Friday, October 8, 2010

Homemade Bread by Hand

From my last posts about Grinding Wheat and Wheat Flour Follow Up, I wanted to show the differences between the flours in an actual recipe so that you could SEE the difference and not just read about it. The recipe below makes 2 loaves of bread.  What you'll see in the pictures is 3 halved recipes.  I didn't want to make a total of 6 loaves to show the difference between 3 flours.  I made one loaf of each using Bakers Bread Flour, Hard White Wheat Flour, and Hard Red Wheat Flour.

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp. Instant Dry Yeast
3 Cups Warm Water
1 Cup Honeyville's Milk Substitute (don't reconstitute this, just use the powder)
3 Tbsp. Honey
1 Tbsp. Salt
3 Tbsp. Honeyville's Powdered Shortening (don't reconstitute this, just use the powder)
7-8 Cups Flour

In a large bowl, pour Warm Water and sprinkle Yeast over top.  Add Milk powder, Honey, Salt, and Powdered Shortening.  Stir until dissolved.
Begin to add Flour to make a soft dough--about 7 cups total.  Sometimes more sometimes less.  Once it gets to this point I like to mix it with my hands as I begin to knead the dough.  I'll transfer the dough onto a floured surface to this.
This is the Hard White Wheat Flour dough.
Don't be nervous of kneading.  When I first started making bread and heard the word 'knead' I thought I'd have to go back in time 150 years, wear a hoop skirt, and draw water from a well a 1/2 mile yonder.  But I was wrong--it is easy!  I'll show you how:
video
If I hadn't been recording with my left hand I would have used it to help maneuver the loaf during my "quarter turn" step.  The dough shown is the Bakers Bread Flour dough.

Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic.  This bread dough felt like heaven in my hands it was so soft. 
Flour Dough from Left to Right: Bakers Bread, Hard White Wheat, Hard Red Wheat
Return the dough to the large bowl you started with.  Cover the bowl with a hand towel and let the dough raise until double. This could take an hour or longer, depending on the temperature of your home.  I happened to check mine at after an hour and it was ready.  Punch down dough, re-knead, re-shape and return dough to bowl and allow it to raise again until double.  I've been told it's because of the elevation  (approximately 4000 ft) where I live that is why I do it twice.  I've never tried bending the rules on this one.  But I'll try only raising it once and report back.

On a counter top punch down dough and separate into 2 mounds.  Using the same technique as kneading begin shaping each dough mound into a loaf shape.  I use two hands for this.  As you fold over the dough and push down with the heel of your hands, gently pull out so that the dough isn't circular but elongates and becomes a loaf shape.  Place the loaf-shaped dough into a greased loaf pan.  Cover and let raise 30 minutes.

Isn't she a beauty!  This is the Bakers Bread Flour dough all ready to be tossed in the oven.
Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes.  However don't be afraid it if takes more or less time.  I had an apartment where the oven cooked hot and every meal was always done 5 to 10 minutes sooner than any recipe said it would.  I allow the bread to cool for about 5 minutes in the pan and then I transfer to a cooling rack. 

Here is the finished product!

I cut the ends off so you could see the differences inside.  I wish I could bake heel-less bread!
When I let my husband have some he gave me a thumbs up and said, "mmm es goob, I luffet!" which translate to a mouthful of bread and "Mmm this is good, I love it!"  He took the Hard White Wheat Bread to work and shared it with his co-workers which got him invited to a weekly treat sharing group. 

Now I have to add a small, eensy disclaimer here. I only have 2 loaf pans. Therefore the Bakers Bread Flour dough was baked first by itself. I started shaping my Hard White Wheat flour dough and realized, "Wait a second how am I going to cook the third loaf!?!?" Therefore the Hard White Wheat flour dough raised for about 25 minutes longer in the pan than normal since it was waiting for the Hard Red Wheat flour dough to catch up, who was waiting for the Bakers Bread Flour dough to cook. Are we all confused now or what!

This bread really isn't hard to make, it just takes some time.  I didn't use any fancy equipment or wear a hoop skirt (but feel free to do so)!  Please try it and tell me what you think.  Leave a comment or email me your thoughts at blog@honeyvillegrain.com. I'd love to hear from you!

Happy Eating!

2 comments:

Brian~Cami~Rian said...

Is that why your finished loafs were different sizes? The longer they raise the shorter they are? Or is that just the different flours that make them that way? Is red wheat more nutritious than white wheat?

They look scrumptious and thanks for all the step by step tips. You really make baking bread look easy.

Cookin' Cousins said...

Great questions...

White Flour bread will always be bigger than the whole wheat flours. Our Bakers Bread flour has been cocnditioned with ascorbic acid, which increases volume and creates better texture. The longer the bread dough raises the bigger the loaf will be (but careful not to let it raise too long or it will fall and not work). The Hard WHITE wheat bread raised 25 minutes longer than the Hard Red wheat dough which is why the white wheat is a smidge bigger than the red. Nutritionally the Red and White Wheat are the same.