Friday, September 4, 2009

Easy Peasy Bread Baking

Ew what's that? That is my bin of refrigerated dough from the "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day" cookbook. I loaned it to a friend and the author escapes my memory but it's in previous posts. I have been experimenting with this technique. My friend Kerry Swan has been telling me a few tips as well. I spilled a little flour in there while cloaking the other day.

Basically any dough you make with this technique is going to be 6 cups clean filtered water room temperature is fine. 3 TBS dry active yeast, 2 TBS Celtic gray sea salt, 12-14 cups of flour. How is that for bulk dough Becky? The flour is about a whole 5 lb bag if you don't have a mill. If you buy flour Hodgsons Mill is good or King Arthur Flours, please use a whole grain. Even unbleached white is still white. Basically you mix the water, salt and yeast into the storage bin and add the flour, it's easier if you don't dump it all at once, but add larger quantities than a cup, how about a 4 c measure? Use your big wooden spoon and stir. Do this until the dough is thoroughly moistened, it will look like a muffin dough, stiffer than cake batter. That is it! Let it sit out for 12 to 24 hours to sponge. After that put it in the refrigerator. I have not tried baking it at that point I let it age a few days.

See, we didn't even mess the kitchen up. If I can do this in my little kitchen you can do it too. Now here comes the fun part. We have been experimenting with the baking process. To achieve an artisan style loaf you need to let the dough warm up about 40 mins out of the fridge. A handful about the size of a grapefruit is pulled off and cloaked with flour. It is STICKY! Your oven is set on 425-450 and you have a broiler pan in it ready to receive some water for steam. They recommend a baking stone. I have found that to be a hassle because I don't have any thing to slide the dough off on to the stone with. So I pulled out my thin dark pizza pans. Wallah! Success. I can use those pans sprinkled with either flour or cornmeal or for an even browner crust, greased! I let my bread rise on the pizza pan and stick it into the preheated oven and add the cup of water for steam. It has turned out just as pretty and actually my crust is a bit nicer on the bottom. Don't forget the slits on top.

And we have more! I have a young friend who really wants to bake bread and doesn't have a mixer or a mill and she has 3 very little children, who take up a lot of her time; this required me to think even harder. I have been shaking out the cobwebs lately. I encouraged her to try making muffins with the bread dough. Her kids didn't like the chewy crust. If the crust is created by the baking techniques lets bake it at 350 in muffin tins and see what happens. It worked! She had soft muffins and her little children ate them and enjoyed them. Spray your muffins tins with a good spray or grease them with coconut oil. Spoon the dough in and bake them. You do always need to let the dough warm up. You can take an approximate amount out of the tub or just let the whole tub warm up. I don't think it hurts it. One tub can last for 2 weeks. It gets a more sour taste as days go by. If you don't wash it then the next batch will have a bit of "starter" in it already. I actually use 2 c of rye starter in my dough. The dough she used was all whole wheat. We did not add honey or oil to the dough and she found it to be quite tasty. We are going to try the recipe that calls for honey, oil and milk as well. I'll let you know how it works.

There's more! If you want a regular loaf of bread you can grease a bread pan and scoop out some of the dough and bake it at 350 for an hour and you should have a regular loaf of bread. It will be denser. If you try this let me know about your results.

A little up date on the purged pantry. My virgin coconut oil is in the kitchen. Coconut oil is one of the most superior oils you can use. You can cook with it, eat it, put it in your bath water, rub a little into damp hair for a beautiful shine, and rub it into your skin. As we age we get oil dryness and our hair gets frizzy and fly away. If you add a small amount to your hair after you have washed it while it is still wet, you will be amazed at how soft and nice it will feel. If your hair is really dry it will suck it up.

No more Ritz crackers, yes there are still some canned things but you know with the economy like this it doesn't hurt to have a few rations on hand. Don't you say anything about my Smuckers strawberry jam. If my hunny is going to live with me I have to take it easy on him. All these changes to a family are best accepted if they aren't too drastic.

Here is the tub in the refrigerator. Since I don't have a bunch of junk food in her it fits OK. I store my flours in here to keep them from getting rancid. I keep a small amount of wheat on hand and the rye I have to buy. When I bake bread I grind that fresh.

The proof is in the pudding. This is a loaf of the artisan bread half rye and half wheat, baked in a 400 degree oven for one hour because the cornbread was cooking too. It will bake at 350 also, take your pick. The loaf in the back is Kerry's breakfast bread made in the Bosch Universal Mixer, which is still in my opinion the best kitchen appliance you can own. So are you ready? It's fall and pretty soon the soups, stews, and breads will all be gobbled up as fast as you can produce them with your talented hands and loving hearts!

PS go over to "paint splashes" off of my blog roll and check out her fermenting veggies post!!! She is the one who really got this started and she is a very knowledgeable woman! Go look.

10 comments:

Tricia said...

I definitely agree that a family accepts the changes better if they are gradual instead of drastic. When we changed over, I used up all the food in the house before a vacation and jumped right in after. It was shell-shock to say the least! But it was worth it in the end. So worth it. :)

Kathy said...

Pefect post! I have been off white flour for a while. No white bread or crackers for me. I love to bake bread but don't often due to the time constraints. We love sour dough and I have not been able to find a starter recipe. I'll definatly be trying this recipe, sounds easy, mess free and no refined flour. You mention that the remainder at the end is a starter, does that mean you don't need to add additional yeast when you mix a fresh batch? Is the 40 minute warm up time all that is needed for the dough to rise? I'll be trying this out when I get home next week. Thanks Karen.

Karen Deborah said...

Kathy, you still add yeast to each batch. If you want sour dough you can add 5 c water and 2 cps starter. I make my starter with rye flour. The little in the pan just adds taste.

Susan said...

I love making bread this way. I just read in the paper that northern Europeans and eastern Europeans are healthier because they eat a lot of rye bread. Rye bread, especially made with rye bran, in the morning will sustain you and keep away hunger longer than any other bread. Worth trying and who doesn't love rye bread?

Angela said...

That bread looks AMAZING..oh my goodness girl...

Becky said...

Wow! That IS bulk! I like the muffin idea.

Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life said...

What a great idea! I love your clean fridge and pantry. The bread idea sound super. And even muffins? Amazing. I LOVE sour bread.

I'm going to go check your friend Paint Splashes out as I love sauerkraut. Never have had a success.

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

Oh. I can taste it...I'm sure of it! Kudos to you...looks so delish!

Twisted Fencepost said...

I love fresh bread. And love the smell in the house as it's baking. My family's mouth waters just waiting with knife and butter in hand. I should make it more often. I atleast know what is in the bread that I'm eating. And I'm trying to get back basics as much as possible.

Farmgirl Paints said...

I love bread...your looks so good:) Thanks Karen for your comments earlier. I just loved what you said. Made me smile from ear to ear. Have a great labor day:)