When my daughter turned 4, I told a friend how excited I was. I’d finally be able to pass on the art of bread making to my offspring.
I would measure, she would mix. We’d both wear aprons. And oh, how we’d laugh as the flour puffed up from the kitchen counter.
Here’s a shocking discovery: Making bread with a 4-year-old is not all that much fun. (Wearing an apron, though, is surprisingly satisfying). The 4-year-old will want to do everything, you see. There will be flour in her hair, flour here, flour there, flour just about everywhere.
Still, making bread with children is possible. You just need to sacrifice a small chunk of dough and a large chunk of patience.
It’s all about perspective.
Today, though, I’ve decided to make bread on my own. The house is quiet. I have a few hours before the shrieks of joy and occasional bickering fill my kitchen once again.
My apron is snug around my waist. Billy Holiday is singing about summertime. I scoop out the flour, measure the yeast, test the water with my pinkie finger. And I think: baking bread from scratch is so lovely. It takes effort, but it’s so darn lovely.
Making bread is a bit like taking a picture with a manual camera – you can never predict exactly how the image will turn out. It forces you to sit with uncertainty, and I like that. It makes room for wonder. The world needs more wonder.
To make it, first turn on your tunes. This is key!
Then combine your warm water, yeast, and 1/3 cup of sugar. 4 cups of whole wheat flour and 1 cup of white flour are added next. Stir it up and let it sit for an hour or so.
When it’s nice and bubbly, stir in your melted butter, another 1/3 cup of sugar, and 1 tbsp salt. Mix in the rest of your white flour, and start kneading. The whole thing will bake up into two beautiful, rich loaves of sandwich bread.
“We can grow good wheat and make good bread only if we understand that we do not live by bread alone.” – Wendell Berry
- Combine warm water, yeast, and 1/3 cup sugar.
- Add 4 cups whole wheat flour and 1 cup flour. Stir it up.
- Let it set for 1 hour.
- Add 3 tbsp melted butter, 1/3 cup sugar, and 1 tbsp salt.
- Stir in 3 cups white flour.
- Sprinkle flour and knead the dough. To do this, you’ll want to turn the dough and fold and push it.
- Repeat folding, pushing, and turning, adding only enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands and the counter. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth on the outside, springs back when pressed on with your fingers.
- Cover with a dishtowel and let rise until doubled.
- Divide into 2 loaves. Place in greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.
- Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 50 minutes to 1 hour.
Related reading: Easy Banana Pancakes Recipe