Friday, February 20, 2015

Best Whole Wheat Bread


This is a little (just a little?) off topic.  I have spent time modifying my20150220_073652 favorite bread recipe so that it is entirely whole grain.  It makes 2 regular sized loaves.  Here’s how you make it.


Start with:

  • 4 cups of Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 packages or (1 T + 1.5 t yeast)
  • 3 T vital wheat gluten

Mix these together until well-blended.

Run your tap water and measure until it is 120 degrees (if it is not that hot, microwave the water until it is.

In large measuring cup or bowl, mix together:

  • 3.25 c. hot water
  • 1/2 c. honey (wild honey tastes the best)
  • 1 T vegetable oil

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just blended.  I use a Kitchen Aid mixer with dough hook, but you can mix by hand.  Put one more cup of flour on top to keep it warm, but do not mix in.  Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 10 minutes or more.   After the 10 minutes have elapsed, mix in the dry flour and gradually add 2-3 more cups of flour.  You want the dough moist and not forming into a ball. 

When it is moist but stiff enough to form, form it into a ball and then knead it a few times.  Form it into a ball again.  Spray a large bowl with cooking oil and roll the ball in the oil.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in a warm place to raise.  You do not want the volume to double.  If you are using the quick yeast it will take about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes at the proofing temperature of my Bosch oven.  It will take longer at cooler temperatures.

When it has risen, it will be almost twice as big as it was before and be filled with air.  Punch it down, divide it in half.  Take each half and form it into a cylinder and put in pre-oiled 9 x 5 loaf pan.  (If your pans are smaller you will use a smaller amount, but the dough should come up about 3/4 of the way on the pan.)  In the pan, punch it down again until it is filling all parts of the pan.

Put the pans in a warm place, cover with oiled plastic, and let rise until the bread is about 1 inch above the top of the pan.  Then raise the oven temperature to 375.  Brush or spray the top of the bread with water to make a nice crust,  and bake for 45 minutes or until the internal temperature is 120 degrees. (I recommend an instant read thermometer like the Thermo Pop or Thermo Pen). 

Remove from oven and let cool in pans 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool on a rack.

Spread with butter and enjoy!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Goals, Goals, Goals and A Snippet


This year I finally found the impetus to begin writing again due to a beautifully Bethlehem 1800written memoir of an author’s year in Rome  (Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr).  Unlike that memoir, my historical fiction psychological thriller series (Eli’s Scrolls) takes place in the ancient Near East, in today's nations of Jordan, Israel, and Syria.  So, here's a snippet, in fact two paragraphs, to celebrate the 2nd month of the year, plus 5 sentences for the 5th day of the month.  The beginning of the first chapter of Eli's Scrolls: Book 1:  The Search. 

The night was darker than the coals of a long dead fire.  He had never seen a night like this one.  In the past, there had been times when the moon and stars had been cloud-blotted, but there were always sounds:  cricket chirps, a fire’s crackle, sheep’s baa’s.  In the deepest quiet of the night the wind would whisper and tickle his ears.  But this night was different.  There were no sounds, no stirrings, nothing at all.  Without any memory of arriving there, he thought he must be deep in some ancient cave.  He knelt and groped for the feel of anything, pebbles, dirt, a puddle, a twig, but wherever he reached he grasped only air. He shivered, hugged himself, and tried not to panic.  He struggled to breathe normally as he pushed against the ground, a surface like smooth rock, flat and slick like nothing he had ever felt. He stood, tremulous, and slid his feet forward ten paces without feeling a single ridge or undulation.  He reached for anything, hands grasping, reaching to the front, now to the side—but felt nothing.   Another ten, paces and he reached again.  How long could he go on like this: finding nothing, feeling nothing?

He strained to feel, to see, to hear, even the whiff of a breeze, the spark of a star, the gentle sounds of sleeping sheep.  He had no sense of direction or purpose, but on and on he strode, grasping, reaching from one side to the other, hoping only for the brush of a feather, a point of light, a sound in this night beyond all nights.  On and on he went.  But for Eli there was no illumination, no rumble of thunder, no stars above.  Into the silence he cried out the ancient words, “Baruch atah Adonai Elohenu Melech H’Olam.  Hineni. hineni”  Over and over he entreated the One whom he longed to know.  “Blessed are You Our Lord, King of the World.  I am here.  I am here.”  His feet faltered as he dragged himself onward.  He listened to his own breath whistling and wheezing, and he  flung it toward the heavens until his voice became hoarse.  He sank to his knees, his face bowed.  “Baruch atah Adonai Elohenu.  Hineni, hineni” he whimpered, flattening himself, and retreating into his own darkness until he was no longer conscious of the surface beneath him.  The darkness concealed him.  In it, he ceased to exist.

Suddenly, he felt his shoulder shaking under a weight and in that instant thoughts of Yahweh flittered through him and as quickly disappeared.  He grabbed the weight, finding it warm and soft,—an arm,  rolled onto his back, and dragging the weight with him clutched it close to his chest in the split second before a large body plummeted onto his torso and threatened to suffocate him.

“Watch it, Eli!” Ben yelled.

Ben. Eli struggled and pushed away hearing his reed mat crackle beneath him, and rolled onto the ground.


WIPpet Friday is a weekly blog hop where authors post snippets from their current Works in Progress. The Christian Fiction Edition is hosted by Alana Terry and Hallie Bridgeman.