Increase the happiness in your home today: bake bread!

Here are a few batches of bread on Farmer's Market day last summer.  Doesn't it make you happy just looking at them?

Here are a few batches of bread on Farmer’s Market day last summer. Doesn’t it make you happy just looking at them? Of course it does!

Hey, what do you think about this?

Researchers have proved that the smell of bread baking actually will make strangers behave in a kinder manner towards each other.

Scientists actually did research on this issue! They found that shoppers were more likely to act in a kind manner if, at the time, they were also passing a bakery giving off the mouth-watering aroma of freshly-baked bread. As a control, they planted the same situation near a clothing store and found that the incidents of kindness were much less there.

These findings, published in the Journal of Social Psychology, suggest certain smells trigger a positive mood that leads to a greater degree of altruism, or unconditional concern for the welfare of others.  You can read more about the study right here.

Several studies have already shown how pleasant smells can make us feel happier. But the psychologists behind this latest experiment wanted to see whether this translates into something more tangible, such as a being more kind and considerate towards strangers.

And to this here Mama-who is feeling that winter’s getting a little long in the tooth, and whose kids are starting to act like they feel the same way–the best strategy for today, to increase general good feelings and kindness toward each other, may be just simply to bake some bread. 

It might be a simple fix, for today, don’t you think? Hot bread, butter, maybe some hot chocolate? Smiles all around!

I’ll share one of my favorite (and easy!) bread recipes with you, and maybe you’ll be inspired to increase the happiness and altruism in your home, too! My Chicago Wheat Bread is a lighter wheat bread and is easy to mix up, and is perfect to make into toast or sandwiches. Yum. 🙂

Chicago Wheat Bread

Recipe Type: Bread!
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 loaves
This light, fluffy bread is great for families who may be trying to transition from white to whole wheat. Try to find white whole wheat flour, and it will be lighter still.
  • 4 cups unbleached white flour
  • 6 to 8 cups whole wheat flour (white whole wheat, preferably)
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 2 Tb dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup high-gluten flour
  • 4 cups warm water
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/3 cup sugar or honey
  • 1 Tb salt
  1. Place white flour, yeast, wheat germ, and gluten flour in mixer bowl with kneading arm.
  2. Add water and mix well.
  3. Turn off mixer, cover bowl, let sponge for 15 minutes.
  4. Add oil, sugar, and salt.
  5. Turn on mixer and add whole wheat flour, 1 cup at a time, until dough forms a ball and cleans the side of the bowl.
  6. Knead in mixer or by hand for 5 to 6 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 150 degrees.
  8. Lightly oil hands, and divide dough into four equal portions, and form into loaves.
  9. Please in greased bread pans and turn off oven.
  10. Place bread in oven and let rise until double–20 to 25 minutes.
  11. Leave bread in oven; turn heat to 350. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until loaves are golden brown and there is a high level of altruism in your home. Remove from pans and let cool on wire racks. Have soft butter ready!

Here’s the deal, my Gentle Reader: the world is full of disappointments and perplexing problems, and your life may be, too, from time to time. If something as simple as baking a batch of bread can make your friends and family happier, then . . . why not? Happy, happy baking!

I’ll give you a virtual *hug* if you’d share this post with your friends!

*hugs* and thank you!




33 thoughts on “Increase the happiness in your home today: bake bread!

  1. laura

    I love the idea of home made bread for so many reasons! The smells do bring me back to basics ~ and remind me of walking into my grandmother’s kitchen. (I wonder how many of the kids today will have this type of memory!) I also like baking bread for the kneading aspect (could be the old massage therapist in me 😉 and the therapeutic results you achieve from that.
    Can’t wait to try the recipe!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Thanks for your comments, Laura. I’d love to hear if you made this bread, and how it turned out. I agree that kneading bread can be very therapeutic!

  2. Leslie Jeansonne

    You had me at bread. My weakness. Remember the old cartoon characters that would float in the air when they smelled something baking, that’s me with fresh baked bread. When I was growing up, we couldn’t afford store bought bread. Mom would bake fresh bread everyday. Can you imagine? Thanks so much for bringing back great memories.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Leslie, I LOVE that picture of the cartoon character floating in joy. I think it was Marc Chagall that also painted a picture of himself floating above his lover’s head, in joy….yeah….that’s how bread baking makes me feel! Thanks for your comments.

  3. Jen Bajackson, LGPC

    Wow, this is real baked bread – not the bread machine kind. I remember how good the house smelled when my mother would bake her breads. Especially the cinnamon raisin bread! If it was a particular lucky day, I would awake from my afternoon nap to the smell of cinnamon. She would toast a slice, spread on some butter, and give me a glass of milk. What a treat. Thanks for taking me down memory lane today.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Yes! “Real baked bread” is not that hard to make, if you have a good recipe! I love hearing about your memories. I suppose that’s partly why I bake bread regularly today, because my Mom treated us to homemade bread often, when I was growing up. Precious memories!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Oh, that does sound good, Chef. So I’ve got to know–did you make bread yesterday? If so, how did it turn out? And did it make your wife smile?

  4. The Great Gordino

    Hi Amy,
    As I read the post, I *imagined* the smell of baked bread, and you know what? I reckon even thinking of the smell has an effect in the same way!
    Hmm, I can feel an article idea for myself there! (possible bread making, although I wouldn’t hold your breath – I couldn’t see any chocolate in the recipe!)
    Cheers, Gordon

  5. Susan Evans

    I used to bake bread all the time. Now that I have less energy and more to do, it’s harder to think ahead and get fresh bread started in the morning. I agree that the smell of fresh bread is amazing!

  6. Alana (@RamblinGarden)

    When I was a teen I got into baking bread – this was in the late 1960s when people just didn’t do that. I so remember the first two loaves I ever baked. The smell was unbelievable and I devoured one of the loaves, all by myself, before it had even cooled. Then, after I got into baking bread, my future husband learned from me and took over the baking. For many years now we’ve used white wheat flour from King Arthur. Neither of us has baked bread in many months. We do it so rarely. Shame on us! Kneading dough is one of the best stress relief therapies!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Baking bread should help with the cabin fever! And it’ll give you something to do when and if you get snowed in! Smile.

  7. Carolina HeartStrings

    Of all the smells that I have positive associations with bread is for certain the tops! Can smell it now. Remember mom making fresh bread and tearing into the soft, warm insides. (much to her disapproval….) And peanut butter turning runny from the heat of a fresh slice… and…

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Ohhh, get it out and use it! I’ve always wanted one but have never gotten one. That seems like pure luxury: load it up at bedtime, program it and have hot bread for breakfast!

  8. CJ

    I live to bake bread. I have many hobbies, but bread baking is something that never fails to fill my day with peace and happiness.
    I started grinding my own grains a few years ago and that added such a wonderful freshness to my whole grain loaves!
    But sourdough is my true passion… I am totally fascinated with it!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Would you possibly share your sourdough bread recipe with me? That is a bread that I’d love to make, but I’ve never found a recipe that I really liked.

      1. CJ

        Sure! It’s the easiest thing in the world to make.
        I’m lousy with math, so I can’t tell you what hydration percent my culture is. I feed it by weight, so if I feel 100 grams of culture, I add 100 grams of each water and flour.

        Sourdough bread
        1 cup of fully active sourdough culture
        2 teaspoons Kosher salt
        3 cups King Arthur bread flour
        1/2 cup King Arthur Harvest Grains Blend (optional)
        1 1/2 cups water

        Whisk the flour, salt and grains blend (if using) together, the stir in the sourdough culture and the water with a dough whisk.

        Do 3 or 4 stretch and folds, then place in a bowl (I don’t oil) and cover with plastic wrap. Leave it on the counter overnight or about 12 hours, then gently shape and proof for another 2-3 hours.

        Preheat a dutch oven (clay or cast iron) in the oven at 475 degrees.

        Flip your dough into the hot dutch oven and slash the top. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake approximately 10 minutes more, or until the bread is a deep golden brown.

        I proof my dough after shaping in a cloth line banneton. If omitting the Harvest grain blend, you may need to reduce the water slightly.

  9. Nathana Clay (

    I tried making a homemade bread recipe last night (it turned out great the first time–1.5 hours total, soft, great for sandwiches), but something went awry this time . . . so I turned it into decent garlic dinner rolls. 🙂 I look forward to trying this recipe in the near future. My husband is picky about his homemade breads, especially wheat bread. He does not like overly heavy breads. He really is not a big carb guy–more for me! Thanks for sharing!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Nathana, just keep making it. There are things that experience can teach you that no blog post or recipe book can. Just keep baking bread–one day Mitch will be singing the praises of your gorgeous breads!

  10. Pingback: 11 Simple Ways to Make Your Day Better (Even When You Have a Headache) - Second Breakfast

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