A Busy Sunday!

Such a busy day! I took care of a week’s worth of grocery shopping and three loads of laundry (including cloth diapers) this morning, and I spent a few peaceful hours this afternoon making yogurt and baking in the kitchen.

Stanley’s, my favorite neighborhood produce market, had raspberries on sale for $0.98 a container. While I was bummed that they weren’t organic, I know that berry season is definitely on its way out so I scooped up three packages. What to do with them??? Homemade raspberry jam!!

My Raspberry Jam Recipe

3 containers fresh raspberries, rinsed
5 tablespoons sugar
juice of half a lemon

Mash raspberries in a small saucepan. Stir in the sugar. Bring mixture to a low boil over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring often, until desired consistency is reached (about 40 minutes). Squeeze in lemon juice and pour into your favorite container. This batch perfectly fits in an old jam jar I had.

For the past month or so I have been baking bread for my family. I no longer purchase this kitchen staple from the grocery store because homemade tastes so much better, contains no icky ingredients and is a true joy to make. The process of kneading the dough is relaxing and pleasant. It really is a lovely way to spend half an hour by myself. And, the best part? Nothing smells better than baking bread!!

I have been referring to the honey whole wheat recipe in Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook. The first time I made it, the final product turned out a bit tough. But, every week as I tweak the process it seems to lighten up. While I’m no pro yet, it is nice to see that practice may make perfect some day!

3 1/2 cups warm water, 100 degrees to 110 degrees
3 tablespoons honey
2 packets active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
4 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup wheat germ
2 tablespoons salt
Canola oil, for bowls, plastic wrap, and pans

Combine warm water, honey, and yeast in a large liquid-measuring cup. Stir until dissolved. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together 4 cups of the bread flour, the whole-wheat flour, wheat germ, and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon, gradually drawing in the flour until well combined.

Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead in the remaining 1/2 cup bread flour a little at a time until dough is smooth and elastic, 10 to 15 minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Transfer to a warm place, and let rise until double its original size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with rack in center. Brush two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans with canola oil. Remove the plastic wrap from the dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and punch down. Divide dough into two equal pieces. Flatten one piece of dough into an oval, and roll up lengthwise. Place the roll, seam-side down, into a prepared pan. Repeat process with second piece. Cover with oiled plastic wrap. Place the loaves in a warm place, and let rise again until doubled in size, 30 to 45 minutes.

Bake until deep golden brown, 50 to 60 minutes (the loaves will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom). Transfer pans to a rack, and let cool 5 minutes. Invert the loaves onto the rack to cool completely.

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4 Comments for this entry

  1. Jessica says:

    Maureen, I know you're trying to cut excess plastic out of your life right now, so I'd love to know how you store your bread! I've recently started to make my own but I wasn't sure how else to store it except in a plastic baggie or plastic wrap!

  2. HomemadeMother says:

    Hi Jessica! To store bread, I do use a plastic bag. I can't find anything else that works wuite as well.

    To cut down on waste, you can certainly re-use a plastic bread bag from a loaf bought at the grocery store. And, you can keep re-using that bag until it gets a hole. Just shake out the crumbs before putting in a new loaf!

  3. Donna says:

    Hey Maureen, I wanted to share a great bread recipe you will love. I have been using the Reader’s Digest Homemade book for awhile and I’ve made their French bread recipe several times now. They have turned out great, and with your experience, you won’t be buying baguettes ever again. The recipe requires no kneading, just mixing, rising and shaping. Super easy! I bet they freeze well also, but I’ll let you know after I try it. Let me know if you want me to fax /email the recipe.

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