Friday, May 20, 2011

whole-wheat bread



You know how most people think about what they would want to do with their lives if they knew they only had a few more days to live? Well I think about all the things that I would want to eat. Considering the fact that we are apparently all doomed as of Saturday, I should probably start loading up my plate. There are so many recipes I want to try! 

Alright, so I'm not exactly a firm believer that the world is going to end anytime soon, but it got me thinking as to what I'd like to try making.

 

And the answer is: EVERYTHING. 

I've barely scraped the surface yet. The possibilities are endless! It's almost exhausting, really. Yesterday I went to the most adorable, yet little known, bakery in town and tasted the most delicious chocolate-chai cupcake ever. Rich, dark and moist with just a tiny spicy kick. I'm really craving another one now. Which made me really want to find that "perfect" chocolate cake recipe. I still haven't figured it out yet, but I'm sure I will with more experimentation. 

The thing is, it's all about the quality of the ingredients. Good quality cocoa powder and chocolate makes all the difference, but it's difficult to always use that when it's really expensive. But I think sometimes it's just necessary in order to get the best results. So that shall be my next quest! If anyone has any suggestions I would really appreciate it.


As for this time, it's something a little more traditional. I've always loved simple baked goods and bread couldn't be anymore comforting. I've made bread at school before but it was different when I attempted it at home. For one, I don't have a proofer to help the dough rise faster, but there's something nice about letting dough rise on its own. And then shaping it, baking it and cutting that first slice to reveal the soft and warm interior. Honestly, there's not much out there that can beat fresh bread.

Unless that bread is accompanied by some cheese, fresh vegetables, fruit and a picnic outside in the sun. Yup, that pretty much does it.



This post is featured on Sweet as Sugar Cookies: Sweets for a Saturday

Whole-wheat bread

Yields two 9x5" loaves
Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma Baking Book

Ingredients

1 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
a pinch of brown sugar
1 cup (250 ml) warm water (40-45 degrees C)
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) tepid buttermilk (32 C)**
1/4 cup (75 g) maple syrup or honey
1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
1 tbsp salt
3 cups (470 g) whole-wheat flour
3 1/2 - 4 cups (545-625 g) bread flour

**If you don't have buttermilk you can replace it with milk and vinegar. For every cup of buttermilk, place 1 tbsp of white vinegar in a 1 cup measuring cup and fill the rest with milk. Let it sit for about 10 minutes until it's slightly foamy and thicker. 

Procedure

In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast and brown sugar over the water and stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.


In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the buttermilk, maple syrup, oil, salt and 2 cups (315 g) of whole-wheat flour. Beat on medium-low until creamy, 1 minute. Beat in the yeast mixture and the remaining whole-wheat flour, beat for 1 minute. Beat in the bread flour 1/2 cup (75 g) at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides (you may not need all the flour, so make sure to check after each addition). Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed, adding bread flour 1 tbsp at a time if the dough sticks, until smooth but slightly sticky, about 5 minutes. Test if ready by taking a small piece of dough and stretching it out slowly. If it doesn't tear and you sort of see spiderwebs, it's ready. 


Transfer dough to a lightly oiled deep bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap or a tea towel. Leave to rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 - 1 1/2 hours.


Lightly grease two 9x5" loaf pans. Punch down the dough by bringing the sides in toward the middle. 


Divide dough in half (try to weigh them if you can for more accuracy) and shape each half into a rectangle. Fold over the edge of one long side (like when sealing an envelope) and roll up dough like a log and continue rolling until it's the length of the pan. Place the loaves, seam side down, in the pans. Again, cover loosely with plastic wrap or tea towels and let rise until about 1 inch over pan rims, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350F and bake until loaves (tops and bottoms) are golden brown and pull away from the sides, 35-40 minutes. Turn out onto wire rack and let cool completely.

5 comments:

  1. how cool!! Seems simple enough but I am sure the right technique is necessary. It looks so yummy and aromatic!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree...I would want to eat everything I haven't tried yet if the world were ending!

    This bread looks so good! I just made strawberry jam...they would be great together!

    ReplyDelete
  3. This looks like it turned out great! My husband doesn't believe that whole wheat bread can turn out as light as white bread. I need to try this one out!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi! I'm having a linky party called A Themed Baker's Sunday where this week's theme is cheesecake! I'd love for you to join and link up! If you don't have a cheesecake recipe, I'd love for you to come back for this next weeks theme, which is tomorrow, and it's cakes and cake pops!
    http://cupcakeapothecary.blogspot.com/2011/05/themed-bakers-sunday-5.html#comments
    Alyssa

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love homemade bread and this loaf looks so perfect! Like a soft pillow I can lean on, so beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

    I'm hosting a little giveaway on my blog. Please stop by to enter if you're interested. Here's the link:

    http://utry.it/2011/05/hong-kong-macau-and-australia-trippart.html

    Have a wonderful weekend.

    Amy
    http://utry.it

    ReplyDelete

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