Monday, February 18, 2008

Rollin' In The Dough

For some reason, when you can finally make a good loaf of homemade bread, you feel somehow that you have "arrived" at some station of motherhood. I am not quite sure why, but somewhere in the handbook we are told that we should make bread. It is not easy to do without knowing the tricks, but when you do finally get it right, there is a sense of accomplishment like no other and everyone appreciates it. So, to those who have asked for a good bread recipe, here you go. I have made bread since I was married almost 16 years ago. I started by hand, it was a brick, but tastey. I then bought a little bread machine, now a little square brick, still tastey. Finally, bouth the coveted Bosch. The bread was better but I still didn't understand why I couldn't make the picture perfect loaf. (The picture above is not mine, mine looks better!) I even took a bread class from Chef Brad. It still took me a few more years to really get it down. I went through lots of different recipes and took time to really understand what the dough should feel like. Not all loaves are perfect, but, most of the time they are now, finally, 16 years later. To you, women who want to be the "breadmakers" of the family - I pass on my secrets:

First, you must use fresh ground whole wheat. You can buy it, but, it will not be as good.

Secondunfortunately, the Bosch is the way to go. It is a bit pricey, but will last a lifetime. It is made for bread. The way it kneads builds up the gluten better than any other method. You will only have to let it rise once with a bosch.

Third, the dough must have an elastic texture. To get this, add the last flour slowly and stop when the dough pulls from the sides, leaving the sides and mostly the bottom clean. The dough should then feel like a womans breast when poked with your finger.(real breasts!)

Fourth, I like to roll my dough out in a long rectangle then roll up into a loaf shape, tucking and creasing the ends. This will get all the air out so you will not have holes in your bread.
This recipe is from a friend, Carol Killian. Thanks Carol if you are out there!

5 C. Hot water
2/3 C. Honey
2/3 C. Oil
3 C. Whole Wheat flour (I use 100% sprouted flour)

Mix until smooth

3 T yeast
1 T salt (don't put right on yeast, it will kill it)
1/4 tsp Vitamin C crystals (can get from most drug stores, get crystals, not powder)
5 C whole Wheat flour

Mix then add as much four as needed so the dough pulls clean from the bowl. Should still be a little tacky, not real sticky. I usually end up using 11-12 cups flour total. I use about 3 cups of white flour. You can add other grains if desired, but stick to original recipe until you perfect it. After the dough is the right consistency, mix for 6 minutes in the bosch on 1. Take out dough, shape into loaves, about 4 - 5 loaves. Let rise until double, usually only takes about 30 mn especially if flour is fresh. Bake in preheated oven, 350 for about 30 - 35 mn. I have found that different ovens cook differently. I lower my middle rack down one so my tops don't get burned. Let cool on their sides on cooling rack. Cool for an hour before you put them in a bag.
I also use this dough to make cinnamon rolls, using brown sugar, cinnamon and butter. I also like to make indian fry bread with it and top with refried beans.


shawni said...

Shari, this looks so good. I wish I could have a slice right now! Hey, thanks so much for your comment about Lucy. How did you figure out the allergies? I know she does have allergies but how do you figure out from what? I'll try the milk thing.

Melissa said...

Shari , I would love to take a bread class. Let me know when and where and if I can make it, I'd love it.

amy said...

so interested my friend!! I have recently been on the quest for making perfect bread - perfect timing. Let me know and it would be fab to see you too.

Becky said...

Oh, Thank You, Thank You!!! Yum, my tummy is hungry now. Really, thanks for taking the time to write it out. I would love to go to your bread class when you have one.

Melissa said...

Thanks for the e-mail. You and Mike look the same---ageless! Your kids are darling, a perfect blend of you two. It was fun to learn more about your family too.

Kerri said...

Yes, I want to come to your bread class!

Laurie said...

Thanks for the tips! I really need to make the Whisper Mill investment so I can start making my own bread. By the way, I read that you don't get all the health benefits of whole wheat if you aren't grinding it yourself. Otherwise they have to remove the nutritious parts of the wheat so it doesn't go bad. So you get all the vitamins and fiber by milling it yourself. I'm sure you knew that but that maybe helpful for others to know!

Tracey said...

Scott bought me a bosch for valentines day!! Everyone is waiting for my bread & i am feeling a little intimidated! Hopefully you do your class soon!!


Totally interested! Let me know.

Stephanie said...

I'm ready for the class. I've burned out mixers trying to make it. Can't wait for the Bosch someday. Can your class include how best to make it without the Bosch, since it will be a while before that great day? Thanks!