If you live in Kentucky, you probably got some snow this week. We have had 14 inches total, so no trips to the grocery store for us. Luckily I shop on Thursdays or Fridays and we still have quite a bit of food in our pantry. One thing we always run out of is bread, so I decided to break out my favorite cookbook and bake some fresh bread. There is nothing that can compare to the smell of fresh bread straight out of the oven. I wanted my son to experience that at a young age, so I let him help me. This recipe is very simple, and it is a great way to step into the world of bread baking without failing or getting overwhelmed. The Rodale Whole Foods Cookbook. This cookbook is one of my most cherished possessions. My husband gave it to me for Christmas the year we were married and I have used it more than any other book I have. It’s pages are spotted with contents of recipes, the cover has been torn by my food loving child, and bookmarks are scattered from cover to cover. I started baking with this book and discovered a passion I never knew I had. This book was the start of a journey that ultimately led me to culinary school and a degree in baking and pastry. The no knead whole wheat bread was one of the first bread recipes I tried and I used to make it weekly as our only source of bread. If you like this recipe I highly recommend adding this book to your collection and using it regularly.
No knead whole wheat bread
2 tbs active dry yeast
About 4 cups warm water (105º-115ºF)
2 tbs honey
1/4 c molasses
3 1/2 c whole wheat flour
3 1/2 c unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Spray two 9×5 inch loaf pans and set aside.
In a large bowl, sprinkle two tablespoons yeast over 2 cups warm water. Stir in the honey and let sit until foamy. If you are working with a child, make sure you point out the chemical reaction that happens when the honey is added to the yeast. It was fun to see Oliver’s reaction as he watched the yeast foam and bubble. When the yeast begins to foam, mix in the molasses. I let Oliver stir in the molasses, again.Add the flours, salt, and enough of the remaining 2 cups of water to make a sticky dough. I usually use a whole wheat flour when I make this recipe, but today I tried whole wheat pastry flour instead. The difference in flour resulted in a lighter crumb and I was pleased with the way it turned out. Scooping the flour into the bowl is another great job for little helping hands. Oliver enjoyed being included and it was great for him to get some more practice using a measuring cup. Mix all the ingredients until you get a soft, slightly tacky dough. If the dough is too wet, add some more flour.Divide the dough between the two loaf pans, lightly spray the tops of each with cooking spray and pat down to make sure they are even. Oliver was so excited to make bread for the first time. He kept saying, “I never taste it!” He could hardly wait for it to come out of the oven, but first it had to rise. Cover the bread with a thin towel and place it in a warm place to rise. Let the bread rise until it has doubled in size, about an hour. When the bread has finished rising, place it in the preheated oven and bake for 30-40 minutes. The crusts should be golden brown and the tops should sound hollow. Let them cool in the pan for about ten minutes before removing and placing on a cooling rack to cool completely.I always cut one loaf of bread as soon as I take it out of the pan. Warm bread with melted butter and jam is one of the best things you can eat, so it is a treat for my husband (now my son) when I bake bread. I let it cool completely, wrap one loaf in foil and freeze for later, and put the other loaf in a bread bag.
Fresh, homemade bread is completely different from store bought bread. It was amazing to watch my child experience his first taste of fresh bread. Not only was it fresh and homemade, but he helped me make it. He didn’t make a sound until his piece of bread was gone. Now, I guess I have to get back into the habit of baking bread every week. I don’t mind at all. Hopefully it can be a special time for me and Oliver where we can explore and create some new recipes together.
Tip: Make your child feel included by explaining what you are doing with the recipe. They may not understand every step, but being included is all they want.