Honey Wheat Bread
Bread amazes me. Baking the perfect loaf of bread requires such precision, and people have been baking bread with that precision for thousands and thousands of years. It seems to me that it’s one of the oldest, most common, types of food. Of course, I can’t prove that, but I have a hunch that I could make a decent argument: For as long as I can remember and as far back as my history books are willing to take me, people have eaten bread. Everyone eats bread. Even Moses ate bread. In fact, I recently read that new archeological evidence suggests that the same guy who discovered fire was cooking up a nice saber-tooth tiger fillet one night when he realized that he needed something to sop up the tiger-au-jus he was going to have left on his plate, so he threw a bunch of weeds in a fire and, voilà - bread…okay, so maybe I’m stretching the truth a bit, but hey, you never know.
In all honesty though, setting aside any historic, spiritual, religious significance bread might have, it’s simply one of my favorite foods, so obviously I have to give it a try. Growing up, we ate a lot of homemade bread. My mom hails from a small farm town in Nebraska, where food is almost exclusively homemade, hearty, and delicious, so making great food at home, is a second nature to her; and, she’s damn good at it.
I don’t know if I’ve said this yet, but my mom is where I think I get most of my passion for food. She’s crazy in the kitchen. So crazy, in fact, that one time she burned her kitchen down (no joke); but hey, what good chef hasn’t melted their microwave before? Seriously though, she’s a great chef/baker/pattisier and her food is always amazing. Truth be told, if I ever become a chef, it’s her approval I’ll be looking for and her advice I’ll be seeking.
Anyway, I know you’re all thinking, “Enough about that stuff, how about THIS batch of bread?!” So here you go.
While baking bread does require a lot of precision, the whole process ended up being a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. Basically, I just picked ingredients that I liked from various recipes I had lying around, and went from there. I had no idea how to knead bread, which was interesting at first, but then after consulting Chef Mom, I had a basic idea of what I needed to do and the rest was sinchy.
The biggest issue I had involved my oven, that has recently decided to burn at higher temperatures than it displays on the little knob. I had no idea this was the case, so you can imagine my surprise when I went to check on the bread with 15 minutes left on the timer, only to find that the top was already starting to char…
But this is why we practice, right? To learn from our mistakes, or at least to learn that even sometimes technology cannot be trusted. Anyway, charred crust and all, the bread turned out okay. I made three loaves - two small and one big - and the big one was almost perfect, if I do say so myself, which was good enough for me. The other lil guys were still eaten, just a bit smokier than the big fella.
So that’s my story about bread. I will definitely make more, and it will be perfect next time, I assure you. Until then, burned crust will have to do.