Bread Making – Part I

I love Sundays!  Sunday is the day that I reserve for cooking and baking, especially baking bread, since I find the whole thing to be a fairly labour-intensive, time-consuming process.  But once I start, I can’t help but get carried away in creating wheaty goodness!  I put on some music (Jessica Reedy’s “Put it On the Altar” or Chris Tomlin’s “How Great is Our God” album) or a good sermon and get to kneeding that dough, as my apartment becomes enveloped in the heavenly smell of homemade bread.

In fact, it was on a frigid Sunday last year that my friend Tammy invited a friend and I over to her place and taught us how to bake bread.  Before this, I had never baked a loaf, but I longed to learn.  There’s nothing like the taste of freshly baked homemade bread, and I wanted to learn how to make a nutritious loaf free of preservatives.

Ellen White writes a lot about the importance of good bread in one’s diet:

It is sacred duty for those who cook to learn how to prepare healthful food. Many souls are lost as the result of poor cookery. It takes thought and care to make good bread; but there is more religion in a loaf of good bread than many think. There are few really good cooks. Young women think that it is menial to cook and do other kinds of housework; and for this reason, many girls who marry and have the care of families have little idea of the duties devolving upon a wife and mother. (Counsels on Diet and Foods) {CD 257.2}

Some do not feel it is a religious duty to prepare food properly; hence they do not try to learn how. They let the bread sour before baking, and the saleratus added to remedy the cook’s carelessness makes it totally unfit for the human stomach. It requires thought and care to make good bread. But there is more religion in a good loaf of bread than many think.—[Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 49] Counsels on Health, 117, 1890 {CD 315.4}

It is a religious duty for every Christian girl and woman to learn at once to make good, sweet, light bread from unbolted wheat flour. Mothers should take their daughters into the kitchen with them when very young, and teach them the art of cooking.—Testimonies for the Church 1:684, 1868 {CD 316.1}

Bread is the staff of life; that which we eat is to be converted into blood, nerve, and muscle; and it is of the greatest consequence that bread be prepared in the most healthful manner. Until this object has been fully gained, there should be persevering efforts to bring about a reform. — Testimony for the Physicians and Helpers of the Sanitarium, Page 92

All wheat flour is not best for a continuous diet. A mixture of wheat, oatmeal, and rye would be more nutritious than the wheat with the nutrifying properties separated from it.—Letter 91, 1898

For all these reasons, I’m glad I finally learned.  Here’s my friend’s recipe, shared with her permission:

Tammy’s Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp dry yeast
  • ½ cup warm water (1 tsp honey) (to activate yeast)
  • 12 cups whole wheat flour (or, if mixing with flax meal/cornmeal/flax seeds, 1 cup flax meal with 11 ½ cups of flour)
  • 5 cups of hot tap water
  • 2 tbsp of salt
  • 2/3 cups oil (canola)
  • 2/3 cup honey or raw sugar or 2/3 molasses
  • 1 tbsp soy lecithin (opt.)

Directions

Mix warm water with yeast

Add honey

Let sit for approx. 15 mins

Add 5 cups of flour

Add 5 cups of hot water

Stir

Add the other 7 cups of flour (with salt and flax meal)

Add sweetener (molasses, sugar, or honey) and oil (mixed together)

Kneed bread (vigorously) and evenly (so that there is no trace of flour).  The dough should be moist/wet-ish

Cover with damp towel (warm water) and let rise for like an hour.  To check doneness, poke dough.  If dough does not come back up, it is ready.

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Form into loaves by folding under and place in baking pan.  Cover with damp cloth in bed pan to let rise (2nd rise).

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Let bake in oven for 40 mins at 350 degrees

Here’s my first attempt:

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…and my second attempt, this time topped with sesame seeds and whole rolled oats, and made with cornmeal, flaxmeal, Kamut, and oat flour, in addition to whole wheat flour.

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Some of the loaves started to sink in.  I think I let it rise too much.  Oh well. Better luck next time!

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