This morning was just right! I slept a little later than usual. My husband let the big, goofy golden retriever out and made coffee while I dozed. I loved not being awakened by a cold, wet nose in my face, regardless the associated affection! We drank yummy coffee out of my favorite mugs – from the old Sante Fe railroad Mimbreno pattern, a reminder of the days of luxurious dining on exotic rail travels to the mysterious and spiritual southwestern US. (How I love eBay – I can find things that no shop within 500 miles carries without leaving home!) The morning was unusually cool for June in the high desert. We opened the doors and let the cool air envelop us, making the warm coffee even better!
I puttered for a while, mostly reading the paper and folding laundry. Then I tackled the task of the morning: a loaf of bread. I make two types: breakfast bread and regular bread. Breakfast bread has ingredients that constitute the best array of amino acids and beneficial fats and carbs possible without adding meat or engineered chemicals. Today was regular bread, which we consume on occasions other than running off to the office with a hunk of peanut-butter-slathered breakfast bread in tow.
After prepping the zojirushi, I started grinding the grain. I use a small ‘back to basics’ grain mill. It makes adequate flour for bread and doesn’t take up my entire kitchen counter. I buy bulk rye grain locally and 25 lb bags of wheat from survivalacres.com, primarily because their shipping costs are low enough that it brings the cost of white wheat within reason. Grinding a cup of each give about 3 cups of flour and a moderate workout for your biceps and triceps. I toss in a cup of King Arthur unbleached bread flour for texture and break out the Bob’s Red Mill items. A tablespoon of vital wheat gluten per cup of home-ground flour adds protein and helps keep the bread elastic – neither of us are gluten sensitive. Then some oat bran for health. Other dry ingredients include salt and dry milk. The dry milk in the right proportion interacts with the yeast, salt and gluten to keep the yeast’s carbon dioxide bubbles small and uniform.
In the interim, I warm the water and add olive oil (usually Colavita because it is locally available and has a fresh flavor), cold pressed coconut oil (http://www.organicfacts.net/organic-oils/) and Harry’s Hillsboro Honey, a New Mexico organic product that is just delicious and shines through despite being a small part of the process.
All goes into the machine in the prescribed order and I top it with Red Star yeast – not the rapid stuff, but I do add a pinch more to make up for using the quick bread setting on the machine. I set it on ROCK AND ROLL and head off to write this blog entry. Today is cool and dry, so in checking the bread during kneading, it needed another couple of tablespoons of water to make up for the ingredients being unusually dry. Should anyone read this and want the recipes, add a comment requesting them and I'll happily post.
I can already smell the toasty goodness as I head off to shower before visiting friends in the hospital.