Today was a gloomy, rainy day. The type that demands hours of reading and lounging on the couch. I gave in to the weather and read for no less than 2 hours (The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, and Suite Francaise). The first book, by one of my favorite authors was typical of his work. I find his books usually start slow and finish with a bang. They leave me shocked and amazed for days after finishing. This author writes about the most common place topics in completely new ways. My favorite work involves him talking about death and society. Not only does he discuss the implications on society when death doesn’t come but he makes death into a character. She is one of the most interesting characters I have come across. I highly recommend Death with Interruptions. The Gospel is also very good, but having just finished it this morning I am still digesting it. Suite Francaise came very highly recommended and I have enjoyed the bit I have read.
Gloomy weather also drags me into the kitchen for two things: a large mug of tea and to make something that warms the soul. Today it was English breakfast tea and a bread recipe I call ‘Carver’s White Bread.’ It is a very simple bread recipe using flour, yeast, sugar, water, and oil/butter. There is very little kneading (the original recipe says you don’t need to but I find a couple minutes of active kneading produces a nicer crumb) and you can have two fresh loaves on your table in under 2 hours. Here are two photos – one after the second rise and the other completed loaves cooling.
If you have never made bread before, this is a wonderful loaf to start with. It is simple and the results will warm your soul. 2010 was the year of breads for me. I set a goal that I would make bread and I did… LOTS of bread. Which can be dangerous if you are a carb-lover like we are. But we won the battle- we ate ALL the bread and croissants and did not grow to be the size of a house. So anyways… make a loaf of bread on a rainy or snowy day, it will make you smile.
Today’s Food Journal
Breakfast: 1 piece whole wheat toast, 1 large egg (scrambled), 1c coffee, 1t light margarine, 1T jam, 2T milk
Lunch: 1/2 roast beef sandwich (1 slice wheat toast, 1 slice roast beef, 1/2 slice light cheese, 1t mayo, 1t mustard), 1 small chocolate chip cookie, 1 diet coke
Dinner: 1c turkey chili, 1c mixed greens, 1T dressing, 1 small chocolate chip cookie, 1/2L mineral water
Snacks: 1c black tea, 2 dark chocolate squares, 1 apple, 1 slice Carver’s white bread with 1 t margarine and 1/2t honey
- 6 ½ cups All-Purpose flour
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups warm water (~ 125 degrees)
- 2 tablespoon oil (or room temperature butter)
- In a large bowl combine 3 1/2 cups of flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Add water and oil or butter to the flour in two batches. Blend until moistened. Gradually add in remaining flour (one cup at a time) until well mixed.
- Turn out on to floured surface. Knead for 2-3 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place dough into greased bowl and allow to sit covered in a warm location for 30 minutes, until doubled in size.
- Split the risen dough into 2 greased loaf pans and let rise another 25-30 minutes covered in the same warm location.
- Once the dough reaches the top of the pans, place in the oven and bake 35-40 minutes. *I rotate the pans halfway through baking to ensure uniform browning.
Yield: 2 loaves, 16 servings per loaf. Points Plus: 3