Friday, August 19, 2011

Bread Baking

I am en route to Philly for the Healthy Living Summit!  I am so excited and can hardly wait.  Yet I have been delayed in the Atlanta airport.  As if I wasn't anxious I have to sit around and wait even longer.

Luckily I have internet and some fun photos to share with you.  Yesterday I spent my day with a good friend baking bread.  Kelly has recently started her own business, Little Kelly Cakes.  She specializes in cheesecakes but also has a passion and talent for baking breads.  She invited me over yesterday for a bread-baking lesson and I how could I possibly turn that down?

You know I received a bread maker as a gift several months ago, and since I have not purchased a loaf of bread from the store.  In fact, the only other bread I have bought was Kelly's bread!  While the bread maker is great for its convenience and ease, I will be the first to admit it doesn't produce the quality loaves that kneading by hand will deliver!  The two loaves Kelly and I made yesterday surpassed all the loaves I have created in the bread maker.  While I will never give up the Breadman, I will certainly appreciate the hard work and time that goes into bread making without a machine!
Multi-grain on cooling racks
Yesterday we mixed, kneaded, shaped and baked two different types of bread.  Mine was a multi-grain loaf and Kelly made a basil loaf.  In the end, each batch made two loaves so I got to take one of each home and enjoy!  I honestly have no idea which is my favorite.  The multi-grain is amazing for its crunchy grains, dense, wholesome structure and chewy crumb.  The basil bread has amazing flavor, fresh from the garden and a light and airy crumb. 
Basil Bread prior to baking
Kelly was an amazing teacher and I am fully confident now I could bake at home...but why would I, her kitchen is amazing!
Kneading the dough was fun.  I like to get my hands a little dirty from time to time!
Watching the dough rise and seeing the success of my labors was a magical feeling!
And of course, taste-testing each loaf the minute I made it home was the best part of the day!  In fact, we have already made it through 1/2 of the multi-grain loaf and a little way into the basil loaf.

Multi-Grain Bread (from scratch)
makes two loaves

½ cup buckwheat
½ barley
½ soft wheat berries
½ rye berries
3 cups boiling water
2 tbsp flax seeds
1/2 warm water 105-115*
1 tbsp yeast
pinch of sugar
1 cup non-dairy milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup honey
¼ cup coconut butter
¼ cup vital wheat gluten
2 cup whole wheat flour
2-3 cups bread flour

Combine buckwheat, barley, soft wheat berries, and rye berries and flax seeds in small bowl.  Fill with 3 cups boiling water and soak 1 hour.
In measuring cup or small bowl combine 1/2 cup warm water, 1 tbsp active dry yeast and a pinch of sugar.  Stir together and set aside 5 minutes or until foamy.

In another measuring cup or small bowl combine 1 cup non-dairy milk with 1 tbsp lemon juice.  Set aside for 5 minutes or more to allow milk to come to room temperature and lemon juice to curdle.

In mixer bowl combine 2 cups whole wheat flour, honey, coconut butter, vital wheat gluten.  In a stand mixer using the mixing blade combine until a fine crumb forms.  Add in yeast mixture and combine until just mixed.  Add in milk and lemon juice mixture and mix until well combined.  

Drain the soaked grains and add them to the mixer.

Add in bread flour 1 cup at a time until mixer can no longer blend (Do not exceed 3 cups total).  Dough will be tacky but will not stick to your fingers. Remove mixing blade and bowl from stand mixer and bring to a clean and floured surface.  Drop dough onto surface and sprinkle 1-2 tbsp bread flour onto dough and hands.  

Begin to knead flour into dough, folding dough towards the middle and turning as you knead.  Dough should be shaggy and a little tacky.  If it begins sticking to the surface or your hands add in more flour, careful not to add in too much.  Knead for 10-15 minutes. 
Dough will be ready when it comes together to form a bowl, springs back easily when pressed and is no longer sticking to your hands or the surface, but is still rather shaggy looking.  At this point, roll dough into a ball.

In a medium sized bowl, pour 1 tbsp olive oil and spread around the bottom of the bowl.  Place the dough ball in and roll all over in the oil.  Make sure the surface of the dough is well covered in oil to keep it from drying out.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm space to rise for 1 hour.

After 1 hour, remove dough from bowl and gently pull into 2 equal parts.  

Lay 1 part flat on counter top.  If it sticks you can add just a little flour or oil, but try not to.  Spread dough into a rectangle shape with the short side the same length as your bread pan.  Spread until dough is about the size of an 8x10 sheet of paper.  

Tri-fold dough on itself.  Take one short end and fold toward the middle (a little farther than the middle) and then fold the other part on top of the first.  Pinch together the ends and the seam.  Place seam side down in prepared bread pan (sprayed with olive oil non-stick spray).  Repeat process with second loaf.  

Cover each loaf with plastic wrap and return to warm space to rise a second time, for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325*  Bake loaves in oven for 40 minutes.

After 40 minutes, pull out one loaf and tap the center.  If it sounds hollow it is finished.  If not, return it to oven for an additional 5 minutes and remove.  
Place bread on cooling rack.  Cool completely before slicing.  (Resist the temptation!)

5 grains all mixed together
Mixing the flour with coconut butter and honey

Mixing altogether
Place dough on a floured surface
Kneading the Dough

Before the rise
After the rise, it should double in size
Shaping the dough
Stretching and folding
Finished Product
Thanks Kelly for teaching me how to bake bread yesterday!  I can't wait till our next lesson!

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