Bread Baking Made Simple
I am addicted to books. I have quite an extensive collection and somehow more books find their way into our house. You might assume that my other half would be secretly shoveling boxes of books out the back door as I gleefully tote in more through the front door, but that is far from the truth.
Garage sales, thrift stores and sales at book stores capture his attention just as much as mine. Cookbooks, craft books, do-it-yourself books and fiction books are tucked away on our bookshelf while the rest have a special place in the garage and in the attic. We hide them so well that no one really knows about our collection unless it comes up in conversation.
Thanks to the nifty free Kindle download for my computer and app for my phone, I have downloaded my fair share of ebooks as well. Yes, we do read them. Slowly.
We have an overwhelming amount of things that take up our day, but we still find a little time here and there for reading.
I know I make busy look easy, but I don’t just “bake the day away” as someone recently put it. I’m attempting to read 52 books this year and I am slowly making progress!
Earlier this spring I visited my local library and I came out with two large armloads of books. Did you know that you can get free books at the library?! I have to give them back at some point, but I don’t need to keep them forever once I’ve read them. If I really fall in love with a book, I can always buy it on Amazon. 😉
I found a book with bread machine recipes that ended up in my pile. Most of the time I make my bread by hand or with my stand mixer, but I never really used my bread machine on a regular basis. I never had a manual for it so I assumed I couldn’t use it to mix, rise and bake. Once I looked over some recipes and really took a good look at the settings, it was so very simple. I love simple just as much as I love books. 😉
Taylor browsed through the pages of the book (with much coaxing) and she chose this recipe. She measured the ingredients, prepared the yeast and added everything into the bread machine bowl.
Easy Whole Wheat Bread with Orange Zest & Coffee
After the machine began the kneading process, she called me over to the spinning apparatus. Taylor was peering into the machine while poking her finger into the dough.
“I think it’s way too wet. This looks more like we are making muffins so should we add more flour?” she asked.
“Yes, let’s add a little at a time until it makes a ball that rolls around in there. Good eye by the way,” I replied with a smile. I am one proud mama!
She kept an eye on her dough through the entire process, with constant reminders to look through the window or only open the door quickly and for just a moment.
I tried to talk her into leaving out the orange rind because it sounded unappetizing, but she insisted that it was going into the dough. The first taste seemed odd to me. I loved it regardless because she had taken such care to make the bread even with the “easy” bread machine method. From the second bite and beyond I absolutely loved the subtle orange flavor of this bread. Every time we make it, the orange is mandatory. 🙂
Easy Bread Machine Recipe
Our bread machine now has a special place in our kitchen. I keep it on the floor so it won’t wiggle off the counter. My artisan breads are made by hand, requiring more one on one time with me. This recipe and other bread machine experiments are done with this trusty bread machine.
I realized that there is no shame in using a bread machine. If you want to make bread from scratch with little experience, kitchen space or time you should consider using a bread machine. There is always the option to progress after practice or you can simply use it to bake your own breads at home.
One good look at the store bought bread labels might inspire you to consider making at least some bread from scratch. This whole wheat bread is a house favorite for toast and school sandwiches. I love this toast with fresh ground almond butter and sliced apples for a snack!
I added my “secret” ingredient to give the flavor more body and avoid the flat, doughy flavor of most whole wheat breads. Consider giving this a try!
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp butter at room temperature
- 3 tsp active dry yeast
- 4 tbsp honey
- ½ tsp instant coffee powder
- ½ cup unsalted sunflower seeds
- 2 tbsp orange zest
- 1 cup of old fashioned oats
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 cups white flour
- 2 tsp salt
- Combine milk and yeast. Stir and let it sit for about five minutes.
- Next add eggs, butter, instant coffee and honey to the bowl.
- Now add the dry ingredients.
- As your dough begins to mix, watch as it takes shape. It should be a smooth ball when it has kneaded for a few minutes, pulling away from the sides of the bowl.
- If the dough is too wet and resembles a thick batter, add flour by the tablespoon until it rolls into a ball and continues to knead. If the dough is too dry, add water by the ½ teaspoon until dough becomes a smooth, moist ball.
- Knead for about 10 minutes and let it rise for 2 hours.
- Preheat your oven to 375 and bake for 35 minutes or until dark brown on top and the temp is 195 degrees F in the center.
- Immediately brush cold milk on top of the loaf. This will help keep the outer crust softer. Let the bread cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
This bread has a naturally thick crust, which is quite enjoyable!