Monday, January 11, 2010

My Adventures in Breadmaking

Okay so this isn't an actual recipe, since I'm pretty sure that's copyright protected. A good friend of mine bakes her own bread and it is AMAZING. Actually, everything she cooks is amazing. I joke that whenever this particular friend invites you over for dinner (or any event that involves food), you should drop everything immediately and go to her house. Nothing has ever come out of her kitchen that wasn't positively divine, and that includes her cocktails. A few weeks ago, she recommended a breadmaking book to me. I finally picked up a copy last week. "Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day"


The basic premise of the book is a no-kneading (repeat: NO kneading) bread recipe that can be made ahead of time, stored in the refrigerator, and baked in small batches as needed. So I made the dough last night and popped it in the fridge (because they book recommended that for first time bakers... it's supposed to make the dough easier to handle). I opted to make sandwich bread instead of the signature free form artisan bread because we eat a lot of toast and sandwiches.

I pulled out all ingredients and prepared myself mentally, hoping I wouldn't screw it up.


You have to add the vital wheat gluten when you use whole wheat flour or the crumb (the interior of the bread) can turn out too dense. They explain why in the book. You mix all the dry ingredients before adding water so the gluten doesn't clump up.

Then you add water, mix, and let the dough rise for an hour or two before putting it in the fridge. 

The next day you transfer it to a loaf pan after shaping it a little. I didn't do so well with the shaping, but I don't think it will matter all that much for a loaf of sandwich bread. I will need to work on my dough shaping skills when I try to make a free form loaf.

Then you let it rest and rise a little more. Preheat the oven, paint with water, cut with a bread knife, and bake!

Then something truly magical happens... the house fills with the delightfully inviting smell of freshly baked bread. Your kitchen warms as heat escapes from the oven vent and your taste buds water with the anticipation of tasting your newest culinary creation! 

And voila! Bread!!

I have to wait for it to cool completely before I can give it a taste, but I'm contented just to smell it. Heaven smells like freshly baked bread. I'm convinced of it now.

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