Flaxseed-infused pancakes were on the kids' breakfast menu at our house this morning. Erring on the side of caution, we decided it would probably be best if we stuck close to home (and our bathroom) today. Days spent at home are usually my favorites. Everyone is calm and relaxed and I can usually get a lot done around the house. One of my favorite activities on homebound days is baking bread.
It took me a very long time to find baking methods and recipes that lived up to really good bakery bread. I love good bread and I am usually willing to pay for it. I'll take a loaf of Zingerman's bread over a manicure or a new outfit any day. However, budgets being what they are, even I must pass up the eight buck loaf on occasion. Over the years, I have tried lots of scratch bread recipes and mixes and have owned and given away two different bread machines. Everything just fell short of my expectations. Then, last year, I discovered James Beard's Beard on Bread. If I could only have one cookbook in my kitchen, this just might be it. Everything I have made, from the first loaf on the first day, has been outstanding. If you have an oven and the slightest motivation to use it, you NEED this book.
This morning, we decided to try the challah recipe. I love challah! It is probably one of my favorite breads; but, until today, I had never made it at home. The recipe was really pretty simple. Other than some eggs (Thanks, Chickens!), a little sugar and poppy seeds, it was not remarkably different from most other bread recipes. I mixed the dough up early this morning, while the kids were still able to occupy themselves. I let the dough raise for a few hours while we played. Before lunch, I punched down my dough, made my braids, and formed two nice large loafs. They rose through the afternoon, while Addie napped and we finished Aidan's school work. Forty minutes in the oven and they came out looking beautiful. I even snuck a shower in while they were baking!
I am really happy with the results and hope they taste as delicious as they look! I haven't had a chance to taste it yet. I have been pretty busy taking care of the kids today -maybe I'll cut it down to a half tablespoon of flaxseed tomorrow!