Two then one then homemade bread

Date: March 25, 2012

Distance: 10 miles

Time: 2:12:47

Today was spring-fever inducing with 70-degree temps and sunshine–a perfect day to run outside. Today’s route took me from my house, past a golf course, the zoo, and part way up Emigration Canyon. Several others were also out enjoying the great weather and I saw lots of bicyclists, walkers, and other runners along my route. Another sure sign of spring? Lots of motorcyclists as well. Can’t wait to get my scooter out.

This was my first long run since the New Orleans race, and it felt pretty good–especially since I didn’t push myself too hard. I ran slowly for the first three miles and then, prompted in part by the uphill climb and in part by my still-healing foot, I decided to run for two songs and then walk for one. I repeated that pattern until I got to mile nine and then walked the last mile. That seemed to work out pretty well.

One way to make sure you don’t cut your run short is to make it an out-and-back. Since I ran out for five miles, I had no other choice but to complete the remaining five to get back home! My other incentive to get back home was the fresh-baked bread that I knew was waiting for me. That, along with a chocolate protein drink was a great post-run snack.

allrecipes.com

I started baking bread a couple of months ago–about the same time I started buying fruits and veggies from the Bountiful Baskets Co-op and started getting milk delivery from a local dairy. Not only am I saving money with the bread making and the food co-op, but I feel like I’m providing my family with higher quality foods and I like supporting local growers. My teenagers are drinking a lot more milk and virtually no soda (yay), and we are all eating lots more fruits and vegetables. Overall, we are also eating far fewer processed foods.

Baking my own bread is one way to avoid processed foods and chemicals, but it also connects me with the generations of people before me who baked their own breads. I like that. Plus, is there anything better than warm bread fresh out of the oven? No way.

If you are also interested in baking your own bread, here are two recipes I recommend.

No-Knead Bread This first one requires planning ahead since the bread has to rise 14-20 hours, but it’s probably the easiest bread you’ll ever make. Click here for the recipe. You’ll get a round, crusty loaf, that is soft in the middle. My family likes this bread with soups and pasta dishes and it’s easy to adjust–sometimes we substitute some of the regular salt with garlic salt and add rosemary. So yummy.

Oatmeal Bread This is the bread I baked today and I think it will be my go-to standard. I started by finding this recipe online, but adjusted it a bit since I didn’t use a bread machine.

Mix dry ingredients and set aside:

3 C. bread flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 cup of rolled oats

Mix these ingredients and let sit for about five minutes to give the yeast time to act:

1-1/4 C. warm water, 2 tablespoons of soft or melted butter, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar (or honey), 1-1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and then knead on a lightly-floured surface for ten (10) minutes. 

Cover with warm, wet towel until doubled in size (about an hour).

Punch down and put into a greased loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise (about 40 minutes).

Bake in greased loaf pan at 350-degrees for 35 minutes.

The results were great. We also like whole wheat bread so next time I think I’ll use half bread flour and half whole wheat flour to see how that turns out.

Happy running and baking!

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Update: The oatmeal bread is also great with 1 C. of bread flour and 2 C. of whole wheat flour. Today I also added wheat germ and flax seed to give it a bit more texture. Definitely a recipe that can be tweaked, depending on what you have in your kitchen and what you like.

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