"In all of living have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured!"
~ Gordon B. Hinckley

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Mom's French Bread for Father's Day

In the entire 2 years (ok, technically 1 year and 50 weeks) that we've been married I have not made bread one single time. My goodness, what a failure! Especially considering that for as long as I can remember, my mom has baked bread at least once a week. And by "baked bread" I mean she baked (and still does) like 4-8 loaves each week of hearty, from-scratch, mostly - if not completely - whole wheat flour (which she grinds herself from fresh wheat), true blue homemade bread. The scent of freshly baked bread constantly graced our home growing up. We had a loaf on the table at every meal, and several loaves in the freezer ready to be pulled out the minute we finished the one we were currently devouring. I can't tell you how many times I would be completely full at meal time because I had been snacking on thick slabs of warm fresh-out-of-the-oven bread, real butter, and my mom's homemade strawberry freezer jam all day. Mmmmm good :)

She's tried a number of different recipes and variations throughout the years, but the two I remember her making by far the most often are Anne's Whole Wheat Bread and her French Bread. The whole wheat bread is super thick and hearty, but the one I really love is her french bread. She makes it with both wheat and white flour to give it a bit more of a hearty punch, but it's still nice and light and fluffy and wonderful!

I've been wanting and meaning to bake bread for quite some time now, it just obviously hasn't happened yet. But today is the day folks! I did it! I baked my first real loaves of 100% mine bread!

 Here are my little dough blobs all ready to start rising in our warm, humid, sun room. How cute :)

I brushed one of them with oil and sprinkled it with Italian seasoning just to see how we liked it.

And here are the finished products! They didn't even turn out half bad! Not as good as my mom's of course, but still quite tasty :) The Italian seasoning on the bread was good, but not particularly impactful. The next time I try that I'll mix the seasonings in to the dough instead for a bit more of a kick.

Now I just need to learn to make awesome freezer jam! If anyone has any great freezer jam recipes, PLEASE share them with me!!! Any kind is great, but there's a blueberry farm here and I really want to go pick buckets of fresh berries once we finish getting moved in and my never-ending morning sickness eases up, so a blueberry one would be awesome :)

And speaking of recipes, here is my mom's wonderfully easy delicious French bread recipe!

French Bread

- 8 cups flour
- 1 Tb. salt
- 2 Tbs. yeast
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 Tbs. olive oil (I just used canola oil)
- 3 cups hot water

Mix 6 cups flour and other dry ingredients.  Add oil and water.  Mix. Add last 2 cups flour.  Knead till dough is stiff, but doesn’t stick to finger when touched (5 minutes in my Bosch).  Shape into 2 large loaves or 4 smaller loaves and place on cookie sheets.  Brush with olive oil or roll tops of loaves in a stripe of olive oil.  Make 3 ½” inch slashes in the top of each loaf.  Let rise 45 min. to 1 hour.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

My bread got kind of wrinkled looking when I cut it. Oops. And I only did half of the recipe since I don't need 4 loaves of bread for just me and my Trevor, but it freezes really well if you let it cool completely before bagging it. I also did half white and half wheat flour, but we just used whatever cheap brand of bagged wheat flour they had at the store and I'm not convinced of it's purity. My bread basically looks like is entirely white flour. Oh well! I tried to be healthier :)

I'll definitely be baking more of this soon! 

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