Friday, November 23, 2012

Weekly Ritual

We like bread.  We like really good bread.  Really good bread is really expensive around here. I go through fits and spurts where I like to bake bread from scratch when we get tired of the 10 loaves for 12 Dollars rack at the bread store.  I recently found a really great bread recipe that I keep going back to every week.  It makes 5-6 loaves, freezes well and has extra ingredients that help maintain freshness for longer than a day. You can find the recipe here, at the Home Joys blog.  I change it slightly by adding about a cup of Red River Cereal to each batch to add some texture and crunch to my loaves.  This bread rises beautifully despite my addition of extra whole grains.

EDITED TO ADD: If you click over to the recipe above you will find the dough is mixed and proofed in a giant stand mixer.  I do not own a mixer large enough to do that so I use the ingredients in the above recipe and follow the instructions below to mix and proof the dough by hand.

The following is another favourite bread recipe of mine. It makes around four loaves. This recipe has been in my binder for at least 10 years. I have no idea which website I got this from and Google was no help. 

 Christine's Multi-Grain Bread
3 cups water
6 tbsp butter or margarine
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp yeast
1/4 cup sesame seeds*
1/4 cup millet seeds*
1/4 cup raw, unsalted sunflower seeds*
1/4 cup flax*
6 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups all-purpose flour

  1. Measure 1 cup of warm water into a very large bowl.  Stir in 1 tsp of sugar and the yeast.  Let stand for 10 minutes, until frothy.
  2. While yeast mixture is standing, combine three cups water, butter or margarine, salt and honey in a saucepan. Heat until the liquids are warm and the margarine has melted (make it about the temperature of a hot bath.)  Add to yeast .
  3. Add seeds to bowl, then flour, one cup at a time, starting with the whole wheat flour. Stir after each addition of flour. Begin kneading when dough becomes impossible to stir. (This is a messy step! Stick with it! It gets better!)
  4. Continue kneading dough on a floured surface, adding small amounts of white flour until the dough is smooth and not sticky.  This could take up to 10 minutes. Your triceps will thank you.
  5. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover. Let rise in a warm place until dough has doubled in bulk.  If it is cold where you are, turn your oven on to about 200F for one minute, then turn it off and then put your bread in there to rise. This could take an hour or so, depending on how warm it is.
  6. If you have no five year old boy handy to do this step, go ahead and punch down the dough yourself.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide dough into loaves.   Place dough into greased pans and let rise again until doubled. 45 minutes to an hour. While the dough is rising this time, preheat your oven to 350F.
  7. Place loaves in the oven (unless they are already in there rising, then just leave them!) Bake for 30-35 minutes, until nicely browned and if tapped, make a hollow sound.
  8. Remove from pans and allow to cool on wire racks.
*If you don't want to stock up on seeds, 1 cup of Red River cereal is a good substitution for the seeds and grains in the recipe. 3/4 cup of Red River cereal + 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds would be really good too. If you are American Cooks info dot com says a good substitute for Red River Cereal is as follows:  1 cup steel cut oats, 1 cup bulghur wheat and 4 tablespoons flax seeds

1 cup steel cut oats, 1 cup bulghur wheat, 4 tablespoons flax seed.

Read more:

  Mixing up a batch of Homemade Dough Enhancer will make any of your favourite bread recipes last longer and taste a bit better. It works in your bread machine too.

Have you never stuck your hands into a gorgeous mound of bread dough? Here is a video that shows proper kneading technique and how to tell when your workout is finished.