Bread, just bread.

September 3, 2011 § 5 Comments

Bread and water can so easily be toast and tea. ~Author Unknown

If the author would have been known, it might be perhaps a young lady from the Victorian era. Somehow, Jane Austen came to my mind. With lovely tea cups and pastries laid out delicately on white floral liners. Perchance, it could also be a devoted housewife serving breakfast to her industrious husband, trying to make ends meet with little dough. A slice of butter with homemade gooseberry jam on fresh toast accompanied with a cup of English breakfast tea.

Since bread’s class last year, I haven’t been able to bake bread. One because, the recipes yield too many servings for one person and my mixer could only hold a limited amount. Second, time. Bread is easy to make, time is hard to find. Since, labor day weekend is near, I managed to catch some crisp late summer air, opened a bottle of Californian red wine and got my hands covered deep in flour.

Whole wheat flour, 2 cups
Dry yeast, 2 tsp
Honey 1/4 cup (optional)
Warm water, 1 1/2 cups
Pinch of salt
Whole wheat flour, 2 cups
Warm water, 1/6 cups

Ready? Here we go:
1) First scale out the ingredients or if you are lazy like me, scale the first 2 cups of flour and water separately. Then place the yeast in the water, set a side. Place the flour in a mixing bowl and scale the second amount of flour, set aside.

2)After the yeast has dissolve in the water (if it doesn’t then stir it around with a fork), pour it into the flour and throw the honey in too. With a dough hook, mix until it forms a shiny ball, about 3-5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix on medium speed, until it comes together, about another 5 minutes. Remember to scrap the sides down.

3)Now, any bread lover would tell you that it is all about handmade work but any housewife would tell you that time is essential. So if you may continue kneading it in the mixer for another 3-4 minutes. Testing the readiness of the dough by removing a big pinch of it and stretch with your four fingers. If you hold it up against sunlight, it will be slight translucent and will not tear. If time permits, then skip this and knead the dough on a floured surface until it is ready.

4)Form the dough on a floured pan and cover with plastic for about 30 minutes, or until it doubles in size. Open a glass of wine and enjoy the rising dough.

5)Punch the dough, release its air by putting your weight on it. Divide,shape or scale it to any desired forms. Round, oval or even square. Just ensure that they are around the same sizes to bake off evenly. Put them on the baking pan and allow to proof again in a warm place. Turn oven on at 400F.

6) After about 10-15 minutes or until it doubles in size, score the breads with the back of the knife or fork. Bake the doughs in the oven with a water dish or throw some ice on another pan to allow some steam. Bake for about 20 minutes or when it becomes golden brown. I prefer them on a darker side so they stay in the oven for a good 30 minutes.

7) I believe the rest is pretty much history as when food is out of the oven, no one cares to read this part. But please, allow the bread to sit for 10 minutes before putting them in your belly. Enjoy.


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