Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Organic Country Bread

Crispy fall weather makes me want to do nothing more than bake. And bake I did! Last night i finally cleaned off the counters and made room to prepare a hearty whole wheat country bread. It wasn't ready cooling till about midnight but that didn't stop S and I from tearing into it and having a few slices to sample before bed! What made baking it even more fun was that I baked it in my Le Creuset dutch oven! I enjoy baking my own bread because it gives me more control over my ingredients. This way I know I am only using organic flour and honey and no artificial fillers or preservatives. Yummy!

Here is the simple and delicious recipe I used for whole wheat country bread:

3 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 t salt
1/2 oz yeast
1 t honey
1 - 2 cups tepid water

Combine bread and salt in bowl.
Create well in center.
Add yeast, honey, and 1/2 cup of water. Sprinkle with flour and leave covered, in a warm place, for 15 minutes.
After yeast has started, slowly mix in enough or the rest of the water until you have a sticky, but firm, dough.
Turn out and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth.
Put the dough in a clean bowl, cover, and leave in a warm place until it doubles in size, or about an hour.
Turn the dough one one more time and put into oiled bread tin or dutch oven.
Cover once more and leave for about half an hour.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Put the bread in the oven for about 40 minutes.
Let sit and cool for about half an hour before slicing into, so that the crumb holds together.

Top with butter/honey/jam/cheese/topping of choice and enjoy!

After you master this simple recipe you can alter it hundreds of different ways. You can add dried fruit and nuts, sweeten it with honey or molasses, as well as make it a savory bread with different cheeses, chilies, or cured meats such as pepperoni.

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