Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Favorite Bread Recipes....

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Here are a few of my favorite bread recipes:

Whole Wheat and Honey Pizza Dough
This pizza dough is the best I've made yet. It's low fat, low cal, and my hubby and daughter love it. It doubles, triples and quadruples well. I will sometimes make a large batch and freeze the rest so that the next time I make pizza I just have to take it out and let it defrost on the counter and in a few hours it's ready to go.

1 pkg active dry yeast
1 C. warm water
2 C. whole wheat flour
1/4 c wheat germ
1 tsp walt
1 tbls honey

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. In a small bowl dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes
3. In a large bowl combine flour, wheat germ and salt. Make a well in the middle and add honey and yeast mixture. Stir well to combine till smooth and springy. Cover and set in a warm place to rest for a few minutes.
4. Roll dough on a floured pizza pan and poke a few holes in it with a fork.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 5-10 minutes, top with your best yummy toppings and bake until desired crispiness.

French Bread - Obtained from The Bread Bible by Beth Hensperger
This bread is the most basic you can make. It is frugal, because it doesn't have oil, so it is also low cal and low fat. You can, and I suggest you do, substitute up to 3 cups of whole wheat flour or other flour. Otherwise the white flour doesn't give it any hardiness to cut it. I use white whole wheat flour. It fakes you out, makes you think it's all white. It is so easy to make. I am going to assume that you know how to basically make bread, so I am not going to put all of the instructions on here, she has hers step by step, which is nice for the novice. If you do not know how to make bread, do not have a bread maker, or if you have a good sturdy stand mixer, like a KitchenAid or are simply going to do it by hand (which is great therapy) please see this article for instructions. Most basic breads can be made by this method. It took me about 6 months of practicing to make really good bread. But my bread comes out everytime now.

2 C warm water
1.5 tbsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
3 C bread flour
1 tbsp salt
About 3 C regular flour

1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. (did you know that if you put a pinch of sugar in with your yeast and the water it will aid your yeast to meeting it's fullest potential in your dough later on? I do this everytime and it helps.) Stir and let sit till foamy about 10 minutes.
2. Add 2 c of bread flour, beat hard until smooth. Add remaining 1 c bread flour and most of the regular flour .5 c at a time until you have a shaggy dough that clears the sides of the bowl.
3. Turn out onto floured surface and BEAT YOUR AGGRESSIONS OUT OF THAT POOR PIECE OF LIFELESS DOUGH until you have a nice, smooth and springy ball. You need to let that dough know whose boss so that it will do your bidding.
4. Place the dough in a lightly greased deep bowl, turning once to coat the top and (this is so important that you do, my bread making took a turn for the better once I started doing this.) cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temp until tripled in bulk about 1.5-2 hours.
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into two portions and using a rolling pin roll out to a wide rectangle shape. Roll the dough up from the shortest end, pinching the seam shut and tucking and pinching the ends under. Repeat with other portion and place in greased bread pans.
6. Let rise again till doubled, this rise will not take as long. Maybe 45mins to an hour. Cover loosly with plastic wrap.
7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 35-40 mins until crusty and the loaves sound hollow when tapped.

Now I am going to add something that I've developed on my own to add stability to loaves when cutting. After the bread has baked, remove it from the pans immediately and place on a cooling rack. When the loaves are cool to the touch, cover with a clean, dry dish towel and let set overnight. If you put bread that feels cool to the touch immediately into a plastic bag, it will continue to condense and your bread will be soggy by morning. Letting it set overnight allows it to cool completely. If you cut bread that is hot, warm or not cool completely it will fall apart when you cut it. But the next morning, most breads are cooled and will cut very nicely. Afraid of stale bread? That's what the crust is for! The crust keeps the inside nice. After you cut it put it in a plastic bag and it will stay nice for at least a week. It's rare that I've had homemade bread grow mold. Most store bought breads do before my homemade breads do. And that's not because we eat them faster. I've had bread ends sit in my bread box for two weeks and not had a lick of mold on them. They are hard, so I put them in the freezer for stuffing or bread pudding later on.

Pilgrim's Bread - Obtained from More With Less Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre
This is the bread I just pulled out today from my oven. I forgot how much I love this bread! I don't know how frugal it is, but it is a nice variation from the French bread.
Combine in a bowl:
.5c yellow cornmeal
.3c brown sugar
1tbsp salt
Stir gradually into:
2 C boiling water
.25c oil (or applesauce)
Cool to lukewarm (I put mine out on the porch and it was cool in like 5 minutes)
2pkg dry yeast in
.5c warm water
Add yeast to cornmeal mixture
Beat in:
.75 C whole wheat flour
.5 c rye flour
By hand or stand mixer stir in:
4.25-4.5 c white flour
Turn onto lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to coat top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until double. Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Divide in half and shape each half into a loaf, as described above, place in greased pans. Cover and let rise again in warm place until double. Bake at 375 about 40 minutes. These rise nicely, and have a great sturdiness to them. Great for sandwiches.
I wanted to let you know of another great piece of advice about baking. See that white stuff on top of the loaves? It's not mold, it's flour. After I've formed my loaves and put them in the pan, I sprinkle a bit of flour on the tops of the loaves to keep the plastic wrap from sticking. If the plastic wrap sticks too much and pulls the risen bread, it can make it fall. So the flour keeps it from sticking, plus it makes it look so homey. You can slash your breads with a serrated knife, but don't go too deep. Do you know why they used to do this? In baking bread rises dramatically, sometimes the outer crust will become too hard too fast and the gasses are trapped. The slashing allows for some of the gasses to be released before it gets baked too far. In other words, it allows for rapid rising in baking. I have made most breads without the slashing and have never had this problem. But if you want, go for it.

By the way, I ate that piece of bread laying there, which, is really good with homemade hummus on it. I think I'll have another.

Tomorrow I'll try to post some of my other favorite soups, meals and such that are healthy, easy for you and the pocketbook.

1 comment:

Rachel F. said...

Ahhh... you make me want to bake bread! I did well to make a double batch of sugar cookies for church on Sunday (with a triple batch of butter cream frosting... YUM!). But now I want to make something healthier.