The past few days here in the Central Valley, where I am recouping from the holidays before I head back to Tahoe, have been dreary. All I want to do is sit by the fire, drink coffee, and think about all the baked goodies I will create this year. One thing I have been craving is bread, fresh from the oven, so I have decided to share a recipe I learned while I was in Alaska this spring.
This past spring I was fortunate enough to embark on an adventure to Homer, Alaska to WWOOF for a month with one of my closest friends, Cody. WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms and is essentially work trade. A WWOOFer works about 6 hours a day to earn room and board. It is a great way to travel because the host family typically shows you around. In Homer, Cody and I stayed with an incredible family that taught us about gardening, building, chickens, ducks, and so much more. I fully recommend every young person to do this because it shows how food grows and how much hard work goes into each piece of produce.
While in Alaska, I allowed my passion for food and cooking to consume me. I decided to change my path in life towards food and the culinary world. I am so happy I did. I have not regretted that decision yet. It did help, however, that my family was very supportive of me.
One of the many things I took away from the experience was my first scratch bread. This recipe is forgiving and great for someone who is new to kneading dough, as I was at the time. It does not hold up well for a sandwich but works great for toast or with soup.
The great thing about this bread is the customization of it. Throw in a handful of nuts or dried fruit for perfect morning toast. For a savory side of things, try roasted garlic or kalamata olives. Want to use a different kind of gluten flour? Go for it. Spelt works, more all purpose works!
My favorite thing about this bread? The intoxicating aroma that fills the house as it bakes.
- 2 C milk
- 1 packet dry yeast
- 3 eggs (save 1 for egg wash)
- 1 T honey
- 4 C whole-wheat flour
- 1 t coarse salt
- 1.5 C all purpose flour, plus more for kneading
- 2 T poppy seeds (plus more to sprinkle on top), optional
Ways to enjoy this bread:
- toasted and slathered with good, salted butter
- a delicately made grilled cheese
- toasted and then covered with your favorite preserve or spread
- as an egg in the hole toast
- dunked into a hearty soup
- toasted, buttered, and sprinkled liberally with cinnamon sugar* – this is my personal favorite preparation
- toasted, spread with a ripe avocado, sprinkled with salt and a squeeze of lemon
*Cinnamon Sugar is a pantry staple for me and can easily be made with 1 cup or granulated sugar mixed with 1 T cinnamon. Store in a jar or other airtight container for future use.
Listening to: Little Neon Limelight album by Houndmouth