I can make bread.
Ok back story- because I love back story... so Vera was my old widow neighbor friend. She lost her husband in the 80's. Her only daughter and grandchildren live in Georgia. I noticed right away how this old lady wasn't letting her age stop her from anything. She mowed her own lawn and changed her own oil. She had an immaculate yard and kept her lawn perfectly green without a sprinkler system. She would come outside every 2 hours and move her hose and sprinkler around. She never had one dead dry spot anywhere on her lawn.
I loved Vera. She was so articulate with her words when she spoke. The girls and I would go over to her house ever so often and bring her dinner or just talk to her when she was outside on her bench. The first time I went to visit her she quickly invited us in. I told her I felt impressed to come visit. She looked at me and said, "Funny you mention that- I was just on my knees praying and contemplating what to do with my life, I'm so lonely you know, and here you are." It was fun visiting with her. She was a scripture scholar and at one time was an amazing gospel doctrine teacher. She was legally blind by the time she turned 80 so on her table were her scriptures and a huge magnifying glass. She was an avid reader despite her eyesight.
Vera died last spring. Her daughter was cleaning out the house and I came over to visit and tell her daughter how much I loved Vera. Sharon, Vera's daughter told me I could have anything I wanted in the house because she couldn't take anything home to Georgia with her. There on the kitchen counter was a kitchen aid mixer. "Can I have the mixer? Oh my gosh I promise I will try to make homemade bread with it." Sharon just laughed. "Take it."
Ok, long introduction to my making bread- but I just love that my kitchen aid is Vera's...and that it was free. Added bonus.
In the last month or so I have attempted to make homemade bread. Loaf after loaf and every attempt was just wrong. My bread wouldn't rise, it was harder than rock, too heavy, tasted bitter, soggy, too heavy for my mixer to knead. The best part is that Julia would be sitting at the table and watch me every day struggle over this homemade bread dilemma. She would ask the funniest questions, "Mom, is your bread going to look scary like it did yesterday?" Or "Are you trying again Mom?" every day Chay would come home to some "science project" homemade bread. Is it really this hard? I so wish I could call my mom and get the scoop on making bread. My mom's bread was delicious and I only remember eating it and never once making it. My mom was a domestic queen but she didn't like her children in the kitchen believe it or not. We would cut up vegetables to help her out ever so often but the big stuff was left for her to perfect. She loved to bake, that woman.
Well after Tiffani, my sister in law, suggested her favorite bread recipe which is found in a book she gave me a few years back, I decided to give it another try. The book is called Set for Life. The Bread Gods must be happy with me, because after so many attempts finally I can make delicious yummy perfect 100% whole wheat bread. I used some tricks mentioned in the book with little tweaks and oh my gosh, seriously, amazing soft fluffy moist bread. So amazing I can't stop eating it. I cut myself a slice and eat it. It's so good and I can't believe I made it, so I eat another piece to make sure it's as good as the last piece. Yep April it's just as good as the last piece. It's the real deal. Julia of course has been with me through it all and so now I have convinced her that because of her my bread is turning out so good. She's good luck. She always tells me when I start making it, "Mom, you're going to make the best bread ever...because I am here."
The recipe!!! Perfect 2 loaf recipe for a kitchen Aid mixer. Kitchen Aids are not Bosches- so the batches have to be small or or your dough will climb out of the bowl when kneading.
In mixer bowl mix together:
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 TB yeast
1/4 cup gluten
2 TB dough enhancer
6 TB powdered milk
2 TB lemon juice
2 cups hot water
* cover bowl with rag and let it sponge for 10 minutes
Turn on oven to 170 degrees
3 TB honey
3 TB oil
2 tsp salt
Turn on mixer with dough hook
Add 3 more cups whole wheat flour and let machine knead dough for 10 minutes
Divide dough into 2 equal balls, form into 2 loaves and place in greased bread pans
Place the bread pans with loaves in the oven covered with rag and turn off your oven. Let them rise to almost double- about 25 minutes.
Take off rag and leave them in the oven. Do not take them out. Set your oven to bake 350 degrees and set your timer for 33-35 minutes. When the timer goes off, your bread is done. Take it out of the pans immediately and let them cool on cookie rack... and just like that, you will be a bread super star.