3 hours ago
Monday, March 16, 2009
I ran out of bread this week, and while I could justify buying it because it's a staple (like milk), I was too lazy to change out of my sweats and leave the house today. Too lazy to go to the store, but not too lazy to bake my own bread instead. Man, I must really hate grocery shopping. I haven't even bought vegetables, so my challenge last week was kind of a disaster. I did make cornbread and have broccoli and black-eyed peas from the freezer for a few meals, but I also ordered pizza last night, had dinner with a friend on Friday and took leftovers from her house home. I want to visit my local farm stand, but they're only open on Saturdays until 1, and I've worked Saturdays the last two weekends. This coming Saturday, I'm excited to head out to their market and pick up fresh greens and -- this is the most exciting part for me -- tomato and other plants for my summer vegetable garden! I guess that also means I'll have to work on digging out last year's plants and working compost into the bed this week.
Anyway, I used the whole wheat bread recipe from the flour package (Hodgson Mill) -- minus the added gluten, since I didn't have any. It turned out excellent, especially with peach jam I made last summer. I'm not up to making my own butter yet, a la this post from Pink of Perfection, but that too may come.
Basic Whole Wheat Bread
2 c warm water
2 (1/4-oz) packages active dry yeast
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. wheat gluten*
3 c whole wheat graham flour
1/4 c vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
3 c unbleached, unbromated white bread flour
Put water in a large bowl. Add yeast, stir to dissolve. Add brown sugar, gluten* and whole wheat flour. Beat well, about 200 strokes. Let yeast develop for about 10 minutes. Add oil and salt; mix thoroughly. Add 2 cups of bread flour; beat well. Work in enough of the remaining bread flour to form a soft dough.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 6-8 minutes (or use a stand mixer with a bread hook), or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place in a large, oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover bowl with a clean towel. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place about one hour, or until doubled in bulk
Punch down dough. Divide dough into two equal pieces and form each piece into a loaf. Place in greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Cover and let rise about 45 minutes, or until nearly doubled.
While dough is rising, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake loaves about 35 minutes, or until top is golden brown. Bread is done when it slides easily from the pan and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let cool on wire racks.
*If you don't use added gluten, make sure you knead the dough a lot to form enough gluten. In a stand mixer, the dough will wrap around the hook like a rope and start whacking against the side of the bowl when it's done (it's not quite there in the photo).