Go into the kitchen. Slice a piece of the homemade bread you recently (last week?) defrosted, and pop it into the microwave for 20 seconds. If it's morning, swipe a little butter across and shake some cinnamon/sugar mixture, which you happen to keep in an empty spice/herb shaker that is labeled "Oregano." If it's evening, drizzle olive oil and pinch some salt. Neither routes are really necessary; the bread is delicious on its own. But it certainly feels indulgent, which we like. You deserve it.
I'm not a baker, or even a cook. My college roommate had a phase where she went through the Bread Bible, and while I enjoyed the outcomes (especially a fluffy buttermilk loaf), I never assisted. But if you've been around for at least a few months, you know I love challah. I helped bake 30-50 lbs of the stuff with a great group of gals for about 4 years, every Thursday. It's an admittedly less social activity on my own with a mere 2.5 lbs, but it still brings me great joy. Pumpkin challah, round challah, whatevs.
I follow Evan Halperin's blog The Carnivore and the Vegetarian (and here on Twitter), and you should too. Many of his recipes (wherever they may have originated) find their way into my Tags section on Google Reader---crockpot, pasta, meat, dinner, and of course bread.* <----that is the recipe!
The first time I followed his instructions exactly, which yielded tasty results that I shared with J, Mom & Dad, and a coworker who had a birthday. [Happy birthday! Here's a small loaf of bread. Is that weird?] Results are below:
This time, I used half whole wheat flour and half white flour. First I mixed the ingredients together with the paddle attachment (rather than dough hook) of my KitchenAid, only for a minute or so.
I covered it with plastic and let it rise for maybe more than 2 hours--I went to the gym, who can keep track?
When we got home I put it in the fridge, and the next evening, I took it out:
I now took it OUT of the fridge and shaped it into loaves, letting it sit an hour. Pre-heat the oven.
After an hour I cut some notches and put those babies in the oven.
Requisite coaster shot.
I sawed off an edge, tasted, and can now confirm that the whole wheat is also delicious. I baked it for about 29 minutes. I find that bread freezes well, and when you defrost and give a slice a quick zap or toast, it's (nearly) good as new. The moral of the story is: make Evan's bread. Eat it. Repeat.
*Alternative names for this post include "Semi-Organizing A Small Part Of Your Life Through Google Reader Tags." This could be a whole subculture of posts. I know who my most frequently tagged blogger is, but you don't...yet.