Baking Bread: Recipes and Memories from One of Lehman’s Own

Editor’s Note: Lehman’s “Solutions for A Simpler Life” podcast is back! Today we’re sharing with you a sneak peek of an interview with Lehman’s very own, Jeremiah. He is sharing with us his love of bread baking and even a couple of his favorite bread recipes. Enjoy!

One of Jeremiah’s earliest memories is standing on a chair at the kitchen counter, cracking eggs into a bowl.  As a child, Jeremiah’s family was Amish and it is a tradition that an Amish girl will come to the house after a baby is born, to help with cooking and cleaning.  Jeremiah was helping her make dinner (“We might have been making bread, but I really can’t say for sure,”) and thus starting his love of creating in the kitchen.

Ironically, since he grew up without electricity, today Jeremiah manages the IT at Lehman’s as the Network Administrator. “I went from no tech to high tech,” he said with a laugh.  “It’s nice when I can get away from the computer and work with my hands, which is one of the reasons I am a DIY-er.  I will see something and think, I can make that myself!  I enjoy gardening, baking and canning.” 

When he was in high school, he spent two summers working in a local bakery.  “I remember specifically weighing out and then shaping the loaves of bread, putting them in the pans to rise and slicing and packaging the bread for sale,” he recalled.  “I definitely picked up a lot of baking tips working there.  It was after we were married that I started baking bread and rolls at home.

Homemade bread and rolls from the oven
Homemade bread and rolls made by Jeremiah

A father of three school-aged children, Jeremiah also likes to get his family involved in the kitchen.   “I try to teach them as we work together.  I don’t typically measure out the flour because I go by touch – I teach them how the bread should feel – not too sticky but not too dry.”

For the beginning baker, Jeremiah offers this advice. Start with a simple bread recipe and have some successes.  I always start with yeast and warm water, not too hot but not too cold, and then add flour.  Remember, you have to give it time to rise.  After you are comfortable with the process, you can move into dessert rolls and more complicated recipes.”

It’s also important to use the freshest of ingredients, including grinding your own grain.

Grinding grain with Lehman's grain mill
Find a great selection of grain mills at Lehmans.com or in Lehman’s store in Kidron, Ohio.

It takes some time, because you have to let the bread rise and you want to make sure it is delicious.  “It is so satisfying to make bread and then eat the warm bread, right out of the oven,” he said. 

“When I am making bread to take somewhere, the kids will smell it and come into the kitchen and ask for the end pieces, even though they don’t like the end pieces of store-bought bread.”

Jeremiah also makes his own jam from strawberries he grows in his backyard.  That’s his favorite carry-in offering and here at Lehman’s, we have been the lucky recipients of his baking skills!

Here are some of Jeremiah’s favorite bread recipes:

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Italian Bread

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 Tbsp Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • 56 cups flour

Instructions

  1. Mix water with sugar and yeast. Let mixture sit 5 minutes or until foamy.
  2. With dough hook attachment mix in salt, oil, and 3 cups flour for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add an additional 2 cups flour and continue to mix for another 2 minutes. Dough should be tacky and pull off the sides of the bowl when mixing. If needed add additional flour ¼ cup at a time. Leave the dough in the mixer bowl but cover loosely with kitchen towel for 10 minutes and let it rest.
  4. Turn on mixer and let it mix for about 5-10 seconds. Continue this mix, rest cycle an additional 5 times which should take 1 hour total.
  5. Divide two into 2 equal pieces and form into two long loaves (We use a French bread pan – these can be baked directly on a baking sheet).
  6. Cover loosely with kitchen towel and let rise in warm area until about doubled. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.
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Soft Pretzels

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 ounces butter melted
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • Kosher/Pretzel Salt

Instructions

  • Mix water with sugar and yeast. Let mixture sit 5 minutes or until foamy.
  • With dough hook attachment mix in salt, butter, and flour. Mix until well combined (4-5 minutes). Dough should be smooth and pull away from side of mixing bowl. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • In a large pot bring 8 cups water and ¼ baking soda to a boil. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll dough pieces into long rope (about 24 inches) and then cross ends and twist and fold to make classic pretzel shape.
  • Boil pretzels in soda water for about 30 seconds and then remove and place onto greased baking sheet. Top with salt and then bake in oven for 10-12 minutes or golden brown.

You can listen to Jeremiah’s full interview on our podcast.

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L K
L K
23 days ago

Wish he had shared some fresh milled flour recipe options! I get that many folks are used to store bought flour, but learning new things is a good thing!

Lehman's
Lehman's
Admin
Reply to  L K
16 days ago

We couldn’t agree more, L K! Milling your own grain is so satisfying.

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