Sunday, August 21, 2011

It's Bread Baking Day!

Time to make another loaf of whole wheat bread.  I make most of our own bread and rolls each week and have really gotten spoiled on really good tasting bread with some 'tooth' to it instead of the puffy white stuff sold as bread in the grocery stores. As my grandson said - "you know, Noni, in New Mexico we can buy bread that's already sliced" as he watched me cutting slices of bread from the loaf I made.  Yes, sweetie, you can, but it won't taste like this bread!

Adapted from the Tassajara Bread Book -

Whole Wheat Bread a la Noni  Yield - 1 hearty 1 1/2 - 2 lb. loaf  in an 8 1/2 inch by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan

1 1/2 cup. warm water or whey from cheesemaking
1 tsp. bread yeast
1 TBSP. barley malt powder (or another TBSP of honey)
1 TBSP. honey
1/3 c. dry milk powder
2 1/2 c - 3 c Eatwell Expresso Wheat Flour or Whole Wheat Flour of your choice

Pour the water or whey in a bowl, add the yeast and stir to dissolve.  Add the malt powder and honey, stir to blend.  Finally add the dry milk powder and stir.  Then add the flour to form a thick mudlike dough.  Stir until fully incorporated.  Cover with a tea towel or lintfree cloth and allow the dough to rise 40 - 60 minutes until double in bulk.

2 TBSP canola or vegetable oil, or butter for a richer bread
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cup unbleached bread flour

Fold in the salt and oil to the bread dough and incorporate well.  Don't 'punish' the dough too much at this point with stirring.  Fold in the bread flour to form a shaggy mass of dough.  Dust your bread board or work space with flour and place the bread dough on the flour, scrape any leftover flour or dough from the bowl and place on top of the bread dough.  Knead for about 8-10 minutes adding more flour as needed until the dough is pliable, springy, and registers an internal temperature between 77F and 81F.  Form a ball of the dough.  Oil the bread bowl with a small amount of vegetable oil and roll the top of the dough ball in the oil and turn it over in the bowl so the entire surface is covered in a light coating of oil.   Let this dough rise as before for 40-60 minutes until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, grease an 8 1/2 inch by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan with butter or shortening. 

When the dough has completed its rise, punch and stretch it into a 9 x 9 rectangle.  Roll up the rectangle and pinch the seam closed, tuck the ends of the loaf under.  Place the shaped loaf in the prepared pan.  Allow this to rise of 30 minutes then set your oven for 350F.  When the oven has come to temperature or another 10 minutes has passed, make three or four diagonal slashes no more than 1/4 inch deep in the top of the loaf.  Place the loaf on the center rack of your oven and bake for 50 minutes.  Remove the loaf from the oven, then remove it from the pan, and place it on a wire rack to cool completely.  Try to resist cutting the loaf for at least 2 hours, then slice and enjoy.  Do not place the loaf in a plastic bag until it is completely cool to the touch (room temp).  Enjoy!

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