Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mmmmm, Bread!

100% Whole Wheat Bread, originally uploaded by Kim De.

Yesterday it was time for more bread. As much as I love making bread, and am loving the learning process of a slow made bread, some weeks you know it just isnt possible. Enter my favorite "quick" bread book Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.

This book teaches you how to make "no knead" breads; breads where you make the dough, put it in the fridge, and pull it out to cook when ready. Brilliant!!!

This week I made their 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread. This bread is a great whole grain bread. It is soft and great for sandwiches. It has a tight crumb and a slightly sweet taste. And did I mention it is fast to make?

After I mixed the ingredients, the dough was put in the refrigerator to wait until I was ready for it. Yesterday I pulled off half of the dough, shaped it into a ball, and put in my bread pan. After a rest of 1 hour and 40 minutes, it baked for 50 minutes. Cooling bread is my biggest nemesis, but I was a good girl and waited for it to cool completely before slicing off a piece for lunch.

If you are a new bread baker, would like to try baking bread, or are a master bread baker with a busy week, I highly recommend this book! (and to my great excitement, they have a new book, Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, being released in October!)

100 Percent Whole-Wheat Sandwich Bread

Whole wheat flour has a nutty, slightly bitter flavor, and it caramelizes easily, yielding a rich, brown loaf. Milk and honey are tenderizers, and their sweetness complements the bitter notes. Although we’ve showcased a loaf-pan method here, this dough also makes lovely free-form loaves on a baking stone.

1 1⁄2 tbsp granulated yeast (1 1⁄2 packets)
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp salt
1/2 cup honey
5 tbsp neutral-flavored oil, plus more for greasing the pan
1 1⁄2 cups lukewarm milk
1 1⁄2 cups lukewarm water
6 2⁄3 cups whole wheat flour

1. Mix the yeast, salt, honey, oil, milk and water in a 5-quart bowl or other container.
2. Mix in the flour using a spoon, high-capacity food processor with dough attachment, or a heavy-duty stand mixer with dough hook.
3. Cover loosely, and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top); about 2 to 3 hours.
4. The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next several days.
5. On baking day, lightly grease a 9-by-4-by-3-inch loaf pan. Using wet hands, scoop out a 11⁄2 pound (cantaloupe-sized) hunk of dough. Keeping your hands wet (it’ll be sticky!), quickly shape it into a ball following the method in Step 5 of The Master Recipe (above).
6. Drop the loaf into the prepared pan. You’ll want enough dough to fill the pan slightly more than half-full.
7. Allow the dough to rest for 1 hour and 40 minutes. Flour the top of the loaf and slash, using the tip of a serrated bread knife.
8. 5 minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, with an empty broiler tray on another shelf.
9. Place the loaf in the center of the oven. Pour 1 cup of hot water into the broiler tray and quickly close the door. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until deeply browned and firm.
10. Allow to cool completely before slicing in order to cut reasonable sandwich slices.

Makes 3 1 1⁄2 pound loaves.

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