Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bread-snobs

We've been making homemade bread for several years now. We like it so much that we rarely get desperate enough to buy bread at the store. Usually if we're running low, the thought of having to eat even the good store stuff motivates Ryan or I to find the time to make up a batch or two. I thought we'd share a few of our favorite bread recipes.

The first year that we were making bread we just made one recipe. It was 100% whole wheat. We grind our own wheat to make whole wheat flour. It's not because we're crazy. It's just that once you learn about whole grains you realize that even the whole wheat flour that you buy at the grocery store doesn't have the wheat germ in it (the most nutritious part of the grain--loaded with goodness!) So why even bother to make it if it isn't going to be nutritiously superior to that store stuff!

After a year we tried a 1/2 whole wheat: 1/2 white flour recipe and like the variety. Now we make several different kinds and keep them in the freezer. We like rotating what kind we are using. I don't know why but using oats in a bread recipe seems to make the bread softer and more like a classic white bread recipe. The Three Seed recipe is great if you like multi-grain, chunky breads. The Challah bread isn't a whole wheat recipe but makes really great dinner rolls and other "pretty bread" (we have tried it with part whole wheat and it works but isn't as silky). If it doesn't say it in the recipe we like to use dough enhancer and vital wheat gluten to help the bread texture.


100% Whole Wheat Bread

6 c liquid (potato water, plain water, or milk)
1/2 c honey or sugar
1 c powdered milk (dry)
2 Tbl yeast
1/2 c oil
1 Tbl salt
16 c whole wheat flour


Mix as you would any yeast bread recipe. If you have an electric bread mixer add enough flour until it cleans the sides of the bowl and is a soft elastic dough. If kneading by hand, stop adding flour while the dough is still somewhat sticky and knead it with oil on your hands or let it sit for an hour or so and knead it later. It should be very soft, just manageable. Resist the urge to put in too much flour or your bread will be dry and crumbly. After the dough has risen and been punched down 1 or 2 times, shape it into 4 loaves. Let it rise until not quite double in bulk. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Cool on wire rack and cover with a damp towel. Freeze or refrigerate. This recipe also makes delicious scones, pizza crust, pull-aparts, or breadsticks. Use whole wheat bread for poultry stuffing, croutons, French toast, sandwiches, etc.


Wheat/White Bread



Mix:
7 cups wheat flour
5 ½ c hot water
2 ½ Tbl yeast

Mix in:
2/3 c honey
2/3 c oil
1 ½ Tbl salt

Add:
5-6 c white flour (until dough)


Divide and place in 5 regular loaf pans.
Raise for 40 minutes
Bake at 350° for 30 minutes
(you don't have to but we usually raise and knead down a couple times. I find it helps with texture and make the bread less crumbly).



Oat-y-licious Wheat Bread




3 Tbl Yeast
1 ½ c Oats
4 ½ c Wheat flour
4 ½ c white flour

1 1/2 Tbl Salt
4 1/2 Tbl Dry milk
6 Tbl Oil
6 Tbl Honey
3 ¾ c Water

Place warm water in a large bowl and sprinkle yeast on top. Let stand for 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine flours and salt and mix well. Add melted butter and sugar to yeast mixture, followed by the flour mixture. Stir to combine and place on flat surface for kneading. Knead for 5-8 minutes, until dough is elastic. Place in greased bowl, cover and let rise for 1 hour. Punch down dough and let rest for 5 minutes. Shape dough and place into a loaf pan. Cover and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled.

Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes. Allow to cool completely before cutting.


Three Seed Bread


1 ¼ c water
2Tbl Honey
2 Tbl Oil
2 cups White Flour
1 cup Wheat Flour
1 ½ tsp salt
1/3 c flaxseed
2 Tbl sunflower seed kernels
1 Tbl Poppy seeds
2 tsp active dry yeast

Makes 1 loaf

Add honey, yeast and warm water to a bowl and let stand 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine flours, salt and seeds. Once yeast mixture has proofed, add oil to liquid, then flour mixture. Mix well and turn out onto flat surface and start kneading, adding flour as needed. Knead for about 5-8 minutes. Place dough in oiled bowl and cover. Allow to rise for 45 minutes, or until double. Punch down loaf and form dough into loaf. Place in an oiled loaf pan. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until double. Bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes.


NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION:(One loaf yields 13 slices).One slice contains Calories 150, Calories from Fat 45, Total Fat 5g, Saturated Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 270mg, Total Carbohydrate 25g, Dietary Fiber 3g, Sugars 3g, Protein 5g.

Classic Challah Egg Bread


2 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 1/2 tablespoons (2 packages) active dry yeast
pinch of sugar
8 to 8 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose or bread flour
1 tablespoon salt
4 eggs
1/2 c honey

2/3 c vegetable, canola or light olive oil
1 egg beaten with 1 Tbl water for glaze
2 Tbl sesame seeds or poppyseeds for sprinkling (optional)

Step 1:Mixing the Dough
Pour 1/2 c of warm water into a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast and sugar over the surface. Stir to dissolve and let stand at room temperature until foamy, about 10 minutes.
To make by hand: place 1 1/2 cups of flour and the salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs, honey, oil and remaining 1 1/2 cups water. Using a balloon or dough whisk, beat vigorously for 1 minute. Add the yeast mixture and beat vigorously for 1 minute more, or until the dough comes together. Switch to a wooden spoon when the dough clogs the whisk. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a soft, shaggy dough that just pulls away from the sides of the bowl forms.
To make in a mixer: Fit with paddle attachment. Place 1 1/2 cups flour and the salt in the bowl. Add the eggs, honey, oil, and remaining 1 1/2 cups water on low speed. When combined, beat until smooth on med-low speed, about 1 minute. Add the yeast mixture and beat on medium speed for 1 minute more. Switch to low speed and add the remaining flour, 1/3 cup at a time, until a soft shaggy dough that just clears the sides of the bowl is formed. Switch to the dough hood when the dough thickens, about 2/3 through adding the flour, and knead for 4 minutes on medium speed. The dough will make a soft ball and pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Step 2: Kneading
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until firm yet still springy, 1 minute for a machine-mixed dough and 5 to 7 minutes for a hand-mixed dough, dusting with flour 1 Tbl at a time, just enough to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands and the work surface. This dough will be very smooth, have a soft elastic quality,but never stiff, and will hold its shape.
Step 3: Rising
Place the dough ball in a greased deep container, such as a plastic rising bucket, turn once to grease the top, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. If using a mixer, you can put on the cover to let the dough rise in the bowl. Mark the container to indicate how high the dough will be when risen to double. Let rise at room temperature until double in bulk, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Do not allow the dough to rise more than double; over risen dough has a tendency to tear, and the baked loaf will not be as fluffy as it has the potential to be. Gently deflate the dough by inserting your fist into its center, re-cover, and let rise again until double in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. In a pinch, this second rise can be skipped, but the flavor is much nicer if you can give the dough extra time.
Step 4: Shaping the Dough and the Final Rise
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; it will naturally deflate as you do. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of three 9 x 5 inch loaf pans or line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Without working the dough further, divide it into 3 equal portions if using the bread pans or 2 equal portions if making free-form loaves. Further divide each portion into 3 equal sections.
Using your palms, roll each section into a fat cylinder, about 10 inches long for the pan about 10 inches long for the pan loaves and about 16 inches for free-form loaves, which are tapered at each end. Be sure these ropes are of equal size and shape. Place 3 ropes parallel to each other. Begin braiding, starting at the center rather than the ends for a more even shape. Take one of the outside ropes and lay it over the center rope, then repeat the movement from the opposite side. continue by alternating the outside ropes over the center rope. When one-half is braided, rotate the half-braid and repeat from the other end. Adjust or press the braid to make it look even. Tuck the ends under and set into a loaf pan or on a baking sheet.
Beat eggs and water glaze with a fork until foamy. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the loaves with some of the egg mixture. Do not let the egg glaze drip down into the sides of the pan or it will make the break stick and inhibit the rising in the oven. Refrigerate the extra glaze to use in Step 5. Cover the loaves loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until the dough is almost double in bulk and about 1 inch over the rims of the pans, about 45 minutes. Don't over-raise.
Step 5: Baking, Cooling, Storage
About 20 minutes before baking, place the oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 (325 if using glass). Brush the surface of the loaves a second time with the egg glaze and sprinkle with the seeds, or leave plain. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the loaves are deep golden brown, the sides have slightly shrunk away from the plan, and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the top or bottom with your finger. The larger free-form loaves can bake and additional 5 to 10 minutes. Immediately remove the loaves from the pans and transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool to room temperature before slicing.
Store wrapped in a plastic food storage bag at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the freezer for 2 months.

10 comments:

melbel said...

Oh I'm so happy you posted all of these! I'm really trying to make bread, but I've been a 1-recipe woman and even then, it doesn't always turn out! Those rolls look so good! I will definitely wait for the rest of the instructions... :)

Paul and Nancy Garner said...

You are amazing! It looks great and so yummy! Next time we talk, remind me to tell you why we cannot do any of these in Hawaii! It is so sad!! xxx love ya

Joyce said...

You are speaking to a bread lover. I love bread. Each pictured loaf is simply beautiful. And you guys have gotten very creative with your mixing and shaping with fabulous results. I want to come and do a taste test.

Tammy Messick said...

I love this! Thanks for the inspiration.

Tom and Shalaun said...

I will love to try some of those recipes. We also bake bread and I have found that we can make a much better sandwich bread if we use Vital Wheat Gluten and Dough Enhancer. Perhaps you've already tried it but they are supposed to improve slicing loaves and spreading things on the bread as well as increase the "shelf life" of the bread. Don't know what your sources would be out there, though. We get them at Honeyville Grain.

Andy and Krista said...

Ooohh- this is fabulous! Just what I have been wanting, your yummy bread recipes! Thanks for typing those up! Also- thanks for the bread Sat, we ate it so fast it didn't even make it to Sunday dinner. Thanks JaNae (and Ryan!)

Shanna said...

Thanks for sharing your bread recipes. I've been wanting to start making bread more often. What kind of wheat grinder do you have? I've been looking into buying one and would love your opinion. BTW, the pictures of your bread are beautiful.

Ferrel Family said...

Thank you!!!! I've got all of them saved on my recipe file now! We are also looking for a wheat grinder. Did you have the Whisper Mill? Dave and I love home made bread, perhaps this is the year for us to start :)

So far the treat in the morning seems to work for Berkeley. It's worked the last 3 nights. I hope it lasts and that he concurs this fear. I remember your dollar store idea and that's why I thought of the treat. Thanks for all your great advice. If this one wears off we're heading to the dollar store next. I'm hoping it's all fixed and over when baby arrives:) Tell Hayley hi from Alyvia! Mia is looking so big lately, what a cute little girl. Tell Ryan hi too!

TimmyG said...

Are you taking orders?

Brenlyn said...

What a great post! I'm always looking for new recipes to try. My favorite recipe website is Recipezaar.com. My sister-in-law Amy introduced me to it. I've found quite a few very good recipes from this site that we've added to our "regulars." I recently was introduced to a very good book by a friend in the ward. It is called "King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking." Our library has a few copies and I check it out again and again. There is an excellent recipe for Whole Wheat Pitas (not 100% whole wheat, but still over 50%) that we really enjoy. They are so easy to make and I'll never be tempted to buy pitas ever again. They're absolutely delicious filled with chicken salad. Another book I've enjoyed is "King Arthur Flour All-Purpose Baking." The really good pizza dough recipe on Shalaun's blog is from this book. It has some really good information. Bob's Red Mill also has a whole grain baking book. I've recently become interested in using different kinds of grains other than wheat (barley, spelt, etc.). We've tried home made graham crackers from the King Arthur Flour whole grain book that are kind of fun (and contain some barley). Thanks for sharing your recipes and I look forward to trying them.