Friday, February 5, 2010

Completely Beautiful Bread

Completely Beautiful Bread  
I have made bread a bunch over the course of growing up and have had mixed results. Lately I have been trying different ways of making bread, most of which consisted of dumping my ingredients n my bread machine, turning on the dough cycle, removing the dough, kneading and forming a loaf, and then baking in a hot oven. Good breads have come from this, but I had a desire to make some loaves all at once instead of one at a time and to use freshly ground flour from the hard white wheat I have stored for emergencies. No time like the present to accomplish my goals! So today, I went into my storage area and wrestled the lid off of the bucket of hard white wheat, got out about ten pounds and took it upstairs to run through the donated Magic Mill to make flour. First off, the people who sealed that bucket did not want the lid to be easily removed. I had stupidly left the bucket in a comprised situation on the exterior of my house and even though the outside of the bucket was dirty from having got wet, the inside was completely clean. Good to know. Please store your grain more responsibly in a cool, dark, dry location. Also, hard WHITE wheat cooks up like hard RED wheat in theory, but truthfully acts more like regular bleached Bread flour. I was able to make 100% whole wheat bread that was light and even fluffy with none of the hardness and coarseness I usually find in whole wheat bread.
Soft whole wheat bread recipe

2 cups of very warm water
3 tablespoons of yeast
1/4 cup brown sugar
Mix together in a one quart or larger bowl. Set aside.
3 cups of freshly ground whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon of salt
1/4 cup of brown sugar
Mix together in a bowl big enough to hold your one year old. J/K The bowl was a bigger stainless steel one that is about 16 inches in diameter and probably holds two gallons of water, easy.
Add the bubbling yeast mixture. Stir to make a wonderful thing called batter. This batter is why this recipe totally is the best one I have ever made! Let the batter sit and rise for about twenty minutes. Don't do what I did and leave your fork in it. That was dumb on my part because I had to fish it out from all the bubbly batter.
Now, add about 3 more cups of flour to the batter. This addition will make it look like all the moisture has been absorbed. If you really rock, you will have done all this stirring and stuff in a Kitchenaid mixer and the next step is even more simple: Stir all the flour into the batter to make the dough and knead for five to ten minutes. I used my hands and got them really covered in the dough. It is fun. Now, oil the bowl liberally, place the kneaded dough back inside, flip over to coat the dough with the oil, cover the bowl and let rise for 45 minutes to an hour in a warm place. After the dough has risen double or even triple in size(literally, mine filled the bowl that I was describing earlier), turn it out on a clean surface, like a counter. Now knead. Pretend the dough is one of your kids, spank it, punch it a few times. Work it over and make it bend to your will. After you get your aggression out on the dough, you will have kneaded it for about ten minutes. You are welcome to knead it less, but I cation, do not add more flour. With the dough having been oiled and kneaded before, it should resist sticking to the surface and the addition of more flour will make it very heavy and stiff. Divide the bread in half, place each half into a well oiled 9 by 5 inch bread pan and let rise in a warm place. I put mine over the oven as I preheated it to 350 degrees F. Let rise until about doubled(this was about 20 minutes), then place in the oven for 30-35 minutes. The resulting bread should be softer than you expect so don't do something lame like pounding on the top of the loaf to check if it is done. What you can do, if you have doubts about what your nose and eyes are telling you is an amazing loaf of bread, is to measure the interior of the loaf with a meat thermometer. Please be sure it is clean and not crusted with the remains of your last steak or Thanksgiving turkey. It should read 205 to 210 degrees F.
Eat and enjoy with lots of butter or apple butter or apple plum butter or pumpkin butter that you previously canned. Also makes great sandwiches and remember, this bread will be softer than most breads baked at home. It should still have a great crust, but be careful when cutting it or it will smash like the bread from the supermarket. 

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