18 July 2011

Yeast and flour smell so good

Why is it that that's so true.  On my day off today I decided to bake some bread - proper sandwich loaf - and man does it smell and look good!  It's been nice, sitting in the house working on ideas for wedding stuff, working on my resume, even going for a walk and catching up with some old friends...all the while in the background of my day the bread hangs out.  Then once in the oven the smell of fresh bread eeks out making my apartment smell delightful! 
And man does it taste good. Best bread I have made thus far, for REALS yo.  

After spending about an hour doing research about how to switch whole wheat flour for the bread flour and whether I could use active dry yeast instead of instant yeast, I came up with my rendition of this recipe....and remembered that I have durum flour (a high-protein/high-gluten flour) in my cabinet thanks to my older sister who has a love of perfect pizza dough. So, here you go.  

Sarah & Janell - I think you both should make this.

Light Wheat Bread
Makes one two-pound loaf

2 1/2 C unbleached durum flour (or high-gluten or bread flour)
1 1/2 C whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 t honey
1 1/2 t salt
3 tablespoons powdered goats milk (I'm sure regular powdered milk works too!)
1 3/4 t dry active yeast (it's really just over 1 3/4 t - as you are supposed increase original by 25%)
2 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 C water, at room temperature

Stir together the durum flour, whole-wheat flour, salt, powdered milk and yeast in a large mixing bowl (or if you have a stand mixer, in that bowl). Proof your yeast w. some lukewarm water, let sit for 5 minutes.  Add yeast mixture, butter, honey and water.  Stir or mix on the lowest speed with the paddle/bread piece until the ingredients form a ball.  Flour still on the bottom?  Add a little more lukewarm/room temp water.  Dough should feel soft and supple not firm and stiff.

Sprinkle whole-wheat flour on your kneading area, and begin kneading (or mix on medium speed with the dough hook...however, I think that this is your opportunity to get really up close and familiar with your bread making process AND as tough as it is to do for 10 minutes, it's rather nice).  Add more flour if too sticky, you want the dough to be a little tacky so don't add too much!  Kneading should take about 10 minutes (6 minutes by machine). The dough should pass the windowpane test - pull off a small piece after ~5 minutes, pull it apart slowly, is it snapping apart too quickly?  You've got more kneading to do!! Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

Proof at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.

Take the dough out of the bowl and press it by hand into a rectangle about 3/4 inch thick, 6 inches wide, and 8 to 10 inches long. Make your loaf by rolling it from the short side, pinching the crease with each rotation to strengthen the surface tension. It will spread wider as you roll it. Pinch the final seam closed. Place the loaf in a lightly oiled 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch bread pan (ends of the loaf should touch the ends of the pan to ensure an even rise).  Rub some oil on the top of the dough and loosely cover with plastic wrap.

(2nd proof!) Proof at room temperature for approximately 60 minutes, or until the dough crests above the lip of the pan. .. this varies from place to place.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with the oven rack on the middle shelf.

Place the bread pan on a sheet pan and bake for 30 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking and continue baking for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the oven. The finished loaf should register 190 degrees F in the center, be golden brown on the top and the sides, and sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.

When the bread is finished baking, remove it immediately from the loaf pan and cool it on a rack for at least 1 hour, preferably 2 hours, before slicing or serving. ... you can make it those 2 hours. TOTALLY WORTH IT!!

enjoy! xo

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