Monday, March 21, 2011

Koa's bread

As I finally sign back into my account, I come to the realization that my last post was in regards to Koa, our beloved golden retriever. How sadly ironic it is that I am posting tonight ... our first night without him.

Koa spent the last three weeks being pampered and loved. He recovered well from the surgery, but unfortunately the cancer was already very advanced. His mind and spirit were high as always, offering smiles and tail wags as often as possible, but his body was rapidly deteriorating. At 11am today, March 21, 2011, Koa's life with us on this earth ended. Even though his body is no longer with us, his positive spirit and years of happy memories will remain with us always.

Needless to say, the last three weeks have been overwhelming. I felt, today, as though a cloud of grief has drifted over our house. And as sad, scared, anxious and gloomy as we were, the past few weeks have brought us so much closer as a family. We dedicated multiple days to family time ... hiking, fishing, kite flying, silently praying in the woods, and even snuck in a bit of therapy-baking, thuroughly enjoying the simplicity of each others company.

One of the only things that I baked over the last few weeks was a couple of loaves of whole wheat bread. I recently entered the world of bulk flour purchasing and 50 pounds of organic 100% whole wheat flour now reside in our kitchen (tucked away in two, 22 quart cambrose containers ... yes, I'm a pro. kitchen gadget geek). The recipe I chose was from the cookbook shown above.

We have five dutch ovens in our kitchen arsenal, two enameled, three without enamel. I love rustic loaves and the recipe I chose fit the bill (and having run out of honey to the in-house honey-addict, I used a bit of maple syrup for sweetness).

I plan to make this again on Thursday, in hopes that a few minutes of kneading dough and the smell of fresh bread baking will begin to soothe my broken heart.

Koa would have been 11 years old on April 1st, 2011. 
Koa, we will miss you ... (I'll save a couple of pieces of crust to sneak to you later!)

Quick Wholesome Wheat Bread
No need to wait over night, this delicious bread is ready in a matter of hours. Enjoy this crusty, moist loaf toasted, smeared with butter and a drizzling of honey. (I think I'm going to even grab a slice when I finish posting!)

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup honey (or syrup ... use real maple, not the fake stuff like I used), or even molasses
  • 2/3 cup powdered milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups unsifted whole wheat flour, plus an additional 2-2 1/2 cups flour (4-4.5 total cups)

Tools needed:
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Clean Towel
  • 12” cast iron dutch oven with lid, greased
  1. In a large bowl mix water, yeast and honey until yeast dissolves. Stir in powdered milk, salt and 2 cups of flour. Mix until smooth. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes. 
  2. Add remaining flour as needed, kneading by hand for approximately ten minutes, creating a nice, sticky dough. (I used my stand mixer and kneaded dough with hook on speed 2 until dough was a smooth consistency, approximately 4-5 minutes.) 
  3. Place in greased bowl. Cover with clean cloth and rise for 30 minutes.
  4. Form dough into a round loaf. Place in greased oven and cover with lid. 
  5. Allow to double in size. Score with 1/4" deep X on top of loaf before baking.
  6. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  7. Bake 40-50 minutes in preheated oven.