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Category Archives: Breaking Bread

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I love baking bread.  I love the whole process, proofing the yeast, kneading the dough…first rise, second rise…the waft of fresh baked bread.  Delicious.  Satisfying.  Time consuming, but fun.  I made the mistake a year ago to buy some yeast so I could have fun making bread.  I bought in bulk…4 total pounds of yeast.  Fortunately, it was in 2 vacuum sealed bag, so one bag is still sealed.  But now, before it expires in December, I need to use some yeast.  So if you have ideas or requests, I’m taking them 🙂  That said, I have been working on mastering sandwich bread for our family.  My favorite recipe to date comes from none other than King Arthur Flour.  Of course those guys have figured out how to make good bread!

We have a few requirements.  My husband wants it to be big enough so he doesn’t have to make 2 sandwiches in order to not be hungry by mid-afternoon.  My daughter prefers “soft” bread.  I prefer name-able ingredients including a majority whole wheat.

Then we have the technique.  We had a lot of failed attempts.  Sometimes the middle fell in…weird shaped bread.  Sometimes it was just too big, we had to cut it to fit in sandwich containers.  Some were too dense, some with too many holes, etc.  But I think we found our winner!  Each time it just gets better.

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I would encourage you to read their blog on this bread,  but I’ve made some modifications, for better or worse…so here’s our recipe!

1 to 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water*
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 Tablespoons honey

2 Tablespoons molasses, or maple syrup
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup bread flour

2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast, or 1 packet active dry yeast dissolved in 2 tablespoons of the water in the recipe
1/4 cup Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dried milk
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Warm the water.  Dissolve the yeast with the honey.  Mix the flours, dry milk and salt in a bowl.  Add water and frothy yeast mixture and molasses.  Knead.  Knead until it is smooth and soft.  Set in a warm place to rise.  My best tip is to turn on your oven when you start and after about 3-4 minutes, turn it off.  Grease and cover a bowl with plastic and stick it in your warm oven until the dough doubles in size (about 1 1/2 hours).  Then shape it and put it in a greased pan.  Now, be patient here.

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Let it rise until it is about 1″ over the edge of the pan.  It may take an hour, it may take 2, just be patient!  I have tried to speed this up by using that same warm oven trick, but it doesn’t work here.  That makes the bread rise too quickly and then fall because there’s not enough structure.  Just let it rise.  Then bake.  Bake about 25 minutes at 350.  Cover with foil and bake another 10-15 minutes.  It should sound hollow when you tap on it.

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Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread – Success!

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2014 in Breaking Bread, Homemade Staples

 

Breaking Bread Together – Pumpkin Swirl Bread

Every day, but especially Sundays seem like a good time to reflect on breaking bread together.  Breaking bread together is not about the food, although I really enjoy the cooking part of it.  It’s really about the together.  In this act of sharing a meal, the most basic of human functions – to eat – we grow community.  I thought this chef reflected beautifully on the power of gathering around the table – http://southernbelly.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/my-table-and-what-i-love-about-food/.  So, gather around the table…and break bread.

For this particular blog, associating breaking bread with the Sabbath means fun bread recipes on Sundays…reminding us of the literal and figurative ways that we can break bread together.  And yesterday morning, we had some Pumpkin Cranberry Cinnamon Bread.

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It started on Friday night with me making some homemade pumpkin puree.  Trader Joe’s sells sugar pumpkins for $2.  Buy one, slice it in half, scrape the seeds, turn it face down on a pan and bake at 375 for about 45 minutes.  Let it cool for a few minutes, then pull off the outer peel, put the soft pumpkin meal in a blender with about 2 Tablespoons of water and puree.  This is what you get.

Pumpkin Collage

Now, about 2 years ago, I was scared of yeast breads.  I couldn’t seem to master them – they collapsed, they were inflexible and I failed.  So I stopped trying…until 2 friends decided to make an afternoon (read – 7+ hours) making a large batch of cinnamon rolls.  I was hooked!  So this is a yeast bread, but don’t be intimidated – it’s well worth it 🙂  I started with a recipe from Cooking Classy, made my modifications and enjoyed breakfast.  The one note to make is that it’s not worth it for breakfast.  Good yeast bread just takes time.  You can use various methods to rush it, but it’s best if you just give it plenty of time – less yeast, more time makes great bread.  Make it in the afternoon when you have time, not when you’re trying to have breakfast before 10AM!

Pumpkin Cranberry Cinnamon Swirl Bread

  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water, 110 degrees
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk, warmed to 110 degrees
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup homemade pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

For the swirl

  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup light-brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 2 Tablespoons walnuts, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup milk for brushing on loaf
Directions
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer combine water, yeast and 1/2 tsp granulated sugar. Whisk until yeast has dissolved and let rest 5 minutes. Stir in milk, maple syrup, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, salt, softened butter, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, egg and pumpkin puree until well combined.
  • Slowly add flour and knead about 10-15 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until double, about 1.5 hour.

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  • Butter an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ in pan, set aside.
  • In a small bowl whisk together brown sugar, cranberries, walnuts and cinnamon, set aside. Punch the risen dough down and turn onto a lightly floured surface. Roll dough into a large rectangle, about 22″ x 8.” Brush with melted butter, coming within about 1/2″ of the edges. Sprinkle with cinnamon mixture, coming within about 1/2″ of the edges. Roll dough up jelly roll style, starting with the short side. After each exposed roll of the dough, brush with milk to make a better seal.

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  • Place rolled dough in greased loaf pan and let rise in a warm place until doubled about 1.5 hours.
  • Bake 375 degrees for 45 minutes, tent loaf with foil halfway through baking to prevent excessive browning. Allow to cool in pan 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely (or at least 30 minutes) before slicing.

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Printable version: Pumpkin Cranberry Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Let us break bread together on our knees

Let us break bread together on our knees

When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun

O Lord, have mercy on me.

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Posted by on November 10, 2013 in Breaking Bread

 

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