Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Favorite Bread Recipes -Tips and Advice

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After many many requests for the recipes I use when I make bread I've finally posted some!  These are just a sampling of what I use.  I think I have somewhere around 5 or 6 cookbooks devoted just to bread.  I love it. Because I am not adept at moving this dumb thing around, the video on forming dough to make a nice loaf goes first.  I would add one thing to her video.  Before you put it in the pan slam it down as hard as you can on the counter, especially if you are working with whole grains.  This will rid your loaves of tunnels and holes. It helps to push out the air pockets.  You don't need to do this so much with the white loaves, just the whole grains, it seems.  

How to form a loaf


Whole Wheat Bread Recipe - 2 Loaves
This is my usual, go-to whole wheat bread recipe. I use this for sandwiches, toast, buttering and snacks for the kids. My husband just downed 5 slices here at supper. It is very good. It's even better if you can grind your own berries. But just as good with store bought flour.

6-7- cups whole wheat flour
1 T - dry yeast
2 TBS - gluten flour
2 TBS - Dough enhancer
2 cups - warm water
1/4 cup - Applesauce or vegetable oil
11/4 cup - honey
2 t – salt

Place 3 cups fresh flour (depending on desired batch size) into mixer equipped with dough hook. Add dry yeast and gluten flour. Pulse to mix well. Add water, and mix for 1 minute. Turn off mixer, cover bowl, and let dough sponge for 10 - 15 minutes. (Sponging makes lighter bread and reduces kneading time). Add applesauce (or oil) honey, and salt. Turn on mixer, and quickly add remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, until dough forms a ball and cleans the sides of the bowl. The amount of flour needed may vary. Knead 7 to 10 minutes (by hand 12-15 minutes) or until dough is smooth and elastic. Let rise in oiled bowl till doubled covered with plastic wrap. Divide in two and shape into loaves. Place in lightly oiled pans and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until double. Bake in 350 degree oven for 28 – 35 minutes

Note: If you want a lighter wheat bread, just sub 2-3 cups of white for the wheat and you have half white/half wheat bread.  Easy.


Dough Enhancer - Miserly Meals
This ingredient is essential for those 100% whole grain recipes.  You can find it at a local health food store, but it tends to be very expensive.  This is a fraction of the cost.  This is a large batch and will last you for a while.  Use one tablespoon per loaf of bread.

4 C Powdered Milk
.75 C lecithin granules
3 heaping T vitamin C powder (ascorbic acid)
2 T powdered ginger
3 T cornstarch

Mix well.  Store in airtight container.  You should be able to find vitamin C powder and lecithin granules at your health food store.  If not, Barry Farm Foods is where I get a lot of my stuff.


White Mountain Bread - The Bread Bible - Makes 2 loaves
This is a great basic white bread.  A great bread to learn how to make bread on.

.75 C warm water
1 TBS yeast
Pinch of sugar
1.5 C milk warmed
3 TBS melted butter or oil
3 TBS honey
1 TBS salt
6-6.25 C white flour/bread flour

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water till it bubbles and grows.  Combine the yeast milk, butter, honey and salt and one cup of flour.  Add remaining flour a bit at a time until it forms a ball that cleans the sides of the bowl.  If you want some therapy, bang it around a bit on the counter till your husband and children come running to the kitchen wondering if mama has gone off her rocker (that part is not in the book.) When the dough is smooth, shiny and springs back when pressed place in oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave it alone.  You just beat the tar out of the poor thing, it needs time to get over that.  About 1.5-2 hours till doubled.  Divide in two and form into two loaves.  Place in greased pans and cover with wrap.  Let rise for about 30-45 mins.  Preheat oven to 375 and bake for 40-45 mins.  Cool on wire racks.

Buttermilk Honey Bread - The Bread Bible - 2 Loaves
This is a wonderful little loaf that is great for potlucks or gifting.  It is a beautiful bread and tastes just as great!

.75 C warm water
1 TBS yeast
1 tsp sugar
1.5 C buttermilk, warmed
2 TBS melted butter
3 TBS honey
1 TBS salt
6-6.5 C white flour/bread flour

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water till it bubbles and grows.  Combine the yeast, buttermilk, butter, honey and salt and one cup of flour.  Add remaining flour a bit at a time until it forms a ball that cleans the sides of the bowl.  If you want some therapy, bang it around a bit on the counter till your husband and children come running to the kitchen wondering if mama has gone off her rocker (that part is not in the book.) When the dough is smooth, shiny and springs back when pressed place in oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave it alone.  You just beat the tar out of the poor thing, it needs time to get over that.  About 1 hour till doubled.  Divide in two and form into two loaves.  Place in greased pans and cover with wrap.  Let rise for about 30-45 mins.  Preheat oven to 375 and bake for 40-45 mins.  Cool on wire racks.  (Yeah, I copied and pasted it, but I changed the important parts.  You'd do the same thing too.)

Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread - King Arthur Flour bag recipe - 1 loaf
*obtained from here
I've made this before and it does turn out very nice.  They sure do know what they are talking about.  

  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water*
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup honey, molasses, or maple syrup
  • 3 1/2 cups King Arthur Premium 100% Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast dissolved in 2 tablespoons of the water in the recipe
  • 1/4 cup Baker's Special Dry Milk or nonfat dried milk
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • *Use the greater amount in winter or in a dry climate; the lesser amount in summer or a humid climate.

Directions
1) In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. (You may also knead this dough in an electric mixer or food processor, or in a bread machine programmed for "dough" or "manual.") Note: This dough should be soft, yet still firm enough to knead. Adjust its consistency with additional water or flour, if necessary.

2) Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or large measuring cup, cover it, and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

3) Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into an 8" log. Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 1 to 2 hours, or till the center has crowned about 1" above the rim of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

4) Bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil after 20 minutes to prevent over-browning. The finished loaf will register 190°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center.

5) Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. If desired, rub the crust with a stick of butter; this will yield a soft, flavorful crust. Cool completely before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.

Oatmeal Bread - More with Less - 2 Loaves
This is an awesome bread. My inlaws request this when they visit and is loved by most who eat it. It rises big so watch out!

Combine in large bowl:
1c. quick oats
.5c whole wheat flour
.5c brown sugar
1 TBS salt
2 TBS margarine/butter

Pour over:
2 C. boiling water
Stir in to combine.

Dissolve:
1 TBS yeast in .5 c warm water
When batter is cooled to lukewarm, add yeast.

Stir in:
5C white flour (or as much as you can till it forms a ball and cleans the sides of the bowl.)

When dough is stiff enough to handle, turn onto flour board and knead. Place in greased bowl, cover with wrap and let rise till doubled. Punch down and let it rise again. Shape into 2 loaves and place in greased pans. Bake at 350 for 30-40 mins. Cool on rack.


Notes:
  • Applesauce and oil are interchangable.  Applesauce will make your breads more moist and sweeter, so you can cut down on the sugar/honey if you'd like.  It will also make it lower in fat.  But it will dry out quicker.  I almost exclusively use canola oil, unless I want a deeper taste then I'll use olive.  You could cut out oil and applesauce all together, but the bread would stale within a day or two.
  • You can also use butter in your recipes instead of oil, which just smells heavenly when you are baking it!  
  • You can use milk instead of water in your bread recipes, which gives a nicer texture to your bread.
  • Some sugar is needed to make bread rise, the rest is just for taste.  So if you want to cut sugars, go ahead, but do use a pinch so that the yeast can react.  You will find your bread bland.  But you can reduce the amount of sugar in your bread if you'd like.
  • Sugar/honey/molasses/sucanat/brown sugar are all interchangable and combinable.  I've used honey and blackstrap molasses for a darker, deeper taste in my breads.
  • Salt is also optional.  But the bread will be very bland.  It is nice to leave it out if you are having a very salty meal.  
  • Use plastic wrap in all your rises.  It will keep your dough from forming a skin.  This has made all the difference for me in my bread making.  
  • Make sure you preheat your oven, at least 10-15 mins before you put the bread in.  
  • Rising times really depend on how warm your kitchen or rising area is.  
  • Ideas for rising: on top of the stove with the range hood light on, in the oven with it OFF and a bowl of hot water set beside it, or just on your counter top.
  • When the bread is done baking turn it out immediately from the pans and let it cool on wire racks.
  • Resist the urge to cut it prematurely.  It has to cool down at least 15 mins, or it will get weird on the ends.  
  • Oil your hands and work surface, (if you use flour the bread gets dry), I use spray oil.
A word about Wheat - obtained from here
Hard winter red wheat: This wheat is mostly grown in the Plains states as well as the northern states and Canada. It is a versatile wheat with excellent baking characteristics for pan bread. It is also used for Asian noodles, hard rolls, flat breads, general purpose flour and as an improver for blending. It is moderately high in protein (about 10.5%) which makes it good as an all-purpose or bread flour. About 40% of all of the wheat grown in the United States is hard winter red wheat. This is the usual whole wheat you find in the stores. 

Hard spring red wheat: This wheat is mostly grown in the northern states and Canada. It is considered the aristocrat of wheat when it comes to "designer" wheat foods like hearth breads, rolls, croissants, bagels and pizza crusts. It is also used as an improver in flour blends. It is one of the hardest wheats and therefore has one of the highest protein counts (13.5%). About 24% of the wheat grown in the United States is hard spring red wheat.

Soft winter red wheat: This wheat is mainly grown in the eastern states. It is a low protein wheat with excellent milling and baking characteristics for pan breads, general purpose flour and as an improver for blending. About 25% of the wheat grown in the United States is soft winter red wheat.

Hard winter white wheat: This is the newest class of U.S. wheat. It is sweeter and lighter in color that red wheat, with a protein profile similar to hard winter red wheat. It is great for making Asian noodles, whole wheat, pan breads and flat breads. Only about 1% of the wheat grown in the United States is hard winter white wheat, but it is gaining in popularity. This is what I use in my breads.

Soft spring white wheat: This type of wheat is generally grown in a few eastern states and in the Pacific Northwest and California. It is a low moisture wheat with high extraction rates that provides a whiter product for cakes and pastries. This variety is similar to soft winter red wheat with a slightly sweeter flavor. About 7% of the wheat grown in the United States is soft spring white wheat. I use this in my cookies and pastries.


A lot of my notes and advice were obtained because of solutions to problems I ran into.  Making beautiful bread is possible, but it takes practice.  I've made so many bricks in my day it's not funny.  Trust me.  If I can go from bricks to bread, so can you.  And if you want advice on what to do with bricks, see this post.  Enjoy!

4 comments:

Chelsea Rae said...

Kathryn!! Thank you so much for this! I bookmarked it already, what a treasure! You rock. :)

susan@findingfocusministries.com said...

Thanks, Kathyrn! Got 'em. Susan

Erin said...

Thank you thank you thank you!! We are trying to go to doing all whole wheat and mostly grinding our own but I have really been kinda confused. Also thanks for the info on the dough conditioner...I've been thinking I need to do that..pulling up the site to talk to Klay tonight about ordering the stuff.

TammyIsBlessed said...

Wow, there was a whole lot in there I had no clue about!! Thanks Kathryn. The one recipe I've been using has been working really well, so I'm kinda scared to try a new one, but we'll see :)