Friday, July 13, 2012

The Blue Faerie: Witch, Baker, Stonemason

Cooking Adventure: 100% Whole Wheat Bread
Source: King Arthur Flour
The Bellydance Soundtrack: Disko Boy by Shantel
Prep Time: 2-4hrs.
Cook Time: 35-40min.
I've recently learned two things:
1. It's more cost-effective and time-saving to buy your bricks ready-made at Home Depot. The time that goes into waiting for a brick to rise simply doesn't make home brick-baking a viable large scale production. Although I will say that kneading the brick was quite therapeutic. And the consistency is dense enough to withstand attack by hamster. In the future, however, I will be buying my bricks at the store or looking for alternative methods of construction. For those interested in the process and in very dense whole wheat bricks, the instructions are listed below. I recommend lots of jam.

2. Looking at my blog's audience and traffic pages is a bad indicator of my target population. My most popular post is the one entitled, "Preteen Hormones Invade My Life", solely because of lonely Russian and Japanese Internet users doing Google image searches for "preteen", "preteen girls", and "preteen doggy-style". Really not sure where that last one came from. Perhaps one of these days I will mess with that portion of the Internet with a cleverly written word association post, but for now all I can do is sit back and say: Ewwwwww....

 - 1 to 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water*
 - 1/4 cup vegetable oil
 - 1/4 cup honey, molasses, or maple syrup
 - 3 1/2 cups whole wheat 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 nonfat dried milk
 - 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
*Use the greater amount in winter or in a dry climate; the lesser amount in summer or a humid climate.

1) In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. (You may also knead this dough in an electric mixer or food processor, or in a bread machine programmed for "dough" or "manual.") Note: This dough should be soft, yet still firm enough to knead. Adjust its consistency with additional water or flour, if necessary.

2) Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or large measuring cup, cover it, and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

3) Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into an 8" log. Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 1 to 2 hours, or till the center has crowned about 1" above the rim of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

4) Bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil after 20 minutes to prevent over-browning. The finished loaf will register 190°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center.

5) Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. If desired, rub the crust with a stick of butter; this will yield a soft, flavorful crust. Cool completely before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.


Lilith Noor said...

That's a very happy looking hamster there- I'd imagine he's plotting how to get all that bread in his cheek pouches!

I tend to use a fake sourdough base for wholemeal bread, and get the yeast bubbling the night before. Otherwise I end up with something that could be used as a lethal weapon!

The Blue Faerie said...

Actually, the hamster's not interested in the bread. Although that's not always an indicator of bad food (the little guy won't eat strawberries!).

I was wondering about the yeast part of the recipe. Some recipes I saw said to dissolve the yeast in water first. And all baking recipes I've ever seen have you mix dry & liquid ingredients separately. I'll have to go the sourdough route next time. Unless I'm looking to make a lethal weapon. :P

Cozy said...

The delicious bricky-goodness is due to the lower gluten in the whole wheat flour. Actually, the gluten is the same, but there is much more WHOLE in the whole wheat bag, so proportionately... less of the springy gluey gluten to go around.

Gluten develops while kneading and its job is to trap and hold the air bubbles. these little air bubbles expand while heating in the oven and L i f t the bread into a tall chewey loaf.

You can add gluten one or two ways: buy it at a whole food type store and add a few teaspoons to the flour or mix your whole wheat dough with high gluten bread flour. I prefer the last.

Bread is a big part of my Magic.


The Blue Faerie said...

Thanks for the tips, Cozy! My mother-in-law mentioned the same thing about the white flour (sans the gluten explanation). Maybe I'll try the same recipe again but with a third white flour and two thirds whole wheat.

I'm interested to know if you have any good magickal bread recipes. :)