The Perfect Whole Wheat Bread //

In a culture of noise and constant information overload, my contributions sometimes feel small in comparison to what kind of impact I would like to be making. Would my life be more purpose filled if I had more money? Would my value as a woman expand if I was married? Or perhaps if I had a bumper sticker on my car from a child who is an honor student at their elementary school? Or if I was a home owner? If the numbers on my social media following were higher?

I play this game in my head sometimes, you see. I really do. I get stuck in the strap a comparison and sometimes I don’t know how to get out. And then I look myself in the mirror, or see a photo like this of me standing in my own little kitchen that I fought to provide for myself, and have to realize that somehow, someway I am already enough. The seemingly small steps that we walk in daily in dedication to ourselves — that is what moves mountains.

What my life has taught me so far is that I must hold everything so loosely. There has been so much transformation and change, and while the growing pains have been excruciating at times, I know it is leading me home to myself at the end of each day. And that is a gift. In this home, this sweet old kitchen of mine, I make fresh bread almost daily with my own two hands. The ability to create on a daily basis is something I will never take for granted.

PS when I made this bread for a friend of mine, she asked if she could pay me to deliver a loaf every week. It’s soft in the middle yet hearty and dense and would make the perfect addition to a winter soup.

What you need:

• 1 packet active dry yeast

• 1/2 tablespoon salt

• 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

• 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

• 2 cups whole wheat flour

• 1/4 cup rolled oats

• 2 tbsp ground flax seeds

What to do:

1. Combine the water, yeast, and salt in a large bowl and stir. Add the oats, flax, flour, and mix until it’s thoroughly combined. Dough will be quite loose. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the it rise for 2 hours.

2. Divide the dough in half. Shape the loaves however you’d like and place each shaped loaf on a parchment lined baking sheet and let it rise another 30-45 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

4. Place a broiler pan on the bottom rack of the oven. Slash the top of each loaf with a serrated knife three times. Sprinkle a little extra flour and oats on top. Pour one cup of hot water into the broiler pan and shut the oven quickly. Bake the bread for 20 minutes, or until the top is well browned. Let the bread cool completely before slicing.

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