Friday, March 25, 2011

Whenever Bread

Things have been rough this week at Lord of the Chard's northeastern headquarters. We have had chemistry midterms, toothaches, and snow! TWICE! SNOW TWICE THIS WEEK! This bread has helped me persevere.

Unlike Leanne and Laura, I sadly do not have my own bread machine. I have tried a lot of homemade bread recipes, and honestly a lot of them were not worth the effort - trader Joe's makes a great whole wheat tuscan pane that is giant and costs something like $1.99. But this no timetable bread IS worth it. Now it takes a long time, I am not going to lie. But 98% of that time is rising time and there is very little work involved. It might seem like a lot of work, but it is really easy and you basically can't ruin the bread. All of the rising time is subjective and you can just do whatever works for your schedule.The original recipe from Smitten Kitchen (one of my favorite food blogs) is here, but I found the recipe a little confusing and changed some of the steps so my version is below.

Dough after rising overnight.

How I roll up my loaf: First stretch out the dough into a rectangle shape. 

 Then just roll it up like a giant cinnamon bun.

Until you get to the end. There smush the seam together.

And place it seam side down into your bread pan. I use a 9x5 loaf.

The finished product. Note that I was unable to display self control and had a slice off the end before I snapped a photo!

Hello lovely.

When it snows the first day of spring all you can do is eat bread fresh from the oven with split pea potato soup in your pajama pants.

1.5 c AP flour
2 c whole wheat flour
2 t ground flax seed (optional but an awesome addition FIBER!)
0.5 t sugar
0.5 t active dry yeast
1 c H2O
0.5 c milk (I used soy milk because I never have real milk on hand and it worked fine)
extra flour for kneading

1. Mix your flours, flax, and sugar together in large bowl.
2. Separately mix lukewarm H2O, milk and yeast. Add the liquid to the flour and mix it up.
3. I learned this tip from Alton Brown (I think?): Let it hang out in the bowl for a little while (10-15 minutes). This gives the flour time to absorb the water and softens the wheat grains.
4. Knead for a little while, say 5 minutes and then roll in flour and put it into a bowl to rise.
5. I usually put it together after dinner and let it rise overnight. The long rise time will make this the fluffiest, most flavorful homemade bread.
6. Whenever you get back to it knead it again, and then put it back into the bowl to rise. I do this is the morning before I leave for school.
7. When you get back to it, punch it down, knead it again and shape into loaf.
8. I usually let it sit for one final rise once I have it in the pan. Brush with either water or egg white and pop it in the oven at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.
9. The Smitten Kitchen recipe says to turn the oven down to 425 and cook for another 5-20 minutes, but I have found mine done after the 30.

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