Making bread with my daughter

I bought a 25-pound bag of wheat berries awhile back, with the intention of grinding my own flour and making lots of bread.  Needless to say, I have fallen behind.  With no work this week, I decided to make good use of my time and catch up on those things that I have been putting off.  One of them being becoming a great bread maker.

So I pulled out my Tassajara Bread Book, given to me by my wonderful father-in-law, who thinks of me while browsing the thrift store cookbooks.  I opened the book and decided to start with the first recipe, basic Tassajara yeasted bread.

This recipe has the baker make a sponge first, with half of the flour.  I followed the recipe exactly, later realizing, as the sponge bubbled up and over the largest bowl I have, that it made four loaves.   Perfect for a monastery, not so perfect for my family of four.  I put one half in the fridge to make into a crap-load of breadsticks later in the week.

The sponge:

6 cups lukewarm water

2 T yeast

1/2 cup honey

2 cups dry milk (optional-I did not have on hand, so I omitted)

7-9 cups whole wheat flour

It will be like thick mud.  Beat 100 times, in a circular motion. Leave to rise, with a damp towel covering it for about an hour, or so.  I left mine for a couple hours, figuring it would improve the flavor.

Here my daughter and I are adding the additional ingredients:

2 1/2 T salt

1/2 cup olive oil or butter

6-8 cups whole wheat flour

At this point, DO NOT STIR the dough, or cut through the center.  This will defeat all the rising that has been done up until now.  Keep the dough in one piece, as much as possible.  Mix around the sides of the bowl, folding towards the center.  Add the salt and oil/butter first, incorporating as well as possible.  Then add the flour, cup by cup.  Continue folding until dough comes away from sides of the bowl.  Then take the dough to a floured surface or board and knead.  I split my dough in half, as it was too much for me to knead all at once.

After finished kneading, place into an oiled bread bowl, smooth side down.  Then turn it over, creases down.  The oiled surface will help keep a crust from forming on the top of the dough.  Cover and set in warm place for an hour or until doubled.  Punch down a few times and let rise another hour.  This last rise may be omitted if short on time.  The resulting bread will be a bit more dense though. Shape into loaves and let rise 15-25 more minutes.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 50-70 minutes.

the first loaf

breadsticks made from the extra scraps

I would have to say, this is the BEST bread I have made yet!  Yay!

Categories: food with kids


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5 Comments on “Making bread with my daughter”

  1. Angela
    April 27, 2010 at 10:44 am #

    I’m impressed! Making bread is no easy feat! I can smell it all the way from there and it smells wonderful! 😉

    • melissadavisfood
      April 27, 2010 at 1:39 pm #

      It is no easy feat! That is why I was so excited!! It takes alot of time and patience, not to mention the right recipe. This one’s a keeper! I’m actually eating a slice of the bread with butter right now:)

  2. marcia
    April 27, 2010 at 11:23 am #


  3. Eve
    April 27, 2010 at 7:39 pm #


  4. Nonna
    April 28, 2010 at 5:26 pm #

    A great recipe idea to use my grinder for too- a great reason to finally break it in! Looks great- love Luna’s smiles!

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