this was also the time we began homeschooling the girls. i took direction from their natural zest for learning about everything around them & began to call upon folks who lived in our area. we visited a sheep farm run by a woman who also spun, dyed & wove her own wools into the most beautiful creations. we visited a goat farm to learn about the care of the animals, their milking & the making of goat cheese (yum!). we visited & rode at a newly established horse farm. & finally, we went across the country road to ask the dairy farmer if we could visit there too.
the wonderful family working the farm graciously offered my children & i a "field trip" that changed our entire stay in that area. B. & her husband were a young amish couple with children the same ages as our children. over the year & a half that we lived there, B. & i forged a friendship that i hold so dear in my heart. we shared work, errands, children's play times, meals, & some sad times. i learned more about cooking & baking & preserving in that short time than i did in all the years preceding.
as our lives change, B. & i remain in touch the old-fashioned way...letters & a very occasional visit when i return to PA. & i think of her every time i use one of her delicious recipes...
the very favorite thing i learned to make in B.'s kitchen was whole wheat bread.kneading this bread is a very tangible connection to the countless women before me who have done the very same thing. the rhythm of kneading calms my spirit. the baking of this bread is warms the heart & soul of all nearby...certainly it is the aroma of heaven, or at the very least, heaven's kitchen! the children, still to this day, cannot wait to slice & butter a piece of it. if only i could post the aroma for you to enjoy. but for what's cooking wednesday, the recipe will have to do...
whole wheat bread
in a large bowl mix together 3-1/2 c. warm water, 2 T. yeast, 1/2 c. olive oil, & 1/2 c. honey, let this mix set for 15 minutes to form a sponge
after 15 minutes, add 1 egg (beaten) & 1 T. salt to the sponge, mixing well
then add approx. 7-8 c. whole wheat flour to the mix...turn onto a floured board & knead for approx. 5 minutes
place dough in a large greased bowl & let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes
after 30 minutes punch the dough down & let rise 30 more minutes.
grease 2 large & 3 small baking pans...add dough to each pan & let rise one more time (15-30 minutes)bake at 350 for approx. 30 minutes...cool on racks...slice as soon as possible & slather with butter!