Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Weekly Bread Baking

Kneading the dough

In the supermarket I was buying whole wheat bread that we really did not like, for almost 5.00 a loaf. Then I started buying bread at the local farmer's market. I would buy one loaf of either sourdough or whole wheat for 4.00 a loaf and French baguette for 2.00. This was 6.00 a week for bread that usually ran out before the week was over.

I used to make bread at home but I thought it was too much work and I really did not like the white bread too much.

I went to Down to Earth, a local natural store that sells organic and vegetarian products. I bought what I call flaky wheat germ but is really raw wheat germ (not the hard one the supermarket sells..toasted wheat germ) and decided it would be good for bread. And it was very good. I think this recipe is a hit with my family, including me, who really isn't much of a bread fan.

Waiting for the second rising

Ingredients:

Approximately 4 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup raw wheat germ
1 3/4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt

Finished baking

Combine two cups of the flour with the yeast.

In a small saucepan, heat the water, oil, brown sugar and salt until warm. It should feel warm to the touch, but not too hot or cold. You then add this mixture to the flour and yeast and mix with a large spoon. You can use an electric mixer but I prefer to use a spoon and my clean hands. Add the wheat germ and some more of the flour. Add the flour gradually and mix with your hands until you can form a ball that will hold its shape but not be too sticky. Continue kneading until you have a moderately stiff dough. The dough should be smooth and elastic-y. Grease another large bowl or spray with PAM. Form the dough into a bowl, roll the dough ball once in the greased bowl. Cover and place in an oven and until it rises. This should take approximately an hour or so.

Bread cooling on rack

Once the dough has risen, punch down. Divide the ball in half and place on a floured surface. Cover and let rest for approximately 10 minutes.  Lightly grease your bread pans. I use two different shaped Pyrex baking dishes.  Place your dough in each one, cover and let it rise again for another  hour or so.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 45 minutes.  The bread will sound hollow when thumped with your fingers, when done. 

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