Eating, the Best Part of Our Day

I am going to cheat today, day 5 of Diabetes Blog Week, but not because I don’t find this topic engaging. If anything, in our house, food is the only subject worth discussing everyday. And we do, starting on Saturday or Sunday when we plan out our next week’s menu, which is almost always home cooked and almost always has a Mediterranean flair to it (lately the centerpiece has been chick peas, but if I had to choose a favorite dish, I’d pick a pan-roasted Harissa chicken cooked in a cast iron skil—See what I mean, I promised myself I wouldn’t talk about food and here I am talking about it. Some things can’t, and shouldn’t, be helped, I guess. Email me if you have time today or any day to talk about food. Franca and are I always willing!

Instead what I’d like to do is share a post from the past, the one in which Franca shared her recipe for baking bread. Bread is one of those items that will dress up any meal. Toasted and then rubbed with garlic, a shot of olive oil and some salt, and presto, Bruschetta. Makes it feel like you’re dining in Sicily, especially if you add a glass of Chianti (which may or may not also be homemade. Ahem).Stanca Wine

The recipe Franca shares here has changed a bit since then (as has the kitchen and mixer), but to be sure whatever ingredients you use at home will be better than the periodic table list of crap found on a store-bought bag of bread. The biggest item that has changed is we no longer use gluten to beef up the whole wheat flour and the flour we use (called Montana Prairie Gold) we source locally. If you can’t find that in your neighbor then King Arthur is an excellent alternative. The point here is that whenever you make at home, it tastes better and is usually better for you.

Here’s the link to the original post— homemade bread and the video, which is always brings a laugh at our house, except out of Franca, who only stands and with a disapproving purse of her lips, shakes her head.

Homemade Bread
(So Easy, Even I Can Do It)

I was born with no sense of smell, a fact I hardly notice (other than to regret having passed it on to one of my kids). Without fail though I am reminded of it when someone enters the house and if a loaf of bread is baking or just come out of the oven they comment on the wonderful aroma. While I may have no olfactory inkling of what they are talking about, I know joy when I hear and see it and that is enough to clue me in on just what I am missing.

To be sure, I’ve had plenty of time to get the picture. For fifteen years or more we have been baking our own bread at home. It began with disdain for the taste and nutrition lacking in store bought bread and blossomed into a full on and eventually successful war against sugar and especially High Fructose Corn Syrup. The bread, hands down, was the easiest of the many battles we waged in that fight to put good healthy food on our table. And the nicest part about it? Other than the cost and obvious health benefits, making homemade bread takes about as much time as it takes for a pot of coffee to brew. It’s so easy, Franca even taught me how to do it, and in a moment she’ll teach you, too.

But first, let’s talk about why you should be making your own bread. Like almost everything that is good for you, most of you will already know why, so I’ll just keep things simple and visual.

Here’s just a partial list of the “extras” that go into making that loaf of industrial bread:

soybean oil, sweet dairy whey, butter, maltodextrin, honey, high fructose corn syrup, calcium sulfate, soy flur, dough conditioners, such as: dicalcium phosphate, calcium dioxide, sodium stearoyl lactylate, ethoxylated mono and diglycerides, mono and diglycerides, and/or datem, yeast nutrients: ammonium sulfate, ammonium chloride, calcium carbonate, monocalcium phosphate, and/or ammonium phosphate, cornstarch, wheat starch, vinegar, natural flavor, beta carotene (color), enzymes, calcium propionate, soy lecithin.

In comparison, here’s what goes into our simple homemade bread:

oil, honey, flour, salt, yeast, water.

If you want to go the extra step–and we usually do–we add:

flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pepitas, and chia seeds, all usually ground but not necessary

‘Nuff said? Let’s move on.

How to Make a Loaf of Bread

The tools

the tools
We use a kitchen aid mixer, but it’s just as easy to mix it in bowl. Other than that all it takes is a couple of measuring cups and spoons, and a kitchen towel.

 

 

the ingredients

The ingredients

2 tbsp honey

2 tbsp olive oil

3 cups flour

3 tsp yeast

1½ tsp salt

1-1½ cups water

** if making wheat bread add 4 tbsp gluten
*** if desired, 2 tbsp each of ground sunflower seed, flaxseed, chia, pepitas

Now for the rest, here’s Franca–

(We had a good chuckle from the inferior audio our cheap, little camera provided — what’s with those S’s anyway–as  well as Franca’s double fist pump at the start. In the interest of full disclosure, she had to make three loaves to get this video so by the final cut she was ready to have this over with).

So that’s it. Baking bread at home. Stress free. And, if you’re lucky, scented.