Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sundays Are For Baking Bread

I like getting up on Sunday mornings and baking a loaf of bread. I like the smell, I like the feel of the dough and I really like eating the results.  I also like to watch Mike, my husband, carry it to work in his lunch bag.  I recently discovered the King Arthur Flour Company.  They have everything when it comes to baking. Their website will teach you to bake, give you recipes, let you ask questions and shop for all kinds of things including flour, speciality pans, tools and gifts.  On my first web order they gave me a box mix for Lemon Seed Poppy Muffins!  These folks are hip with their own blog and twitter account. The company is 100% employee owned and empowered. They give away 5% of their profits to over 250 non-profit groups each year. What is not to like about this company - I say give them your baking business.

Today's bread recipe was lifted from the back of a King Arthur 100% Whole Wheat flour bag.

Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread

1-1/2 teaspoons instant yeast OR 1 packet active dry yeast dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
1-1/3 cups lukewarm water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey, molasses, or maple syrup (My friend and fellow bread maker, Ann McKenzie just gave me a pint of maple syrup, so today 1/4 cup is in my bread)
3-1/2 cups King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 cup nonfat dried milk
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon diastatic malt powder (only if you like - see note)

Mixing:  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 becomes 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.") Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 60 minutes depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

Shaping:  Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into an 8-inch log. Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 30 to 60 minutes, or until it's crowned about 1 inch above the edge of the pan.  A finger pressed into the dough should leave a mark that rebounds slowly.

Baking:  Bake the bread in a preheated 350 degree F oven for about 40 minutes tenting it lightly with aluminum foil after 20 minutes.  Test it for doneness by removing it from the pan an thumping it on the bottom (it should sound hollow), or measuring its interior temperature with an instant-read thermometer (it should register 190 degrees F at the center of the loaf). Let it cool on a rack before slicing. Store in a plastic bag at room temperature. Yield 1 loaf.

Note:  Diastatic Malt Powder has active enzymes that helps yeast grow fully and efficiently throughout the fermentation period, resulting in better texture, more flavor and improved shelf life. It can be purchased at King Arthur Flour.

This bread is perfect for sandwiches.  You can toast it or grill it or just slice and eat this moist, fine-grained and nutty tasting bread. Life is good - enjoy!

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