the sometimes senseless ravings (and the occassional rant) of an aspiring marine ecologist who may enjoy killing things a little too much

Monday, April 27, 2009


My twitter followers will already know that I have recently ventured into the wonderful world of bread making. So far, I have baked two loaves of homemade bread. The first was a basic white loaf, and it was awesome.

Here's what that first loaf of bread looked like:

The basic white bread recipe (for those who might want to try making their own bread):
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 - 3 cups all purpose flour
  • Butter or non-stick cooking spray for bowl and loaf pan
What to do:
  • Dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water in a large mixing bowl.
  • Melt butter and add it, milk, sugar, and salt to the yeast mixture and stir.
  • Add 1 1/2 to 2 cups flour to the mixture and stir with a spoon (do not add the rest of the flour yet).
  • Keep mixing in ~1/4 cup of flour at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and loses some of its stickiness.
  • Kneading (can be done in the bowl or on a floured counter or tabletop) - rub a little flour between your hands and knead the dough for 5-10 minutes, adding a little bit more flour as needed when the dough sticks to your hands. Just work the dough around really well with your hands, squishing it and forming it into a ball then squishing it around some more, adding small amounts flour all the while. You've kneaded it enough when the dough becomes springy (it bounces back when you poke it).
  • Coat another large bowl with butter or non-stick cooking spray, then form the dough into a ball and roll it around in the bowl so it's covered in butter or spray. Leave the dough in the sprayed or buttered bowl and cover it with a clean kitchen towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place for ~ 1 hour.
  • Punch down the risen dough (yes, punch it with your fist) and lay it out on a floured surface. Spread the dough into a rectangle (the short side should be about the length of your loaf pan). Roll the dough up, pinching the seams as you go. Pinch the ends closed and fold them under to form a loaf shape. Place the dough into a greased loaf pan, and cover it with a clean kitchen towel. Let the dough rise again for 45 minutes to 1 hour in a warm place.
  • Bake at 375 degrees (preheat the oven before baking) for ~30 minutes.
  • Remove from pan and place on cooling rack as soon as it comes of the oven. Let cool before slicing.
Today I made my first loaf of whole wheat bread. Actually, it is about 2/3 whole wheat flour with some all purpose flour in there, too.

Here's my whole wheat loaf after rising in the pan:

Now, here it is after coming out of the oven:

And here is the final sliced product:

The wheat loaf is every bit as good as the white one. Here's the recipe I used for the wheat bread:

  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp. melted butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 cups very warm water (hot tap water microwaved for 30-45 seconds)
  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • ~1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Here's what you do:
  • Dissolve yeast in warm water.
  • Mix honey, butter, salt, and very warm water in a large bowl and cool for 5 minutes.
  • Beat in 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour with electric mixer; beat for 2-3 minutes. Beat in remaining whole wheat flour and dissolved yeast.
  • Stir in ~1 cup of all purpose flour with a spoon. Stir in ~1/4 cup more all purpose flour if the dough is still very sticky and does not pull away from the side of the bowl.
  • Knead in remaining all purpose flour as needed. Knead for 5-10 minutes until dough is springy. Place dough in a greased bowl (roll dough around in the bowl to cover in butter or cooking spray), cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let the dough rise for ~45 minutes.
  • Grease a loaf pan and punch down the dough in the bowl. Spread dough out on a floured surface to form a rectangle. Roll the dough up tightly, pinching the seams as you go. Pinch the ends of the roll to seal then fold them under to form a loaf shape. Place the dough in the loaf pan, cover the pan, and let the dough rise for 30-45 minutes.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes.
  • Remove the bread from the pan to a cooling rack as soon as it comes out of the oven and let it cool before slicing it.

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