Wearing My Apron High

Now that I’m back from traveling, it’s time for me to get back to some things that I love–ya’ know, to be in the family way so to speak.  And so I thought today I’d share my new favorite bread recipe.  See, ever since my good friend Joanne encouraged me to read Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, I haven’t purchased a regular loaf of bread.  And by regular I mean the loaves that come packaged in plastic at your grocery store which can sit on your counter for weeks at a time and still be “fresh.”  Kind of like this one:

And while I love making bread totally from scratch, it does take a fair amount of time (although kneading it does give you a great arm workout–sort of killing two birds with one stone: baking and working out).  So, in the interest of practicality and my own sleep, I had to figure out a way to make good bread in our bread machine (the Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme).  I hate to say it, but most bread machine bread tastes, well, icky–too thick crust, overly dense, etc.  And so who did I turn to?  Why, Joanne–the true queen of bread.  She even makes her own flour (she’s basically my bread hero).  So here’s her original recipe for Whole Wheat Bread that tastes good from a bread machine:

Joanne’s Whole Wheat Bread Machine Recipe

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup milk (Joanne prefers whole, raw milk)
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp lightly salted butter
  • 3-1/2 cups freshly ground whole wheat flour (warmed to room temperature; sidenote: you should always store your flour in the freezer so it doesn’t go rancid)
  • 4 tsp vital wheat gluten (to supplement the freshly ground flour)
  • 1-1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt

Add the ingredients to your bread machine in the order specified by your manufacturer.  Bake on the “Basic” setting with the crust color set to “Light.”  Once it’s done, let it cool for about an hour on a wire rack (it’s really a no-no to cut into freshly baked bread right away).

So there you have it–Joanne’s version.  Now, for those of you (like me) who do not grind their own flour, I created a slightly altered recipe with ingredients available at the local grocery store:

Mrs. Bunches’ Whole Wheat Bread Machine Recipe

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup organic milk (I used 1%)
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp unsalted organic butter
  • 2-1/2 cups organic whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp salt 

Again, just add all the ingredients in the order specified by your bread machine, set to “Basic” with “Light” crust and hit go!  I’ve also made it with all whole wheat flour and no bread flour, and that comes out well too.  This last time I just ran out of whole wheat flour, so I had to improvise.

Now for the pictures–bear in mind that bread machine bread never looks as appetizing as baked-in-the-oven bread.  And with that caveat, here’s what the final loaf looked like (and yes–I’m aware of its lopsidedness):

I’d ask you to keep an open mind at this point . . . even though it doesn’t look so hot, it still tastes delicious.  Just like whole wheat sandwich bread you’d buy at the store, but without all the nasty chemicals and preservatives.

See what I mean?  Oh, and I recommend slicing it and freezing it either the same day or the day after you bake it.  Since it doesn’t have all those nasty preservatives, that means it won’t last long on your kitchen counter.  And you should never refrigerate bread–it just dries it out.  So slice it, freeze it, and then just take out slices as you need them.  I like it toasted into a nice pb&j sandwich.  Mmm . . . mmm!

Not only have I been baking more bread lately, but I also made some dinner buns the other night.  I won’t plagiarize that recipe (it came from Cook’s Country if you’re curious), but here’s a shot of my bun in the oven . . .

Hopefully I’ve convinced some of you to get that ol’ bread machine out of storage and fire it up . . .

Oh, and there was a slight ulterior motive to this post . . . can anyone guess what it was?!  Okay, I’ll give you some hints by recapping a little . . . wearing my apron high . . . in the family way . . . bun in my oven.  Any guesses now?!

Got it now?  That ain’t a basketball in my belly!  Nope–I’m pregnant!  Due this summer, and Mr. Bunches and I couldn’t be happier.  We’re waiting until delivery day to find out the sex, so we’ve got no girl or boy info for you–sorry.  And we’re also keeping names under wraps, so don’t even bother asking.  Although I hear that Mr. Bunches’ brothers are pushing for Thurman (he’s apparently some famous Bills player); um, let’s just say that they shouldn’t hold their breath. ;)

Okay, so that’s it for today.  I’m still working on getting my Paris shots together and I’m hoping to get a post out this week with all the deets on that whirlwind trip.  In the meantime, here’s one more baby bump shot–this time at the Arc de Triomphe.

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3 Responses to Wearing My Apron High

  1. julia says:

    Yay! Congrats on Baby Bunches! :-)

  2. Congrats on the baby!! So excited for you guys!! You look too cute with the baby bump!!! ..and your bread sounds super yummy!! I might have to try that this weekend! ;)

  3. erin hawk says:

    I love your bun in the oven!! The baby one especially! hee hee SOOOO excited to be an auntie!! xoxox

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