Because homemade bread is a lot of work, right? At least it's supposed to be... And it takes hours of work, right? At least it's supposed to...
But I have to admit that since I found this recipe, we've had more homemade bread with our suppers than we have since my writing career started (writing=time consuming=very little bread baking). I've made it several times this winter, and it's time to share it with you.
The key is to use your Instant Pot to let the bread rise. You don't have an Instant Pot? No problem! Just let the dough rise in a warm place. It might take a little longer, but it will still be good.
It's one of my hubby's favorite treats - and perfect to eat with a bowl of homemade soup!
Whole Wheat Crusty Bread
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup other grains or seeds of your choice (I've used millet, ground flax seed, or more oatmeal with good results every time)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon instant yeast
1 1/2 cups room temperature - lukewarm water
baking parchment paper
In a medium bowl mix together the flours, oats, grains and/or seeds of your choice, salt and yeast. Add the water and mix well, using your hands if necessary. Turn the dough onto a floured board and knead for a few minutes, adding more flour as needed to keep it from being too sticky.
Form the dough into a ball, place it on a square of parchment paper, and put it in your Instant Pot.
Secure the Instant Pot lid, press the yogurt setting button, adjust the setting to low, then adjust the time to 4:30. When it beeps, you know the cycle has begun.
After four hours, the dough should be risen slightly. Quickly form the dough into a ball again, place it on a new sheet of parchment paper, and put it back in the Instant Pot for the remaining thirty minutes.
Meanwhile, set a 6 to 8 quart cast iron pot in your oven with the lid on. Preheat the oven to 450°.
At the end of thirty minutes, carefully remove the lid from the cast iron pot (it will be very hot). Then gently lift the bread dough from the Instant Pot, holding the parchment paper by the corners to cradle it. Set the dough in the cast iron pot, paper and all, and replace the lid.
Bake the bread in the 450° oven for 30 minutes. Then remove the lid and bake the bread for 15 minutes more.
Remove the bread from the pan and let it cool on a rack. (Remember that the pot is still very hot - if you leave the bread in it, it will continue to bake.)
Let it cool, then slice and enjoy!
And now it's time to make some treats for the dogs.
Friday was Thatcher's fifth birthday. That's a big number! A lot has happened in five years, so I decided to celebrate the occasion with homemade doggy treats.
Peanut Butter, Banana, and Oatmeal Dog Cookies
1/3 cup peanut butter (preferably natural - and make sure it isn't sweetened with xylitol, which is toxic to dogs)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 mashed banana (about 1/2 cup)
Preheat the oven to 300°.
Drop balls of dough onto a cookie sheet (about the size of an acorn), then flatten the balls with a fork dipped in flour.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the edges are beginning to brown.
Store most of the cookies in the freezer, keeping only enough for a day or two in a container at room temperature.
I knew Thatcher would like these cookies, but how much?
Let's try the first piece:
Yes, he's willing to try it (after all, it will fit in his mouth!)
Hmm. Pretty good.
Gimme another one! This is wild-eyed crazy good!
Then Wynter noticed what was going on...
Nom. Nom. Nom.
I didn't want to overdo a good thing, so I put most of the treats in the freezer, and left one on the counter to give to the dogs in the morning.
But all evening, Wynter wouldn't leave us alone. She paced. She whined. She barked. She moaned. Finally, she went to sleep.
Then first thing in the morning, there she was, in the kitchen, her nose pointed at the counter. She wanted that last cookie!
I think they were a hit!
Do you like to make treats for your family as much as I do?
Jan Drexler lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband and growing family. When she isn't writing, she loves hiking in the Hills or satisfying her cross stitch addiction.
You can find Jan on Facebook, Jan Drexler, author, or her website, Jan Drexler.com.