Friday, March 6, 2009


“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.”James Beard (1903-1985)

If someone asked me what Arch's favorite foods were, I'd have to list in the number one position....Bread. I would call him to the table, no matter what meal it was, and before he sat down, he would reach over, pickup a big chunk of crusty bread and take a huge bite! Sure, the crumbs flew, and my little handy-vac was kept very busy, but it was worth it. To see someone enjoy something that much was such a treat!

I will say, when he tried the same trick in a restaurant or in someone's home, I very quietly glared daggers at him! That usually didn't work, but I would try. Nothing could keep Arch from bread!

Living in Kansas, the importance of wheat and bread are very apparent. As a chef and baker, bread has always been a pleasure to bake. I love the kneading! I guarantee you, if you are upset or angry, knead bread for 10 minutes and you will be mellow. All feelings of aggression are gone. So is a lot of your energy! Sure, I have a big mixer with a dough hook, but I always feel like I cheated when I use it. So, unless I am in a hurry, I knead by hand. Of course, I don't bake 6 or 8 loaves in one day anymore!

“If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.”Robert Browning (1812-1889) English poet

I used to bake bread once a week. Cindy and Chuck were in grade school then. I would spend the day baking bread, including several loaves of cinnamon. Chuck would hit the door and have half a loaf eaten before he said "Hi Mom". Homemade bread doesn't last very long, considering how long it takes to make, but it is so superior to bread you buy.

I have a friend, Joyce Powers, who grows their own wheat out in Western Kansas and Eastern Colorado. She grinds it and then bakes bread....oh my goodness...her bread is wonderful! It is just very difficult to get excited over "store bought" bread when you've had the best!

Here are a couple of my favorite recipes. Give it a try...great bread....great therapy!

Rustic Italian Bread
1 cup water, heated to 120° to 130°F.
2 tablespoons Crisco® Pure Olive Oil
3 cups Pillsbury BEST® Bread Flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package active dry yeast (1/4 oz.)
1 large egg white, beaten

1. SPOON flour lightly into measuring cup. Level off. Combine flour, sugar, salt and yeast in large bowl. Mix well. Add warm water and oil. Mix well. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Knead dough 10 minutes or until smooth. Place dough in lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and cloth towel. Let rise in warm place (80° to 85°F) for 30 to 40 minutes.
2. SPRINKLE ungreased cookie sheet with cornmeal. Punch down dough. Cover dough with inverted bowl and allow to rest on counter 15 minutes. Shape dough into baguette-shaped loaf about 12 inches long. Place dough on cornmeal-coated cookie sheet. Cover. Let rise in warm place 35 to 40 minutes or until doubled in size.
3. HEAT oven to 375°F. Make 1 deep lengthwise slash with sharp knife in top of loaf. Brush loaf with egg white. Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when lightly tapped.

"How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?"Julia Child

This is a King Arthur Flour recipe, and a favorite of my grandchildren. You can go to to order specialty flours and additives. Great baker's site. This particular recipe is for a batter bread rather than a kneaded bread.
Blitz Bread
1 1/2 cups warm water (12 ounces)
3 tablespoons olive oil (plus additional for drizzling) (1 1/4 ounces)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (14 3/4 ounces)
1 tablespoon instant yeast
4 teaspoons Pizza Dough Flavor, optional
1/4 cup Vermont cheese powder, optional
pizza seasoning, optional
1. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan, and drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil in the bottom.
2. Combine all of the ingredients, and beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 60 seconds.
3. Scoop the sticky batter into the prepared pan, cover the pan, and let it rise at room temperature for 60 minutes, till it's become puffy.
4. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.
5. Gently poke the dough all over with your index finger.
6. Drizzle it lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with pizza seasoning, and/or the dried herbs of your choice, if desired.
7. Bake the bread till it's golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.
8. Remove it from the oven, wait 5 minutes, then turn it out of the pan onto a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
9. To make cheese-stuffed bread: Add 1 cup crumbled feta cheese to the dough after it's been kneaded for 60 seconds.

And now....Joyce Power's Recipe for Powers Family Farms Wheat Bread

Joyce says if you don't like a dark bread, substitute honey for the molasses, that makes it lighter and milder. Thank you, Joyce, for sharing!

1 3/4 cups boiling water
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup light molasses (honey if you prefer)
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup orange juice
2 packages (1/4 oz each) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
1/2 cup flax meal
2 cups whole wheat flour
3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
melted butter
In a large mixing bowl, combine boiling water, oats, molasses, oil, orange juice and salt; let stand until warm (110-115 degrees). In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water; add to oat mixture that has cooled to 110-115 degrees. Add whole wheat flour and flax meal; beat until smooth. Add enough all-purpose flour to form a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes, using the dough hook on your mixer.
Place dough in a large buttered bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover bowl with saran wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down dough. Shape into 2 loaves; place in greased 9"x5"x3" loaf pans. Cover with saran wrap and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove from pans; brush with melted butter. Cool on wire racks.

Aren't you hungry!?!
all photos from

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