Monday, March 23, 2009

Me to You

I am going to write down my current bread recipe of choice here, if anyone is interested in using it. Its toasting well which was the big requirement from the family (my other breads were not toast friendly). I am saving quite a bit nowadays by baking my own bread and I make 3 loaves at a time. You will need a stand mixer or food processor with mixing blades and dough hooks (or very strong arms), 3 loaf pans, a BIG bowl for the rising (or oven roaster pan, or large slow cooker insert).

In the bowl of your mixer, place 1 cup warm water, 1 Tbsp sugar (stir it til dissolved), and 4 tsp traditional yeast. Let sit to do its thing for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, take another cup of hot water and melt a couple tablespoons of butter in it. When its melted then you can add a couple of eggs and beat it all together.
When the yeast is proofed, add your egg mix and start the mixer with the mixing blades (or start beating it yourself or with a hand mixer for now). Add 2 tsp salt, and another tablespoon or so of sugar. Keep beating. Now start adding your flours of choice. I use about 50/50 white and whole wheat (or a little more whole wheat...) and a heaping Tbsp of ground flaxseed. Add the dry ingredients a little at a time, beating it in well. When its getting stiff and hard to mix, switch to the dough hooks...if you are mixing by hand you will want to start kneading in the flours). Keep adding and beating/kneading until your dough comes away from the bowl and is quite stiff. If its still very sticky, keep adding flour and beating until its not very sticky. then shut the machine down for 10 minutes...have q cuppa or switch laundry loads or something. If you are kneading by hand, dump the dough onto the counter (floured surface!!!) and keep kneading and pounding and working your frustrations out on the dough. Its good therapy. When you are getting exhausted and the dough's not sticking to everything, cover it and walk away for ten minutes.
After the dough has rested, knead it again. Knead the bejesus outta it.
Now put that dough into your big container for rising, oiling said container of choice first. Cover loosely with saran wrap or waxed paper, and then top with a clean dish towel and place in a cosy spot for awhile, until it has risen to twice its size.
Punch the dough down to release the excess air, knead a bit by hand to burst the bubbles, divide into 3 equal portions and shape into loaves. Put these into your well oiled or greased loaf pans, place in the cozy spot to rise again (covered). Preheat your oven at 400 F. When the loaves are risen to just a tough higher than the sides of your pan at the top, put them all in the oven, about mid level, and bake 15 minutes. Turn the loaves for evenness and bake a further 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
When done, remove from the pans to a rack to cool. Cool thoroughly before packing into plastic freezer type bags for best freshness or some other airtight packaging/containment you have. Loaves may be frozen for later use to prevent spoilage.
If using entirely whole grain flour like whole wheat, add ONE well mashed banana to the eggy buttery water mix. The citric acid helps those heavy flour doughs rise.
I am off to start a batch now. Toodles!!

4 comments:

puffthemagicrabbit said...

Yum.

Tara said...

I've been wanting to bake my own bread for years. I'm going to try this! How often do you bake a batch?

Ali P said...

Once or twice a week depending on my energy and the rate at which it disappears. Its mostly what we are using these days because store bought is so crazy pricey (3.20 a loaf!!?)
I'll have to make a batch tomorrow. I was so excited when I saw your Facebook message about you first batch's success!

Granny's Girls said...

When I was a child we NEVER had "store bought bread" in the house. My mother baked bread twice a week. I was humiliated because my sandwiches didn't look like everyone elses...lol and my sandwiches wouldn't fit in the tupperware sandwich boxes that were popular at the time. Oh my, I didn't know how good I had it...lol(again)I am going to give your receipe a go for old times sake.~Susan