I have always enjoyed baking, mostly everyday kinds such as bread, muffins, pies and cakes. I have made many different loaves of bread over the years using many different techniques. But for my daily breakfast bread I have stuck to one recipe and one method for several years. I use a bread machine, but I only use it on the dough setting. This allows me to have a warm place for the dough to rise, be punched down and rise again without my attending to it. I then put the dough in a pan for an additional rise and bake it in the oven for 35 minutes.
Many people fail with bread machines, I think, because they never made bread by hand first. Despite the careful measurements dictated by machine instructions, I find it necessary to get the right feel of the dough before I leave it to rise. Different weather affects flour, and what is too much one day is too little the next.
I want my morning toast and almond butter to carry me through until lunch. Accordingly my bread(pictured above)is loaded with white whole wheat flour, bulghur, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds. Local honey provides a touch of sweetness. Water, salt, oil and yeast combine with them all to make a hearty and chewy bread.
My granddaughter loves to eat my bread. I cautioned her one day to wait until it had cooled before slicing it. Deciding it was cool enough, she cut a big slice for herself and happily munched it while reading one of her countless books. I was stunned when I went in the kitchen to find two halves of the loaf with the middle missing. I asked her why she had done that. She replied, honestly enough, that the center of the loaf was the best part!