The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 23, 2009

 

Bread baking to warm the kitchen on a winter day

The smell and taste of freshly baked yeast breads add a delicious dimension to these cold winter days.

Baking your own bread need not be a difficult undertaking. Bread recipes can be easily adapted to individual tastes without harming the final loaf. Salt quantities can be reduced to as low as you like, healthy oils can be used, and many different grains can enhance the loaf. Be careful not to add too many new grains at one time, but with a little experimenting you can soon find the balance you like.

The kneading can be done in a mixer that has a bread hook, which we find convenient. Kneading by hand can be enjoyable in itself and is worth a try.

The length of time to let the dough rise is often a big question to bread bakers. It is usually best to let the dough rise in a warm place. However, if you want to have a slow rising, the dough can be left in a cool place or put overnight in the refrigerator. I find that the timing of the first rising of the bread is not crucial as the dough will be punched down, before making the loaves. It is important not to let the loaves over- rise or the bread will be too fragile and crumbly. If your loaf over-rises, punch it down and let it rise again for a short time.

French Bread

This recipe is one of the easiest to make and is always popular. You can shape the loaves in many different ways – long, thin loaves or our favorite is a round loaf.

2 cups warm water

1 T. yeast

1 to 2 tsp. salt

1 T. sugar

about 5 cups flour (You can use all white all-purpose flour, but I substitute one cup whole wheat for one of the white.)

1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water.

2. Stir in sugar and salt.

3. Add flour until dough will absorb no more.

4. Knead about 4 minutes. Cover and let rise 30 to 45 minutes.

5. Divide dough in half, handling as little as possible, while shaping into two loaves.

6. Place on baking sheet that has been amply dusted with corn meal. Let rise 30 minutes.

7. Brush tops of loaves with oil. Bake 30 minutes at 375 degrees. I also put a pan of water in the oven below the baking sheet with the loaves.

Whole Wheat Loaf This is our family’s standard bread for all uses. It is modified from the basic white bread in the Sunset Cookbook of Breads, which is a good place for beginning bread-bakers to start. It makes two loaves, baked in 4 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch pans.

1 T. yeast

1/4 cup warm water

2 cups warm milk (I use dry milk dissolved

in warm water)

2 T. sugar

1 to 2 tsp. salt

2 T. oil

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup of a mixture oat bran, wheat germ, wheat bran (adjust to your preference)

about 5 cups all-purpose white or bread flour

1. Dissolve yeast in the water. Add milk, sugar, salt and oil.

2. Stir in one cup of the white flour. Add wheat flour and other grains.

3. Add white flour until smooth.

4. Knead 3 to 5 minutes. Let rise until doubled.

5. Shape into loaves and push firmly into pans. Let rise 30 minutes.

6. Bake 30 minutes at 325 degrees.

Rosemary Olive Bread

This bread is a winner for its wonderful aroma and delicious taste. The recipe is for one loaf.

1 T. dry yeast

3/4 cup warm water

1 T. sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup olive oil (can be part canola or corn oil)

1 1/2 T. coarsely chopped rosemary

1/2 to 1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

about 3 cups white all-purpose or bread flour

1. Stir yeast into warm water.

2. Add sugar, salt, oil, rosemary and olives.

3. Add flour until dough will absorb no more.

4. Knead dough on floured surface for 3 to 5 minutes. Cover and let rise.

5. Shape dough into a ball and place on baking sheet. Let rise 30 minutes.

6. Bake 30 to 40 minutes at 375 degrees.


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