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Bread recipe please

545 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Mumum
For some unknown reason, my bread always turns out not the way it is supposed to.
I am a pastry chef, so you would think that I would have it down pat, but I guess bread and pastry are two separate things.

So anyway, I would love to make my own bread, using a tried and tested recipe.
I want to use ww flour, and would also like to use some flax, oats, wheat germ and olive oil too.

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This is my favourite ww bread recipe. I did a lot of recipe testing before I found this one. It's from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest by Mollie Katzen. It's great for experimenting and adding all sorts of stuff. I have tried various additions, everything from different kinds of flour (triticale and spelt, for example) to wheat germ and cornmeal, to cheese, raisins and cinnamon, etc.

Basic Bread Recipe

my comments in italics

The Sponge:

2 c. wrist-temperature water
a drop of honey or molasses I use honey
1 scant T or 1 package active dry yeast
1.5 c whole wheat bread flour I have seen flour marketed as "for bread machines" but I have no idea what that is, so I just get regular, hard ww flour

Place the water in a large bowl, stir in sweetener and sprinkle yeast over top. Let stand a while.

She says a minute or two; I tend to go by the classic 10 minutes.

Beat in the flour with a whisk, cover with a tea towel and put in a warm place to rise for 35-40 minutes.

The Mix:

4 T melted butter or canola oil I use butter most of the time, but don't notice a huge difference when I'm out and use oil
1/3 c honey or molasses I use honey
1 T salt

Whisk mix together and beat into risen sponge.

The Bread:

3-7 c whole wheat flour

The recipe actually calls for 3 c ww plus approximately 4 c all-purpose, but I have *never* even gotten close to getting 7 cups of flour into this, so I finally gave up and just used all ww since I was getting less than a cup of AP in there anyway.

Add the flour to the mix 1 cup at a time, going from wooden spoon to floured hand, and finally turning the dough out onto a floured surface.

Knead for 10-15 minutes, adding extra flour as necessary to combat stickiness.

I usually get about an extra half to full cup into it through the kneading process.

Put dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease all surfaces. Cover with a tea towel and let rise until bulk has doubled, about 1.5 - 2 hours.

IME, 2 hours.

Punch down, knead again (the usual drill) and shape into 2 loaves. Place in greased loaf pans, turning to grease all over, cover with towel, let rise until doubled.

IME, about 60-90 minutes.

Bake at 375 for about 40 minutes, or until loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove to a rack and wait at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Good luck waiting! I always want a fresh slice off the heel *right away*.

Optional Variations/Additions

- Beat an egg into the mix; reduce water by 1/4 cup.
- Replace up to 1 c of flour with wheat germ.
- Add seeds.
- Add up to 1 c of chopped dried fruit, nuts or cooked grains.
- Brush top of loaf before baking with butter for a soft crust, milk for a brown crust, egg for a shiny crust.
- Mist with water during baking for a crisp crust.
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I highly recommend The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book. Their desem is unspeakably delicious, although it does take time to develop the starter. We are currently enjoying their overnight sponge bread recipe. All whole wheat, too!

This book is the best I've seen for whole grain bread baking, and they are scientific about the process, so one can really learn how to improve.

May you and your enjoy many wonderful, nourishing loaves ahead!
Thankyou so much for your recipes and recomendations.
I am excited to get going and start making bread, but it is so tempting to just want to eat the whole loaf right there and then!

Dc will be excited, too she is 3 and loves to cook
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I had good luck with this. Plus it uses cheap ingredients. I'm trying it today using my (not so great) sourdough starter, with no sugar- I'll let ya know.
I have been trying to find the thread that I read some time ago where there were some posts by Cathe Olsen. She laid out the steps on making your own sourdough starter (it is rye flour or whole wheat, with water that is left to sit on the counter for some time). It worked for me the first time, and was impressed with how easy it was. I will keep looking.
I have been keeping my starter in the fridge and have been feeding it once a week. Sometimes I am little neglectful and go a couple of weeks without feeding it but manage to revive it quite easily. Anyway, I have recently renewed my bread-making and have discovered a successful recipe that is soooo easy. My Kitchen-Aid mixes all the ingredients up and even does the kneading (or is it kneeding?). This recipe makes 2 smallish loaves but I just discovered that I can make them bigger and lighter by letting the dough rise a little longer. The whole process takes 24 hours (approx) and makes a very nice bread.
In the morning, I grind 5 cups of whole wheat flour.
Add 2 1/1 tsp sea salt.
Slowly mix in 1 cup of warm water.
Then add 1/2 cup of starter.
Then add 3/4 cup more water. (I add the starter in between the two amounts of water because it mixes through better)
Add 2 tbsp olive oil.
Knead until dough is smooth, or knead longer. I clean the kitchen while the machine does its job.
Place the dough in a bowl, covered with a wet tea towel. I keep it in the oven, so it is out of the way, and not too cold. (Just remember to remove it from the oven if you plan on using it!). I leave it all day to rise.
At night before bed, I punch it down, cut the dough in half and form two loaves. Oil the 2 loaf tins, and place loaves in tins. They are about the size of large feild cucumbers. In the morning, they are ready to be cooked - 350F for about 45 minutes. Oh, before putting the bread in the oven, I make 3 slits in the top of the bread with a very sharp knife, and very carefully so as not to deflate the bread.
I read a great tip in Julia Child's cookbook - How to tell when bread is cooked (the easy way)? - use a meat thermomoter. Bread is cooked at 200F. So, at about the 40 minute mark, I test the temperature. Much easier than trying to get the bread out of the pan and knocking on the bottom to see if there is a hollow noise! The last time I followed this recipe, it must have been warmer in the house, becaue the bread rose more than usual. I was worried that it had raised too much but it turned out beautifully! It showed my how much I could push my starter. The loaves look quite small to begin with, before the second rising, but then puffed up to the edge of the tins. The loaves are small compared to conventional loaves found in the stores, but this recipe works for the tins I have. One could probably make one large loaf.
This works for me. I am not an expert, and I have not been doing this for a long time, but I have been so pleased with my latest attempts that I thought that I would share my sourdough bread recipe. I will keep looking for the information on the starter. Most of the other info I have come across calls for white flour, but I use strictly whole grains and have had good luck.
Sorry for rambling....I am new to this so I hope I am posting it in the right place.
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THanks so much for the sourdough recipe. I love sourdough, and love whole grains too, and have been thinking about making a starter, so thanks for providing me a tried and tested recipe!

I made some great bread yesterday w/ brown sugar and evapourated milk.
The evap milk was not in the recipe, and thought that I had killed the yeast at one point, but everything turned out really well.
My 13 month old daughter ate nearly half the loaf, so it must have been good!!
I found it! Here is the thread that has the recipe for your own starter (bottom of the page):
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