Wednesday, February 2

Flour Weaving

Throughout the year, as the garden unit has been trying (quite successfully, if I might add) to eliminate package foods from our diet, I have been practicing the art of flour weaving. Some of my creations this year have included pita, chapti, pancakes (a variety of flavors), and bread.

Flour weaving involves all things flour and your hands. I am a big fan of working dough with my hands (no spoons necessary) and the movement of kneading- one of my favorite practices in the kitchen.

I have been reading up on breadmaking lately and the science behind it. To share some of what I have learned, its all about the gluten and kneading. By making the dough elastic-y through movement, the gluten is activated, leading to the production of gas bubbles which makes the bread fluffy and delicious when it comes out of the oven.

One of my latest flour weaving creations:
Honey Wheat Bread
(adapted from the More with Less cookbook- one of my favorite cookbooks)
Makes 2 loaves.

2 tablespoons of yeast
3 cups of milk
pinch of sugar

First, warm the milk. It should be around 120 degrees (warmish). Then dissolve the yeast in the milk, along with a pinch of sugar. This is your starter.

3 cups of whole wheat flour

Add this flour to the starter. Allow this mixture to rest for about 10-15 minutes, it will become a bit bubbly.

1 tablespoon of salt
1/2 cup of honey
2 tablespoons of oil

Mix these ingredients in with the starter after it has rested.

4-ish cups of white flour (I used bread flour- which turned out well if you have it handy)

Last step for the dough, add the flour (a couple cups at a time) and mix with hands.

Now for the best part of breadmaking: kneading!
Knead until it feels right and until you are feeling really good about the day and about making something that has been created to share among friends since the very beginning. (Usually it takes me about 10 minutes or so)

After all that flour weaving, patience comes next. The dough must rise until it has doubled. I like to set the bowl on the oven, where it is quite warm. After it has doubled, split the dough in half. Then stretch the dough flat and roll it into a jelly roll. Place the rolls into the bread pans (which should be greased well) and then the loaves must rise again, for about 45 minutes.

Alright, you are getting close- final step: place the beautiful loaves into the oven at 375 degrees and bake for about 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Butter up and enjoy!

Happy weaving,

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