Friday, January 14, 2011

Whole Wheat Bread with Gloria

First of all, I need to share with you why I love Gloria. About 2.5 years ago, I was very sick with the pregnancy of our 6th child (8th time going through it, you would have thought I was used to it, but I still cried for most of the day during about a month of it). My sweet husband took over on the laundry and cooking meat (have I ever mentioned how sensitive my nose is when I am NOT pregnant...and it only got worse when I was). Most days, I was just happy to have the kids fed, bathed, and dressed. I even ended up putting my older two boys back in a charter school for a semester because I worried about keeping up with their home education. I was miserable. There were days when I literally didn't brush through my hair and even a few when I know I may have forgotten my teeth....yeah, it was bad.

I remember one morning getting a knock at the door (I think I had brushed my teeth that day, but my hair was all over the place). I answered the door in my bathrobe and probably looked a lot like death warmed over. And that was when I saw Gloria....with a beautiful treat to cheer me up...a warm loaf of whole wheat bread. The smell of it was beyond description to me...I hoarded and savored that loaf of bread for the next 2 days, thoroughly enjoying the aroma, the texture, and the flavor of it. When it was gone, I vowed to have Gloria share with me where she had really purchased it from....there was no way anyone could ever make a whole wheat bread that delicious from there own kitchen.

A couple of months ago, she dropped by some more bread and I told her that I would love to have her teach me and my kids how to make her delicious bread. She told me that she might be able to do that sometime in between holidays. Well, with all of the holiday business and our sickness going on, it ended up getting pushed forward to now. And today was the day that we learned how to make our own bread by hand. What a treat!

This is Gloria's awesome wheat grinder...

The wheat is placed in the funnel that leads to the grinding parts and beneath the grinder is room for the 9x13 tray that Gloria uses to catch the flour (yes, I am aware the picture is extremely out of focus, what can you expect with a vibrating grinder?). She keeps it down in the basement. Anyone who has used one knows why. ;)

The boys were really interested in seeing how it worked...I could tell by the way that BlueMoon kept his hands in his pockets. This was something that we used to have him do when he was a little boy to keep him from touching and playing with EVERYTHING.

Gloria used 4 cups of red wheat and 4 cups of white wheat...we could have used a cup more of each type...the end product was superb! This was the first time that Gloria had used 100% whole wheat, she had usually only used 3/4 and 1/4 of the other stuff, for fear of it being too rough. I told her that we should throw caution to the wind and try it out with 100% whole wheat...which we did (and she asked if we wanted to take the easier route with the Bosch, in the background, but I told her that we wanted the full-experience of kneading it by hand. She was so sweet to comply).

Gloria was so modest when I asked her if it was her own recipe. She told me that she had taken a recipe that she has had for around 20 years and adapted it, especially after learning more at Kitchen Kneads. I have to say, I looked through the old recipe and Gloria's recipe was quite a bit different. She still wouldn't take credit for it being her recipe,, let's just say that it is a culmination of different recipes, of which Gloria has perfected. ;)

Gloria's Whole Wheat Bread

6 c. warm water
2 TB active yeast
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. oil (she likes to use pure canola)
2 TB salt
14-15 c. whole wheat flour (2/3 white and 1/3 red)

Makes 4 large loaves or 8 small loaves...or you can mix and match them to meet your needs. We made 6 small loaves and one large loaf today.

In a rather large bowl, pour your 6 cups of warm water. Gloria pointed out to me that if you have soft water, use cold water and boil it on the stove, then add cold water to it until it is lukewarm (otherwise you will have too much salt in the recipe). She was so sweet, taking the time to explain to the boys why it is important to use warm water and not cold or hot. She let them both feel the right temperature of water on their wrists to help them to know what it feels like, for when they make their own time? :)

Add your yeast and mix it with the water...Gloria showed the boys how to use a knife to level it in the measuring spoon.

Then she shared the secret of greasing the measuring cup, we would be using for the honey, with oil before we filled it. Nice.

 BlueMoon was mesmerized by the honey and I wondered if we would ever get past this step....Gloria was very patient with the boys, thank goodness.

It is a rather lovely shade of gold...isn't it? She was rather patient with yours truly, as well.

The honey eventually made it into the bowl with the other ingredients...and BlueMoon remarked on how easily it slid out of the cup. Voila!

Then Forest was allowed to pour the to not spill a drop....and he literally did it....very....slowly.

We threw in the salt and mixed it all around for a few minutes....talking about how oil and water don't mix.

Then it was time to begin adding the flour, one cup at a time. The boys took turns mixing and pouring...

At first it was relaxing and they worked in silence...

and the mixture began to look more and more like bread...

and the boys began to act more and more like boys...

When it was time to begin kneading with their hands, I knew we needed to talk about their ability to make a mess. Because of the HUGE bowl (I really need one of these!), we were able to comfortably knead the dough without having to make a much bigger mess on Gloria's table and floor.

 BlueMoon got a little carried away with his massaging of the dough....and created quite a mess on his hands. I began to worry. Gloria told us that she had 6 brothers and she assured us she had been around boys, but I still worried that the boys would erupt into bouts of flagellants and belching at any moment. They were beginning to warm up and enjoy themselves a little too much. They shared with Gloria their love of eating grasshoppers and worms...they even shared my secret of eating raw cookie dough. Yeah, I know it is disgusting....but I LOVE IT!

And, yes, BlueMoon ate the dough off of his fingers before washing his hands for the 20 something time during our visit with Gloria...she put some oil on her hands and it was a little less messy. The boys looked more like they were giving a deep tissue massage most of the time, instead of kneading.

The dough looked done to Gloria...

She showed us how she had learned to check it to see if it really was done being kneaded, by stretching it and holding it up to see if you could see the light through it, without it ripping.

After kneading a bit more, we covered it and put it into a warmed oven for 1/2 hour...okay, it was a little bit longer than that, but only because we got to discussing nutrition and nearly forgot that we were in the process of making bread. I sure loved hearing all that Gloria had to share with me. She has a wealth of information. She is quite the nutrition guru!

It did a good job of rising. We did a basic version of this bread. Gloria pointed out that this would be where you would add in your flax seed, nuts, etc. (before forming into the loaves).

After greasing the tins, Gloria divided the dough into them...

Then made them into the lovely shapes that they are supposed to be...

They were so very lovely...just waiting to be baked.

We set them on top of the oven and turned on the oven to warm them a bit. Gloria reminded me that the granite is extremely cold and is a horrible place to try to get anything to rise (for all of you granite lovers).

While the loaves were continuing to rise for about another 1/2 hour, Gloria fed us lots of healthy snacks...some wonderful (and healthy) banana muffins, cuties, an apple, nuts, and some snap peas. The boys used the leftover bread dough off of the bowl and the table and created some beautiful creations with flax seed and nuts...

This is BlueMoon's.

This is Forest's.

They were so silly...and so proud of their creations. Forest keeps telling me how he wants to be a chef someday. I think I might be moving in with him when I am old and gray....just sayin. And, yes, I did let them eat the well-loved mini mini loaves of nutty bread (at least that is what I think they called them). I can't tell you how much I love these two crazy boys. They are such a joy to have in my life. :)

After the loaves had risen a bit more, they were ready to bake. We put them in the preheated oven at 350 degrees (25 minutes for the small and 30 for the large).

Then we took out the small loaves...aren't they blissful? You can't smell the aroma or feel the warmth and moisture of them, but hopefully you can, at least, see just how wonderful they turned out. I am going to have to go and cut myself a slice right now...the temptation is just too much for me to resist. :P

My all-time favorite food....warm bread. I think I may even be able to give up raw cookie dough and all of the other yucky habits I need to get rid of, if I can reward myself with some of this yummy bread every once in a while.

BlueMoon enjoyed the honey...again.

And Forest was careful not to make too much of a mess with the homemade raspberry spread that Gloria made from the raspberries out of their own backyard.

We spent nearly 4 hours at Gloria's home. She put up with me constantly taking photographs and the boys acting silly. She let us in on her secret of how to make her absolutely delicious bread. She even let me play on her piano for a while. She shared so many great ideas for being healthier and gave us some of the greatest gifts she has to give, her time and her energy. When all was done, we left with all of the bread we had made together, she refused to keep any for herself. She told me that she still had some from the last time she baked and will be baking more later on....what an amazing woman!

If you would like for me to send you a printable copy of the recipe (it would be easier to follow), let me know in the comments and I will e-mail one to you.

Until tomorrow...
~.~the purple sprout

No comments:

Post a Comment