Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Start with Bread

I opened this space a loooooong time ago. Food and I have a long complicated history. And my relationship changed forever when I started to cook. At one point it was enough that I got to eat something cool but now the experience is not complete till I can reproduce the dish/ alter it to my tastes.

I like to cook. I wish I could say things like it relaxes me. It does not- I cook like I do most do things - with adrenaline, stress poured in, hating myself for not being better even the first time. But I enjoy it. It is what I like to do that I do not have to do.

So to backtrack I opened this space a loooong time ago. I wanted to file away the things I enjoyed making, enjoyed eating and sharing. But I never did anything about till now.

And I will start with bread. Simple, wholesome bread. My husbands face as he eats bread is another reason I love the man. It is such a simple yet bordering carnal experience to eat good bread. And he appreciates it as deserves to be appreciated.

This is a recipe for a bread with some oats thrown in. I am working through some recipes from the King Arthur site. I also recently switched to King Arthur for all my baking and have been kicking myself for being a cheapskate and not doing it earlier. That one dollar that I am shelling out extra per 10 lb bag - very very worth it.

I am relative new comer to baking. The strictness of baking in that there is no stirring, tasting and adjusting makes it less enjoyable to me. But after some success the taste of fresh homemade bread makes the rest of the process more bearable.

I changed the recipe a bit and in place of 3 cups of Bread Flour used 2 cups of Bread Flour and 1 cup of whole wheat flour. I have made the recipe as is and it is delicious, the altered version is a bit denser but still very tasty.

Edited to add
I wanted to add what I did since I was told that some of my friends could not bring themselves to click on a link to get at the ingredients. So -
I added
2 cups bread flour (King Arthur)
1 cup white whole wheat flour (King Arthur)
1 cup of oatmeal
1 and 1/4 cup low fat milk
1 and half tablespoons butter melted a little in the microwave
2 tsp yeast.
3 tablespoons brown sugar

Warm the milk in the microwave until it feels lukewarm to touch. It should NOT be hot at all. Add a tsp of the sugar and add the yeast. Set the stuff aside for around 8 minutes to proof.

Add all the dry ingredients and the butter and the yeast. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until a smooth dough is formed. Form a ball with the dough and place it in an oiled container and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for an hour. The dough should be a little sticky. I have a feeling that my dough was a little on the drier side and might have risen more if it were a tad wetter.

Punch the dough down after the hour and shape into a log. Put the dough into an oiled loaf pan. Let the dough rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hr. I let mine rise for a full one and half hours. It should rise above the top of the loaf pan and should be 1 to 2 " above the top of the loaf pan.

Now heat the oven at 350 F and bake for 35 minutes. Take out and cool before slicing into it.
This is a slightly sweet loaf and lovely for sandwiches.

Edited to add- do taste the dough before the first rise. This dough should be on the sweeter side.

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