Wednesday, February 10, 2010

adventures in breadmaking


I made bread dough tonight. I've started making it at night, then putting it in the refrigerator to rise overnight. In the morning I take it out and punch it down and put it in loaf pans for a second rise and poof! Easy peasy bread.

Speaking of pans I found some I love. I had been using Pyrex loaf pans, but I only had two and two loaves of bread last a day around here. So I make three loaves worth, but the third loaf was always a problem. Sometimes I just free-formed it and baked it in an 8x8 Pyrex dish, sometimes I turned it into sixteen small round rolls in the 8x8 dish, and sometimes I put 1/3 of the dough back in the fridge to wait its turn for one of the loaf pans. The obvious solution to this problem would have been to buy another Pyrex loaf pan but I couldn't find one shaped right. So, I bought this kind instead. It's made by Simax, a Czech company, out of borosilicate glass, just like Pyrex. But the shape is so much better for bread, long and skinny. I make loaves that are about 25 ounces and they are perfect in these pans. I have two and I want another. Nice little discovery!


My bread recipe:

- 2.5 cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 4 tablespoons oil
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


I mix everything but the flour together in a large bowl. Then I dump in 8 cups of flour, keeping a half-cup of all-purpose back to knead with. Mix the dough in the bowl with a big wooden spoon until you just can't, then dump it out on a table and work in that last half-cup of flour with your hands. You should knead it for ten minutes or so, it'll get very silky and smooth. Plop it back in the bowl and cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge overnight. In the morning it will be very, very risen. Take it out, punch it down, and shape it into loaves and put them in oiled loaf pans. Cover them up with plastic wrap and let them rise til they're about twice as big. Take off the wrap, put them in a 350 degree oven and bake until they're a nice deep brown, about 40-45 minutes. Makes 3 one and a half pound loaves of bread.