With the launch to the holiday season officially behind us it is time to get down to business. For the last month I have ignored all displays of Christmas celebration because I just wanted to have November for once. Going straight from Halloween to Christmas stresses me out. It’s bad enough that every retailer in the western hemisphere does it, but this year I noticed that all of the average citizens seem to have bought into the notion that the Christmas season starts on November 1st and I don’t like it one bit.
I didn’t even take down my Halloween decorations until the second week in November, meanwhile my neighbors have been hanging Christmas lights since the day after good ol’ All Hallow’s Eve. I have been turning my head all full of disdain thinking that all these poor saps got suckered into a MAJOR marketing ploy and they are none the wiser. Well I wasn’t having it.
I almost got sucked in at Lowe’s a couple weeks ago. I thought I was going to buy pansies and potting soil– very fall-ish, right? Except in order to get to the pansies and potting soil we had to make our way through a fantastical maze of Christmas display all full of sparkly lights and snowmen and ornaments and wreaths… it’s a really good thing I don’t have a Lowe’s credit card. I had to muster the will to walk on by because dang it we can’t decorate for Christmas until AFTER Thanksgiving, and I’m sticking to my guns on that one.
But today is the day.
Yesterday was all about breaking bread with family and giving thanks for all the blessings in our lives.
Today is all about the best leftovers of the year, turkey soup, gimantico discounts, and Christmas decorations! And when you make your turkey soup and survey all your purchases and decide whether or not you should put tinsel on your mailbox, enjoy a loaf of this easy whole wheat bread– continue the bread making and breaking for at least the next 31 days.
Sift together bread flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
Cut in butter until the mixture is crumbly.
Make a little well in the middle of your flour/butter mixture and add olive oil and sour milk. You can use buttermilk, but I never have that, so I discovered a really great trick at http://www.joyofbaking.com/IngredientSubstitution.html. Use a liquid measuring cup and pour in 2 tablespoons of vinegar (white or cider) and then fill it to the 2 cup mark with whatever milk you have in the fridge. If you let it stand for 5 or 10 minutes you will have the equivalent of buttermilk without running to the grocery store.
Stir until the dry mixture is completely moistened and then turn onto a floured surface. I will warn you– this is by far the stickiest bread dough I have ever worked with so flour your hands WELL . I would also recommend using a cutting board as your kneading surface. It will make for much easier clean up because the dough is so sticky.
Gently knead for only about a minute and then place the dough in a greased round cake pan.
Shape the dough so that it’s round. I pressed a little cross shape into the top with my fingers. Then bake at 400 for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375, turn the pan in the oven, and bake for another 30 minutes. Let it cool for a few minutes before turning out of the pan to serve.
Whole Wheat Round Loaf
2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 cups buttermilk (or 2 tablespoons vinegar in a liquid measuring cup-white or cider vinegar- and then fill the rest of the way up with milk up to the 2 cup mark)
1/4 cup olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400 and spray a round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Sift together the whole wheat flour, bread flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar. Cut in the butter. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and pour in the soured milk and oil. Stir until the dry mixture is completely moistened and then turn onto a floured surface and knead for about a minute. Place dough into prepared pan and shape into a round. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce the heat to 375 and turn the pan. Continue baking for 30 more minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes before cutting to serve.