 2 hours, until doubled in bulk.

With a floured first, punch the dough down and turn it onto a floured board. Knead a few times, then pull into a roape and cut in half with a knife. Flatten each half into a rectangle and roll up like a jelly roll. Grease loaf pans, turn loaves to grease them in the pans if you life. Cover, and set to rise for another 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the loaves about 40 minutes, then remove bread from pans. Return loaves to oven rack to bake 10 minutes more. Cool well. Slicing will be easiest the next day.

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