Want to feel like a woman-hero of our times?
Bake bread for your family. Put that steaming, golden brown loaf on your counter and no matter what didn’t get crossed off your to-do list, you will feel like you accomplished something huge today.
That does it for me, at least.
The “Proverbs 31” woman is my goal, but pretty much every day (okay, every day!) I fall miserably short of that example placed before me. So it helps when I can look back on my week and think, “Well, but I did bake that bread that the Little Guy is still gobbling up today.”
You don’t bake bread, you say? Well, neither did I, until that fateful day a few months ago when I was feeling quite Betty Homemaker-ish, and whipped up a loaf. The rest was history. The Little Guy was absolutely hooked, and I am not one to deprive him of a wholesome food he enjoys.
Honey Oat Bread has become a staple of the Little Guy’s diet. I feel just fine that he has a slice a day, because I know exactly what comprises this bread: good, simple ingredients! No preservatives. No sugar or syrup. No oils. No food dyes.
Being a homemade bread, it’s pretty dense, so after eating one good, 1/2″ slice, I am set for the morning. The bread has just a bit of sweetness, from the honey, and the whole-wheat flour lends great nuttiness.
At first I used a cute little yellow clay bread baker, but it resulted in these weird, billowy mushroom-shaped loaves that were hard to slice.
I switched to a Nordic Ware loaf pan (measures about 4.5″ wide x 8″ long x 2.5″ high). The loaves are flat, but they are uniform!
Check it out.
Honey Oat Bread
makes 1 loaf
1 c boiling water
1/2 c oats
1/4 c honey
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp salt
1/2 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast (aka, 1 1/8 teaspoons)
1/4 c warm water (110 degrees F)
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour (I use white whole wheat)
In a large bowl, combine the boiling water, oats, honey, butter and salt. Let stand for 1 hour. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water, letting stand for 10 minutes.
Pour the yeast mixture into the oat mixture. Add the flour, one cup at a time; mix well. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 20 minutes (or the whole process takes about 5 minutes if you use a stand mixer!). Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Form a log and place in the greased loaf pan. Cover with damp cloth and let rise 45 minutes.
Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes, until lightly golden brown. When you tap it, it should sound hollow. Let cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove to wire rack to let cool completely. Store in tightly sealed container, in refrigerator.
Never heard of Proverbs 31?
Here ya go… straight from my Bible, the English Standard Version translation. What a beautiful, inspiring, convicting picture of a woman in her element – fearing God, loving and serving her family, working hard, speaking wisdom and caring for the needy. She sacrifices her time and energy joyfully, knowing her actions honor her Lord and benefit her husband, children and the people she helps.
Proverbs 31: 10-31
An excellent wife who can find? She is more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.
“Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.