When I’m not making sourdough (which I need to get back into since the temps are nice and warm again), or when DH is tired of sourdough and is pining for “store yeast” bread, this is my bread of choice.
I think it’s loosely based on a recipe I found on King Arthur Flour website years ago, but it has morphed and changed a bit into what it is today.
1 1/3 c. warm water
handful rolled oats
1 Tbsp. molasses
1/4 c. sugar or honey
3 Tbsp. oil
2 c. whole wheat flour
2 c. white bread flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
Before we moved where we’re living now, I used to make decent bread and I even had people willing to pay good money for a loaf or two, but since I’ve moved up here, not sure if it’s a location thing or if I have just forgotten how to make bread, but whatever the case, I haven’t been as happy with my breadmaking results.
The crumb has been crumbly recently and I’ve been longing for that lovely, gluteny, chewy tooth feel that I get with less healthy, White Mountain type, store brand breads.
I went on a mission to figure out what I was doing wrong. I think I’ve figured it out. I wasn’t kneading the bread long enough (or at least I wasn’t having my machines [either my Kitchenaid stand mixer or my Bosch Universal]) mix long enough to develop the gluten properly. For some reason my brain was telling me that my dough was cracking as it rose because I’d overmixed the dough, but I was doing just the opposite.
Also, in reading Tammy (of Tammy’s Recipes)’s rundown of natural dough conditioners, I remembered some of the dough conditioners I used to add to my bread (i.e. ground ginger, ascorbic acid powder…) so I’ve been adding those back in as I can get them.
I also have been reading how bread consistency is helped by a preferment and autolysing or soaking some of the flour before mixing all the ingredients together, so I tried it yesterday and was so excited by the results. It adds a little more work, but accomplishes my desire to have my flour (or at least most of it) soak for 7+ hours before baking thus minimizing the phytates in the flour, plus the texture is so So SO much nicer! If I can figure out how to soak my flour overnight, I might try that, but for now, what I’ve managed is:
2 c. ww flour
1 c. water
1 tsp. yeast
1/3 c. water (try 1/4)
1/4 c. honey
1 Tbsp. molasses
Enough of 2 c. bread flour to mix with liquid
After Preferment and Autolyse have sat at room temperature for 3-4 hours,
1/4 c. oil
2 tsp. yeast (dissolved in just enough milk to cover)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
Pinch of ascorbic acid
2 tsp. pectin
Rest of 2 c. bread flour plus enough to get right consistency
2 Tbsp. vital wheat gluten
Will try a.s.a.p.:
1 rounded Tbsp. Malted Barley Flour
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 c. lecithin granules (I might start with less, Tammy uses 1/2 tsp. per loaf for her bread recipe so 1/4 c. per here sounds like an awful lot!)
Based on the aeration info here, I also tried to whip my preferment and autolysed mixes for about 3 minutes till they
were good and “fluffy” before I added the rest of the ingredients.
Then I added enough flour to get the right consistency and mixed on a 2 setting for about 10 minutes, let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then mixed for 10 more minutes (see here, then here) before transferring to a greased bowl for the first rise.
I’m not big on really crusty bread, I like a softer crust so have been in the habit of baking at 325 deg. for 20-25 minutes, but yesterday, I preheated to 475 deg. and turned the heat down to 325 deg. as soon as I put the loaves in. I think that helped with a little oven spring. Next time I might try an initial temp of 500 deg. Geo gave the crust 2 thumbs up. He said he usually doesn’t like crust, but this crust was nice and chewy like the bread, “kind of like Dad’s potato bread,” so it was just fine. I consider that a compliment :).
As far as more dough conditioners, I will add in lecithin granules and powdered ginger when I can get them from the store.
Another benefit from extending the time it takes to make a batch of bread is that I can slow the baking process down as needed (with the help of the fridge if need-be) allowing me to bake in the cooler evening parts of the day.
Mmmm, I’m anticipating this next batch of bread, can’t wait till it comes out of the oven…
ETA: Note to self--I really need to work on my loaf shaping technique. One thing at a time…
The oven spring wasn’t as high today as yesterday so I’ll go back to 475 deg. instead of 500 deg. for initial temp. Also, I think for the preferment, I might try adding less yeast and more yeast when I mix everything together. Either that or I’ll just add a little more yeast to the recipe as a whole. When it’s time for the final rise, I would like to see things work a little faster than they did tonight.
Ok, just tasted it and…. yum! And DH gave it the green light as well. I’m glad that the dough conditioners I added (pectin & ascorbic acid) didn’t alter the flavor negatively.