Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pam's Wheat Bread - First Steps!

Me and the hubby in California in the '70's
For those of you who are tip-toeing into the bread-baking blogosphere with me – welcome! I know many of you who will read this are here because of my little bread-dough-making-machine, EZ DOH. To you, my mission remains the same– To encourage you that there’s nothing more wonderful you can put on your table than amazing homemade bread and -To take the mystery and fear out of creating that bread. This first-born blog will chronicle a little of the history of how I was birthed into the bread-baking world.

Dave and I were married in 1977 – and I was NOT a cook. However, we moved from Ohio to California to finish school. So, far from family and friends, I was on my own to learn cooking and baking skills. As we rarely had enough money to go out to eat, Dave patiently suffered my experiments. Our favorite day of the week would be when fellow-newly-wed-neighbors in our apartment complex would invite us over to share a fresh, fragrant loaf of homemade bread ( Kristy was a farm girl from Nebraska with incredible baking skills). The four of us would greedily devour the delicious loaf (with LOTS of butter) in short order! I was sure I didn’t have the time or the talent to concoct such a wonderful thing, so I left the weekly baking to Kristy! I did occasionally attempt to imitate her creations with frozen bread dough I purchased at the grocery…..However, the results were always very, very sad…..and doughy…..and hard…..and tasteless … get the picture!

In 1979, Dave finished school and we headed back to Ohio, where we found ourselves a part of a movement to do things “naturally” – we canned our own food, we put a wood-fired furnace in our home, we home-schooled our kids, and, of course – making our own bread became a part of the picture. A dear friend and mentor took me under her wing….and a miracle occurred! I learned how to bake bread! A light went on!!! I tore down the curtain!!! I entered a realm I never thought I’d conquer!! And…..I fell in love.

And that’s what I want for my readers……to simply fall in love.

There’s more to my story, and perhaps I’ll cover that another time. But right now, I want you to know- that’s why I’m writing. I want that (oven J) light to come on for you. I want you to be a conqueror in your kitchen! You don’t have to have a lot of time to devote to the art, or a lot of skill (though perhaps someday your love will lead you to a desire to hone those skills …..). Just know - YOU CAN put amazing bread on your table…..simply……lovingly…….joyfully!

Pam’s Bread
¾ Cup Milk
¼ Cup Water
1 Pkg./Tbsp. Red Star Platinum yeast 
Mix the above ingredients together and let sit for 1-2 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients:
¼ Cup Brown Sugar, packed
1 egg, beaten
¼ Cup oil
¾ teaspoon salt
1 ½ Cup whole wheat flour
1 ½ Cup unbleached flour (additional, if necessary)

Follow basic EZ DOH instructions, or knead traditionally till the dough is smooth, not sticky. Let rise until doubled. Punch down and divide dough into 2 pieces. Shape (I formed “rounds”). Place on lightly greased cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal (for a crunchy crust). Let rise until double. Slash tops lightly. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing.


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