A Book, A Bike Ride, and Four Loaves of Bread

It is the beginning of the busy season at my place of employment and today is/was my only day off this week, sandwiched between a series of busy and stressful days. But as usual–being the doer that I am–I had a series of things that I planned on accomplishing today. My man-cave is in desperate need of cleaning, I need groceries, laundry needs to be done, and I had an appointment to keep. To make a long story short, I didn’t do any of those things…I needed a break–a sort of personal retreat day–so instead I did what I wanted to do; things that would nourish me. I canceled my appointment and hopped on a bike. I took the bike on the subway to shorten the trip a suburban bookstore (the bike is pictured above on the subway platform). The suburban bike ride was not my most pleasant ride but I still enjoyed it. But before I left I started two batches of bread; sourdough and oatmeal (actually the sourdough was started last night). I also stopped for lunch and coffee and read a little of my new book. Later, after the breads were baked I took my dogs for a walk around the neighborhood. I had a sandwich for dinner (pictured below: caramelized vegetable frittata with kimchi on still-warm sourdough) and am currently sipping a glass of wine. While I still did a lot and seemed to accomplish a lot, they were things that I wanted to do–what I find enjoyable–and I have to remember that sometimes that is the most important thing. The chores, work, and appointments will still be there tomorrow, but sometimes I really have to remember to take care of myself first. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a movie to watch.

WholeWheat Honey-Oatmeal Bread
Makes2 loaves
6cups whole wheat flour, divided
21/4 cups water, divided
1cup oatmeal, plus additional for coating
1cup plain yogurt
2teaspoons kosher salt
1/4cup olive oil
1/4cup honey
3teaspoons instant yeast, divided

Separatethe ingredients in two bowls using this ratio: In one bowl combine 4cups of flour, 1 1/4 cups water, along with all of the yogurt andsalt. Stir it just until combined; cover with plastic wrap and setaside. In a second bowl, combine the remaining 2 cups flour and 1 cupwater with 1 cup oatmeal, the olive oil, honey, and 2 teaspoons ofyeast. Stir it just until combined; cover with plastic wrap and setaside. Allow the bowls to rest for at least an hour, but up to 12.

Addthe remaining teaspoon yeast and the contents of both bowls to anupright electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Knead the dough onmedium speed for about 8 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap andallow to rise for one hour.

Transferthe dough to a work surface, cut it into two pieces, gently shape itinto loaves. Dust the counter with extra oatmeal and roll the loavesin it, gently pressing oatmeal into the surface of the raw dough.Place the loaves into oiled loaf pans, cover with plastic wrap, andallow to rise for 45 minutes. Preheat an oven to 400F.

Bakethe bread for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown and soundshollow when tapped on. Remove the bread from their pans and allow tocool for 10 minutes before slicing.

2 thoughts on “A Book, A Bike Ride, and Four Loaves of Bread

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