Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Our Favorite Bread Recipe

sponge ingredients:
2    cups  water -- 110 degrees
1    tablespoon  yeast
2    tablespoons  honey
2    cups  whole wheat flour
1    cup bread flour

additional ingredients:
1/4    cup  honey
2    tablespoons  olive oil
1   egg
1   500 mg vitamin C tablet, crushed
2    teaspoons  salt
2    tablespoons  vital wheat gluten
1   cup  whole wheat flour
1   cup bread flour
whole wheat flour for kneading

In mixer bowl (Kitchen Aid or Bosch), dissolve yeast in water.  Then, stir in 2 tablespoons honey and 3 cups flour and let "sponge" 30 minute until big and bubbly. 

After it has "sponged", add 1/4 cup honey, oil, salt, egg, vitamin C, gluten, and 2 cups flour.  Mix until well combined. 

Add additional flour by 1/2-cupfuls, until dough cleans the sides of the bowl and holds together in a mass.  Let machine knead for 6-8 minutes.  

Remove dough to a lightly-greased bowl, turning once to coat top.  Cover and let rise until double, about 45 minutes.

Punch down in the bowl.  Remove the dough from the bowl onto a floured counter top.  Divide into two equal pieces, and form into 2 loaves.  Place the loaves in 2 greased loaf pans.  Cover and let rise until 1.5" above rims of pans.  I set the oven to the lowest temp possible, toss two ice cubes in the bottom of the oven, put my bread pans in uncovered, shut the door, and then turn off the oven after a few minutes.  So it rises in a warm, moist oven.  Check after 30 minutes.

Bake in preheated oven (350*) for 25 minutes.  Since my bread has already risen in the oven, I don't preheat the oven, I just turn it on to 350* and set my timer for 25 minutes.

Brush tops with butter or cover with a dishtowel while hot to prevent crusts from getting hard. 

Sometimes, I replace 1/2 cup of the whole wheat flour with oat flour or wheat germ, but not always.


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