Thursday, June 10, 2010

A quest comes to an end...

In recent months my mom and I have begun to make as much of our food in our own home. I really enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing exactly whats in your food. We've been experimenting with everything from granola bars, to pickles, to bread. Bread has been the thing we've really been pursuing. A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a recipe that has quickly become our staple whole wheat bread and like so many other great things it was formed out of a flop.

This recipe was originally a cinnamon raisin bread recipe that I was making for my mom because its her favorite. Apparently I put too much cinnamon sugar in my bread because it didn't exactly stand up straight. My mom being the loving person that she is ate the bread even though it wasn't stellar. After the loaf was gone she said "You know that bread had really good whole wheat flavor." and so I decided to tweak it to better suit our needs.

I'm so glad I did because this has become our go to whole wheat bread recipe. it's great for sandwiches or toasted with butter. It's got a nice sweetness but also has the healthy element of whole wheat. Plus its super simple. The recipe goes like this:

- 2 cups Bread flour
- 1 cup of whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cup of warm water (104-108 degrees F)
- 3 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 ¼ teaspoons yeast
- 1 tablespoon of canola oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 egg

Add the water to a warmed bowl (run it under some hot water so it will keep the temp. )
Add the 3 TBL of sugar. Stir briefly to dissolve.
Sprinkle the half packet of yeast over the top. DO NOT STIR. Cover bowl with towel and let rest for a few minutes.
Check yeast to see if it's puffing up. If the yeast is still grainy and not puffy, throw it out and start all over. Inactive yeast will cause your bread to flop.
Add 1 cup of whole wheat flour and stir vigorously with a whisk for a minute.
Add the salt and the canola oil. Stir vigorously again.
Add 1 cup of bread flour and stir with a wooden spoon.
Continue to add the bread flour 1/2 cup at a time until it is too stiff to stir and is hardly sticky at all.
Dump dough onto a floured surface and knead with your hands.
Add light sprinklings of flour as needed and continue to knead until the dough is nice and tight.
Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a towel and let it rise until doubled in size. (at least 30-40 minutes)
Punch down the dough to release the air bubbles, cover again and let it rise again.

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface and form a loaf.

Place into a greased loaf pan and allow to rise for about 20 minutes. Now preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

If you want a nice sheen to the top of your loaf this is the time to brush on some egg wash. Scramble the 1 egg in a bowl with about a 1/4 cup of water and brush this mixture over the top of your loaf.
18. Bake loaf 35-45 minutes. Check for doneness by pulling the loaf out and tapping it on the bottom. If it sounds hollow- it's done. If it still sounds dense put it back in for a few more minutes and check again.
When it's done, immediately remove it from the pan and place on a cooling rack to to rest.
Cut it and eat it! Just remember not to wrap the bread while it's still warm because it will get soggy. Let it come to room temperature before storing it in a zip loc bag. It stores well in the fridge and the freezer.

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