What a Saturday full of blessings! Saturday morning started with an early morning trip out to the chicken pen to feed the ladies. As always, Hattie (so named because of her beautiful black and brown feathers that would look gorgeous on a hat) flew up to meet me when I opened the door to the pen. I quickly threw the feed to the corner to keep from getting attacked by seven more hungry fowl. While the ladies were occupied, I grabbed the water dish and brought it outside to clean it. Since the ladies like to walk through the water dish, it was quite dirty. I returned it to the pen, and came back around and stuck the hose through the chicken wire into the water dish and turned it on.
That job done, I glanced up and saw that my husband had raked up several piles of pine straw, which I needed to add to my front flower garden. Might as well do it while I was thinking about it. I piled all the straw into my garden cart and started back to the house. As I passed the chicken pen, I realized I had forgotten to turn off the water, and of course, it had overflowed the dish, creating a mud bath even a pig would envy.
After finishing the front garden, I got cleaned up and got everything ready to make bread. I come from a long line of breadmakers and have several favorite recipes, including my grandmother's recipe that was passed down to my mother and then to my sister and me. I decided I would use the old Amish recipe for whole wheat bread that I have used many times since it turns out so well. I added the yeast to warm water and then began measuring out the honey and molassas to add to the rest of the water and butter. When I reached for the flour, I remembered I had forgotten to buy wheat flour (is there a trend here, or what?). Goodness gracious, I can't make whole wheat bread without whole wheat flour, and I can't make white bread with honey and molassas! Oh well, what did I have to lose? I continued the process using white flour and finally put the dough to bed, covering it snuggly to keep out any drafts.
Around noon, my two special, energetic granddaughters came over. The youngest, Lanie, was carried in by my daughter, fast asleep. Lillie (3 1/2 years old) followed but went straight to the "time-out" chair and sat down. Hmmm...what have I gotten myself into? After explaining the reason for the time-out (basically not minding Mommy), and sufficient time-out time passed, my daughter left to run some errands.
The rest of the afternoon went well, and finally it was time for the second feeding of the ladies. Lillie and Lanie love to feed the chickens with Grammy. They both climbed into the wagon, and I pulled them out to the pen. Since I had to gather the eggs this time, and both girls were barefooted, I gave them the cans of feed to throw through the chicken wire while I went in and got the eggs. Only six eggs, and after that nice mud bath! Oh well, I was still glad for the six. I sat the basket of eggs down just outside the pen door and joined the girls. As they enjoyed feeding and watching the chickens, I enjoyed watching the girls have fun. When time to return to the house and put the bread in the oven, I went to retrieve the eggs. I rounded the corner just in time to see my food-obsessed beagle, Buck, grab his second egg, break it, and eat it! At this rate, my farm-fresh yard eggs will only cost two bucks a piece.
Back at the house, I put the bread in the oven. The girls and I decided we would cook breakfast for supper to eat with the hot bread. Together we stirred up the day's egg harvest with a few added from yesterday. My husband and daughter both arrived just in time to enjoy the aroma of hot bread coming out of the oven. The "Wheatless Whole-Wheat" bread turned out wonderfully! We sat down to enjoy a supper of fresh yard-eggs, hot bread, and the company of our special grandchildren. What else could we want?
Amish Whole Wheat Bread
2 packages dry yeast 1/2 cup honey
4 cups warm water 2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, softened 6 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup molasses 4-5 cups white flour
Dissolve yeast in half of the warm water. Combine butter, molasses, honey, salt, and rest of the warm together in a sauce pan. Heat to lukewarm. Add yeast mixture and mix well. Pour liquid into a large mixing bowl with 2 cups of flour. Mix with electric mixer about 2 minutes (I added the electric mixer. The Amish do not use electricity). Add another 2 cups of flour, mixing well with mixer. Then continue adding remainder flour a cup at a time, mixing with a wooden spoon until you have a smooth dough. Turn onto a floured surface and knead for about 8-10 minutes. Place into greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Let rise until double. Punch down, cover, and let rise another hour or so. Punch down again. Divide dough into four sections. Let rest for about 10 minutes while you grease the pans. Shape dough into loaves and place into greased pans, turning once to grease tops. Prick loaves with a fork about 4 or 5 times to release any air bubbles. Cover and let rise about an hour. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes. I cover the loaves with little "tents" of foil the first 25 minutes to prevent the outside from browning too much.
Okay, by Monday evening the ladies had redeemed themselves!