The Happy Bread Maker
After enjoying so many sunny and warm days this spring, I actually welcomed the rainy weather last weekend. Rainy days provide me with the excuse to tend to my introverted side, which is usually done by putting on some music and getting creative in the kitchen. A rainy Sunday was in the forecast; I knew it was just what I needed to boost my energy for the week ahead.
A few months ago, I stumbled upon a new bread recipe online and tried it out a few times. The original recipe called for all white flour, which I slowly replaced with whole wheat each time I made it. After I had converted the recipe to using only whole wheat flour, I started playing with different flavour elements such as: figs & walnuts, dried cranberries & pecans, cheddar cheese & jalapeno, and whole garlic cloves (to name just a few).
I started prepping on Saturday by taking out 6 large bowls and adding in my ingredients (you can find the recipe attached at the bottom). In 3 of the bowls, I added diced dried fig and walnut pieces. I added cinnamon and raisins to another, and left the remaining 2 plain. After forming the dough in each bowl, I tightly covered with these cute floral reusable bowl covers I had found (and adore) and left on the counter overnight to let the yeast work its leavening magic!
The next morning I woke up b̶r̶i̶g̶h̶t̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶e̶a̶r̶l̶y̶, poured a coffee and preheated my cast iron pots in the oven. We were lucky enough to have received two of these pots as gifts over the years, which allows me to bake two loaves of bread at once – big time saver! If you have ever baked bread, you know the comforting, warm smell that comes from your oven as it bakes ever so perfectly. I baked the six loaves of bread that morning, each one better than the last. There is truly something cathartic about baking bread, isn’t there? I even feel relaxed just writing about it now!
I started thinking about how simple baking bread is. Not only do I enjoy it, but I also like having control over which ingredients I’m adding. I was curious to know how much each loaf would cost (compared to a similar grocery store version) and discovered that a plain loaf of this bread costs a whopping 70 cents. 70 cents!! When I costed the addition of the dried fruit and nuts, the grand total is just under $1.00 per loaf.
Usually I would slice each loaf and freeze it to use over the next few weeks. This time, I decided to share my bounty with a couple of our neighbours and family members. Now that it’s all gone, it gives me an excuse to do it all over again during our next rainy day :)