Friday, March 21, 2008

How I Make Big Bread

baking bread: finished loaf

I've been making our bread from this recipe for several weeks now. I've changed it a little each time and I think that I've figured out the way that works best for us, so I thought I would post my new version. It's not much like the original method anymore, but I do think that the order in which the ingredients are added works out really well, so I haven't changed that at all. And the ingredients are all the same, only the amounts have been adjusted.

Adapted (not really all that) Big Bread
yields one loaf

2.5 tsp. yeast
1/4 c. warm water
1 c. hot water
1.5 T. sugar (plus a pinch)
1 tsp. salt
1.5 c. flour
3 T. oil
1.5 c. flour
1-2 T margarine, melted

Pour warm water into a small dish. Add yeast and a pinch of sugar. Stir and set aside.

In a large bowl, pour hot water over sugar and salt. Stir to dissolve. Add 1.5 c. flour to the water and stir until well combined. It will be wet and really sticky.

Pour oil, then yeast mixture on top of flour mixture. Top with remaining flour and stir/knead until dough is a fairly uniform ball. Now is the time to knead in any herbs or spices. Place in an oiled bowl and cover. I use a cookie sheet, but you could use a towel or plastic wrap. Leave in a warm place to rise for 60-90 minutes. I like to turn the oven on 250F and leave the bowl on the stovetop.

Once risen, knead dough for a FULL ten minutes on a floured board. Roll dough out into a large rectangle about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. The short end should be about 9-9.5 inches--the length of your loaf pan. If it's a little too long (like mine below), you can always squish it a bit when you put it in your loaf pan. It won't be quite as nice looking, but it will still turn out fine. If you want to make cinnamon raisin bread, now is when you would brush the dough with Earth Balance, sprinkle it heavily with cinnamon sugar and dot with raisins.

baking bread: dough rolled out

From the short end of the rectangle, roll dough into a log (like a swiss roll) and place into a greased loaf pan. Brush the top of the loaf with melted Earth Balance and set aside in a warm place to rise for another hour. I usually don't cover mine this time because I don't want anything to make the dough fall.

baking bread: dough rolled up

Bake at 375F for 20 minutes. Brush top with Earth Balance again. Bake for 5 minutes. The loaf should sound hollow when thumped. These photos are of a white bread that I made for sandwiches, but it works well with whole wheat, too. I usually let the dough rise for a little longer and knead for a few extra minutes when I'm making a whole wheat loaf. This bread makes a good sandwich bread, very tasty cinnamon raisin bread and some seriously awesome toast. It may sound time consuming and fussy, but it really isn't at all. I've always been fairly hopeless when it comes to baking bread, so I'm pretty sure that this will turn out for almost anyone.

1 comment:

jen o said...

i'm making this right now! thanks for posting it.