About Me

Musings of a hopeful wanderer.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Bakers in training

In our never-ended attempt to become independent of the grocery store, Ed and I tried our hands at bread making this weekend.  (By "Ed and I" I of course mean he did everything and I took pictures.)  The end was result wasn't a beautiful loaf, but it was delicious and free from all the artificial sweeteners, preservatives, HFCS and whatnot they put in bread these days.  Plus, it wasn't as hard or as time-consuming as we thought it'd be.  This is the recipe we used (though we didn't follow it to a T).

We decided to go for a super hearty, oat-y, nutty, seedy bread.  Of course.  First, mix your whole wheat flour and yeast together.  Set aside.
Then, heat up some milk, honey, and olive oil in a pan until it smells so good you can hardly stand it.  Or, you know, until the honey melts.
Next, add the milk-honey mixture into the flour-yeast mixture.  We also added about a cup of chopped nuts, rolled oats and seeds.  Use an electric mixer on it for a good 2-3 minutes, adding the nuts/seeds/oats slowly as you go.
Once it's good and mixed, knead that sucker.  And knead. And knead. And knead some more.
Once it resembles a bread loaf, put it in a greased bowl and let rise.

Because it's so thick and our apartment is so humid, it took about an hour for it to rise.  We kind of "eye-balled" it, since we had no idea what it was meant to look like when it was adequately risen.  Almighty Google told me that if you make an indention in the dough with your fingers and it doesn't spring back up, it's done.

Is it adequatley risen?  Good, now give it a good few punches and let sit again for about 10 minutes (this, I'm told, helps release some of the carbon dioxide from the yeast).  Finally, form into a loaf, top with more oats and seeds, and bake 30 minutes or so on 375.

The result?

Not the most attractive, but good!  And it gives us some idea of what we did wrong (too many "extras", not enough flour, probably not totally risen) and what we did right (the milk-honey addition is SO GOOD).

Any novice (or not-so-novice) bread makers that can dispense advice?


  1. I usually use this recipe for making everyday-ish bread: http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/01/light-wheat-bread/

    It works well for sandwiches/toast, but it doesn't keep that great (3-4 days before it gets pretty hard, although still ok for toast). I think that's pretty common with homemade bread though. I don't really have any advice, except it can never hurt to let it rise a little longer (unless the dough starts threatening to take over the kitchen). Also, be sure you have the right kind of yeast (instant vs. not). And bread flour/add extra gluten.

    But that looks delicious! I've never made something with so many goodies in it - I'm a little intimidated by goodies :)

  2. Bread is so scary to me! I've tried a few loafs but I always fail. And it's such a bummer, especially since it takes so long with the rising and all. I mostly stick to quick breads, but I'm determined to get it right!

    At least your loaf is edible. That alone is mighty impressive for a first timer!

  3. I've made bread using this recipe--http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/easiest-focaccia-recipe/Detail.aspx

    It's incredibly easy and that's what I used the first time I tried to make bread. I've also made it with whole wheat flour instead of white (1 cup whole wheat is the same as 1 cup white). You can top it with whatever you want. I've done cheese, shallots, red pepper flakes. Obviously you can add what you want to the dough, too--I intend to add olives and make an olive bread. Have fun!!