Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Budgets and Better Bread

Well, this month is going to be a huge fail in the budget department!  We are only 7 days in and I only have $172.00 left.  Between my trip to Whole Foods, stock-up trip to Target, two quick grocery trips and garden materials my budget is about busted.  I still have to pay my cell phone bill, at least one tank of gas for the rest of the month and three more weeks of produce/dairy grocery stops....sigh.  My trips to Target and Whole Foods need to be slimmed down big time!  Guess I'll be analyzing my receipts tonight.  

This past weekend I tried another bread recipe and this one was a winner!  It needed to bake a bit longer, but that's what happens when you leave the job of removing something out of the oven to the husband.  I had forgotten about baking the bread until 10 minutes before I had to leave for a birthday party.  I set the timer and of course most males don't know how to tell whether something is finished baking or not (at least not the male that happens to be in my house).  The top flattened just a bit, but it was soft and so yummy.  My only complaint with homemade bread is the crumbs; it's not the best for sandwiches for this reason, but I am making it work.  Bonus:  The girls love it and it is so easy to make! 

Whole Wheat Bread (makes one loaf, but can be doubled for two loaves)

4 T honey
2 T cane sugar
2 T unsalted butter
1 c. + 1 T water
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt (I use fine Himalayan pink sea salt)
1 package active dry yeast
1 1/2 - 2 cups white flour

Combine the honey, butter and water in a small saucepan.  Heat over low until the butter melts and the water is about 120º.  In a mixing bowl, combine wheat flour, yeast and salt.  Add the warm water mixture and stir for one minute.  Add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time (I use my mixer with the dough hook in place) blending well after each addition.  Keep mixing, adding more flour as needed.  Once the flour has been added and dough starts to clean the sides of the bowl, knead another two minutes. (You can let your mixer or your hands do this.)

Remove the dough from the bowl, grease the bottom and sides of the bowl and place the bread back in, turning once to coat the top with oil.  Cover and let rise in a warm place for 40 to 60 minutes, until double.  (I usually turn the oven on for about one minute, turn it off then place the bread inside to rise.)  Punch the dough down, knead on a floured board, shape into a loaf and place in a greased loaf pan, cover and let rise another hour.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350º. (I needed a bit longer.)  Remove from the oven, rub the tops with a stick of butter and cool for 10 minutes.  Remove bread from the pan and cool completely.

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