Bread and Butter
I was intrigued to make homemade bread after reading the opening chapter of Micheal Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. He describes how as a culture America has shied away from eating bread in recent years in fear of adding carbs to our diets. Pollan argues, however, that we need to reintroduce bread to our dinner table because it is an essential and nutritional part to our diet. He proves this theory by discussing how a typical French persons diet is composed mainly of the foods we have now come to fear in America (such as bread, butter, and cream) yet as a culture they are much healthier and thinner than Americans. A healthy diet is balanced and that includes bread…so don’t feel bad about adding it to your plate at dinner.
Making bread at home may take more time than picking up a loaf at your local grocery store, however, it is a worthwhile treat – plus your house will smell incredible…kind of like the pretzel place at the mall that reels you in. The special ingredients, like specific flours and wheat gluten, can add up quick so it is understandable why most people don’t make fresh bread everyday; however, the taste and freshness of homemade bread is something that cannot be beat by any commercial grade bread. Making bread from scratch will also save you from the added preservatives used in bread to extent its shelf life. These preservatives strip commercial bread from many rich nutrients that are present in fresh homemade bread.
I tried making bread two ways using the oven and my mom’s old bread maker. The first loaf that I made was a maple bread. I used a King Arthur recipe for this maple bread. I was excited to try this especially after visiting the King Arthur store in Norwich, VT this summer. The bread had great flavor but it came out much denser than I had hoped for. I had a difficult time getting the dough to rise.
Later that afternoon, I decided to pull my mom’s old bread machine out of our basement and try the maple bread recipe my mom used when we were younger. I piled all of the ingredients in the order listed but I forgot to lock the bread pan in place so we ended up with this for dinner.
I decided to try it again the next day because I was so excited about using the bread maker. Once again I piled all the ingredients in the listed order and ended up with a delicious loaf of maple bread. The maple flavor is definitely more prominent in this bread than the first one. Here is the recipe for this bread:
Maple Syrup Bread from The Complete Book of Bread Machine Baking
Yields 10-12 servings
Ingredients (for 1 1/2 lb loaf)
1 cup of water
1 1/2 Tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup of maple syrup
1 cup of wheat flakes (I used oats)
1 1/2 cups (8.1 oz) whole wheat flour
1 cup (5.2 oz) unbleached flour
3 Tablespoons powdered whey
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
Put all the ingredients in the bread pan in the order listed, or in the reverse order if the manual for your machine calls for dry ingredients first and liquids last. Select Basic Wheat Cycle, Light Setting (or the equivalent setting for your machine). Push start.
Nutritional information for bread (per serving): Calories: 136, Carbohydrates: 27 g, Protein: 4 g, Fat: 2 g, Fiber: 3 g
This bread is a great accompaniment to any dinner and is perfect the next day for breakfast or as a sandwich.
Sources: "Vermont Maple Oatmeal Bread." : King Arthur Flour. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2012. "The New Complete Book of Bread Machine Baking." Alibris Marketplace. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2012. "The Omnivoreâ™s Dilemma." The Omnivoreâ™s Dilemma. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2012. http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2007/11/04/homemade-bread-cheap-delicious-healthy-and-easier-than-you-think/