As I've noted in the past, I cook at least a loaf of bread each week. My most common bread, the staple of my diet, is a multi-grain whole wheat bread I've been perfecting for some time. Here's how it's made:
4 ½ teaspoons of yeast
2 cup of warm water
3 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of sugar
2 cup of whole grain flower
1 ½ cup of white flower
½ cup of Flax seed
½ cup of oat flower
½ cup of Rye flower
4 teaspoons of wheat guten
1 teaspoon of salt (to inhibit yeast)
The recipe can vary by 1/4 cup of flower depending on the humidity. I use a mixer to kneed my dough, and keep it rather sticky. For kneeding by hand, more flower might is necessary to keep it from just sticking to your hands.
The process for mixing is as follows. If using a metal mixing bowl, warm it by running hot water of it from 30 seconds. Put the 2 cups of warm water into mixing bowl. Water should be around 120 degrees F (48 C), but no warmer. If you don't have a thermometer , use water at a temperature comfortable to wash your hands. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar and yeast. Mix well with beaters or a fork so yeast is uniformly distributed. Set bowl off to the side to allow yeast to culture.
In a large container with a top that seals, mix the remaining ingredients. Put top on container and shake throughly to mix the ingredients. If you don't have a container like this, just use a seperate bowl and mix with a wooden spoon. The time needed to finish measuring and mixing should have given the yeast plenty of time to grow. When using a mixer to kneed, omit 1/2 cup of flower to be added during the kneeding process.
Add dry ingredient mix to water and yeast. With a mixer, just use the dough hook. Otherwise, use a wooden spoon. Note that whole wheat dough is thick and you will need to be some work into mixing and kneeding. If you are using a mixer, be sure to consult the manual to make sure you are not exceeding it's capabilities or you could burn it out. Add remaining flower as the dough takes it. If your dough is too dry, flower will simply remain at the bottom and won't stick to the forming ball. If the dough is too wet, it will stick to everything and not form a ball. With a mixer, this stage is pretty easy because it doesn't take long to see how the dough is doing. By hand it will take a while.
Kneeding by hand takes about 10 minutes. I found I need to keep adding flower during the kneeding process or the dough becomes too sticky. By mixer, kneeding only takes a couple minutes. By the time the flower is mixed in correctly and a good ball forms, kneeding is finished. Since I keep my dough sticky, I lightly powder my hand in flower before removing the dough from the dough hook. Once kneeding is finished, set the dough on aside on a powdered surface and wash out the mixing bowl. Once clean, dry it and give it a spray of oil. I found a nice olive oil spray that works great. Other cooking sprays will likely work fine. If you don't have any cooking spray, grease will work-- you won't need much at all.
Put the dough into the lubricated bowl and cover. I usually cover the bowl with a rubber banded plastic bag to trap moisture and place a dry towel on the top. You could place a damp cloth on the top too, but with plastic, you don't need to wash or dry anything afterwards. Set the bowl in a warm place. If you're oven has a "warm" setting, use it and set the bowl on top of oven. If you don't, boil about 1/2 gallon of water. Set the pan in the oven on the lower shelf and set the bowl of dough above it. The heat rising from the water will warm the bowl. Don't put the bowl into the oven if it's on, even on a low setting, as it will likely be too hot for the yeast. The optimal temperature for rising is about 80 degrees F (26 C). If the temperature rising above 120 F, it will kill the yeast, and dead yeast won't rise.
Allow the dough to rise for about 30 to 45 minutes. If your dough is sticky, rising takes less time. If your dough is pretty stiff, it will take longer. The dough should double in size.
After the first rise, poor the dough into a lightly powdered or oiled surface. Punch it down and kneed about 10 folds. Oil/grease the bread pan. Shape the dough such that it is evenly thick through out the length of the bread pan. Put dough in pan, cover again and allow to rise. This recipe is for a large loaf, and a 9x5" bread pan should be used. Note that the dough will rise to almost twice the height of the pan.
At this point, I typically set a timer for 20 minutes of 30 minute rise. When the timer goes off, I start the preheat on the oven and allow the dough to continue it's rise. The dough should be pretty large in pan. Uncover and place pan in over at 350 degree F (177 C) and bake for 30 minutes. After about 20 minutes, the kitchen should smell pretty good.
After baking, remove bread pan from oven. If properly oiled, the loaf of bread should fall out of the pan by simply turning the pan on it's side. Most recipes say to allow the bread to cool on a wire rack, so moisture doesn't build up in any one area. If you don't have a wire rack and have a gas stove, set the bread on a metal rack over a cold burner. If you don't have any racks of any kind, don't worry about it-- just let the bread cool somewhere.
I always cut off a slice of bread once it's right out of the oven. Give it just a few seconds to cool and you can start eating it-- and there is nothing at the store that compares. Use a bread knife to cut the bread. If you don't have one, any serrated knife will work (like a stake knife). Your normal knife won't work well at all as you need to basically saw the bread, not slice it.
The bread is quite good for you, and I've made it a staple of my diet.
Each loaf is about 9x5x4 inches and I estimate about 10 slices. Listed are the loaf in it's entirity, a 1" slice and a 1" slice with 1 tablespoon of strawberry jam (100% fruit jam).
||Slice w/ Jam
|Calories from fat