Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Aroma of Bread

There's nothing like the smell of baking bread to make you feel warm and comfortable ... and hungry! Just wait to get the "heel" of the loaf soon after it comes out of the oven. Slather it with butter! Speckle it with crumbly blue cheese. Hmmm, good! And making bread from scratch is a wonderful way to ease away stress and tension. Here's a simple recipe. If you make it regularly enough, you'll soon be introducing your own variations to make the loaf sweeter, moister, crustier or to shape small dinner buns. You'll realise that there are many variables when you make bread - and over time, you will be able to adjust time, temperature, quantities of ingredients - a drier or stickier dough - the rising time and even your own mood!

Half and Half Wholewheat Bread
these ingredients make two loaves; takes about 3-4 hours

White flour, 4 -5 cups
Wholewheat flour, 4 cups
Butter, one-quarter pound (or one stick)
Yeast, dried, one pack (10 gms)
Brown sugar, two heaping tablespoons
Salt, teaspoon
Water, 2 cups

Mix 4 cups each white and whole wheat flours, and cut in butter. Mix yeast in the water (at 28-30 C) and a spoon of sugar. When the yeast mixture is frothy, use your hands to crumble the flour mixture and add yeast mixture. Add the rest of the sugar and salt. Use your hands to combine everything into a soft dough. Continue kneading until the dough is of an even texture, soft and pliable but not sticky. If it is sticky, dust with flour and continue to knead. Roll into a ball and put aside to rise (in a warm spot) covered with a cloth.
Shape into a ball and set aside to rise...

After an hour, it should have doubled  in size. Punch down with your fist and knead again into a ball. Leave to rise for another 30-40 minutes. Grease your bread pans (you may use round glass baking dishes if you don't have bread pans). When the dough has risen again, punch down and cut into pieces to fit your pans. Shape into loaves and put into the pans - they may look too small for the pan, remember they can rise to double their volume. Don't let them "over rise."
Two loaves, risen to fill the pans - they will continue to rise a bit more in the oven

Bake at 350 degrees (180C) for 45 minutes to an hour or until there's a hollow feel when you knock the crust. Remove from the oven to cool for 10 minutes. Knock the bread out of the pans and cool on a rack. You should have a nice crust and soft insides. Enjoy!
The loaf will slice well when properly cooled.

Slather with butter, spread some cheese!

4 comments:

  1. mmm home cooked bread with blue cheese! Much better than the grocery bough bread!

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  2. Do you use the instant yeast? It seems to be the only one we can get here these days. I prefer the traditional yeast, and I find the instant yeast always leaves a yeasty taste. Any way to fix that?

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  3. Too yeasty - I think you could use half pack instead of the whole pack... that's what I used to do.

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