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When the weather turns a bit cooler I love to make more comforting foods.  What could be more comforting than the smell of fresh baked bread?  Having never attempted to make fresh bread (even in a bread maker) I cruised around the internet for a simple bread recipe.  I found a recipe for “Fabulous Homemade Bread” and tweaked it a little bit.  You could easily add wheat bran or wheat germ for more fiber; I’m going to keep experimenting with it – but this an easy & yummy recipe for a basic sandwich like bread.
Enjoy!

Yields 2 loaves

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons warm water
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 2/3 cup quick cooking oats
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In the mixing bowl of an electric mixer, stir together 3 Tbsp warm water, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 1/2 Tbsp bread flour, and yeast. Let grow for about 5 minutes. It will bubble almost immediately.
  3. Measure oats, wheat flour, salt and honey into a seperate bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups warm water and the oil. Mix into grown sponge on low speed with a dough hook for 1 to 2 minutes. Increase speed slightly, and begin adding bread flour 1/2 to 3/4 cup at a time until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. Humidity determines how much flour you need before the bread pulls away from the edge of the bowl. It is normal for the dough to be sticky.
  4. Place dough in an oiled bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover with a damp cloth. Let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  5. Divide dough into 2 pieces. Shape loaves, and place in greased 8 x 4 inch with bottom lined with parchment paper. Let rise until dough is 1 inch above rim of pans, usually 1 hour.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F ( 175 degrees C) for 35 minutes, or until tops are browned. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes, and then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.
 Ever wonder what the difference between all purpose flour, cake flour & bread flour is?  Here is an explanation of the different types of flour.
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I had mentioned in my previous post that I  joined a local CSA.  On my first visit I picked up Chandler strawberries and rhubarb along with some other beautiful produce.   The strawberries were  luscious, bright red  and so sweet!  I had to stop myself from eating them all before getting a chance to make Strawberry Rhubarb Jam.

I’ve made jams before, with and without the aid of adding pectin.  Although you must let the jam cook for longer, I prefer the method without pectin.  The following recipe makes a small amount of jam (maybe 2 cups), but I am sure you can double or triple the recipe.

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

recipe adapted from Recession Depression Therapy

Ingredients:

2 cups Strawberries, hulled and chopped into quarters

1 cup rhubarb, finely diced (about 2 stalks)

2 cups of sugar

Instructions:

1. Mash strawberries and dice rhubarb.

I used a potato masher for the strawberries to release the juices. Cut rhubarb into a small dice.  The rhubarb will dissolve when boiled, so you won’t find any chunks in the end product.

2. Mix strawberries and rhubarb with the sugar in a medium saucepan.

To avoid a sticky mess, it’s best to use a saucepan a little bit bigger than you think you may need.

3. Cook to a rolling boil, stirring frequently.

Watch your temperature to make sure the mixture does not boil over or burn at the bottom.

4. Once you achieve a rolling boil, reduce temperature to keep the mixture at a slow boil.

Cook for approximately 40 minutes, scraping the sides and checking that the bottom is not sticking as it thickens.

5. Check for sheeting

When the jam thickens and  pulls together, remove from heat.

6. Skim any foam on the top of the jam mixture.

The result:  Jam bursting with sweet berry goodness, with a little twist of tartness from the rhubarb.  Scrumptious on my morning toast!

I make small batches and fresh jam does not last long around here, so I store it in a resealable container.  When I get a bit more ambitious I may start canning!

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