If Mrs. Nye is an expert pie-maker, then Mr. Nye is a regular natural when it comes to bread. They both sold their goods (bread, pies, cookies and muffins) at the local farmers’ market for fifteen years…while they had kids. And a tiny kitchen. And no dishwasher. (How they managed, I will never know.)
Now both retired and spending most of their time in the bump-out that turned into a bigger kitchen sometime during those market years, the Nyes get to bake for fun.
Sometime last year, I spent a morning making pies with the missus, and I’ve been saying all summer that I wanted to bake bread with Mr. Nye…this girl still has much to learn! So, just days before school starts up again, we set our date.
We made his honey oatmeal bread that incorporated a mix of regular and whole-wheat flour. Things were a bit shaky to begin with–he hasn’t made bread in awhile and is one of those modest-types–but I assured him it’s like riding a bike. And sure enough, after only a few moments of nay-saying, Mr. Nye was back on his game and throwing ingredients into the mixer without even a glance at the recipe!
After a bit of kneading, we had a giant ball of dough ready for its first rise.
And barely 20 minutes later, it was ready! Four tablespoons of yeast and plenty of sugar will do that…
A quick knead before they were divided and shaped into loaves and popped into a warm oven for a second rise:
This recipe made four regular loaves (1.5 lbs.) and four mini loaves (.75 lbs.). Obviously, you can make any combination of sizes you’d like. And surprisingly, they were all risen and baked in the same amount of time (about 30 minutes) despite the difference in size. It must be a proportion thing…
After they came out, I spread all the tops with a little butter (it helps keep the crust soft longer) while they cooled. I tell you what, there isn’t much in this world better than a sweet-smelling kitchen.
And then we enjoyed!
I topped mind with a little butter a cinnamon, but this bread would be great alone or with just about anything. Its sweetness is slight enough for a tuna sandwich, yet equally good as toast with jam. And I was certainly impressed with how well the bread rose–mine always tend to fall, which I think is due to too little flour or over-rising. This recipe is definitely a keeper!
I had a great morning with a dear friend, and even after sharing some loaves with others, Andrew and I still have some to enjoy now, as well as two loaves in the freezer for later.