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I've been blogging over at Our Sleeping Flowers these days. Still me, and still delicious, come join me!

We have a long holiday weekend ahead of us and we plan to spend as much of it as we can outside (if it's not storming) some of it in the mountains, and some of it asleep, (here's hoping multiple naps will be the norm these next few days). But before I sign off early for our small stay-cation, I wanted to share a favorite whole wheat bread recipe I love from my aunt.

Also, be sure to check my zupas post tomorrow for a fresh avocado and chipotle vegetable salad, perfect to bring along on your weekend picnic.

see you tuesday!

There was a time where I was baking bread a couple times a month, but lately it has been more like once a month, depending on my time and need to do so. I have a few favorite recipes that I use, but the one I learned to make wheat bread with I got from my lovely aunt sherry. I go to her for bread recipes, cake recipes, and advice on pie making. She's a proficient when it comes to the lemon meringue.

She gave me this recipe a number of years ago and over the years I have made small changes here and there making it a little more my own. Over the next few decades I think it will continue to go through changes and alterations as I continue to perfect it and bake it. In this version I've shared my alterations and a few notes from my aunt so you can take what you like and make it your own.

aunt sherry's whole wheat bread

1 Tablespoon yeast
1/4 cup warm milk
1/4 cup melted butter or oil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup molasses or honey
1 cup oatmeal
4 - 5 cups of stone-ground whole wheat flour
1/2 cup milk
1 cup water - note: If the dough is too gooey, add more flour. If the dough is too stiff, add more liquid a little bit at a time.

Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk. Drop in a tsp of molasses or honey and let the yeast proof (it should begin to bubble, so you know you have live yeast).

In a mixer with the dough hook attached, combine the butter, salt, molasses and 3 cups of the flour. Add the yeast mixture, milk, and water. Add the remaining flour a cup at a time until the dough just pulls away from the sides.

Knead the dough in the mixer for at least ten minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, rub a bit of butter on the inside, return the dough to the bowl, cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for about an hour or until it doubles in size.

Punch the dough down and let rest for about ten minutes. Then separate the dough into two equal halves, tucking the sides into the middle to form a loaf and set each into a buttered loaf pan. Cover them with a towel and let rise again (about 30 - 45 minutes depending on the temperature of your kitchen) until the dough is almost to the top of the pan.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 25 - 30 minutes.

Serve with some butter and plum jam from a friend. thanks again kerstin, xo

makes: 2 loaves

notes from aunt sherry:
- My wheat bread recipe starts with a basic list of ingredients and then I add to it, so it isn't an exact science. Practice makes perfect, too.
- I like to use dough enhancer, (gluten) about 1/4 to 1/3 cup
- I add 1 egg
- I also add some dry milk and dry potato flakes because they are in my food storage. Because the potatoes are "dry" I add more water to compensate for hydrating them. I suppose you could hydrate first in a separate bowl...
- In the winter time I set the bowl in the oven with the oven light turned on to provide some heat. I never heat the oven with the bowl in there.

notes from me:
- The original recipe called for half whole wheat flour, half all purpose or bread flour. use what you have/prefer.
- you can omit the oatmeal, replace it with about 1 cup of flour.
- stoneground whole wheat flour seems to give the bread a better crumb versus other grinds that make the loaves denser and smaller.
- if you have no molasses but you have sucanat, make a molasses syrup by bringing 1 cup water to a boil with 2 cups sucanat. When it cools a bit, you will have a syrup that is a little lighter than molasses but will work perfectly for this bread (or some hearty pancakes).

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