May 17, 2012

Homemade Bread (whole wheat) by hand. 3 loaves

Back in October of last year I came across a great food blogger Foodie Wife "A feast for the Eyes", she was the first one I ever learned something from. Actually she was my first introduction into food blogging, I had no idea about food bloggers. But she was the first blogger that actually taught me NOT to be afraid of baking! I was super afraid, but always wanted to bake. My first time I made bread from scratch was by taking her tips and instructions from her following recipe's Dinner Rolls in an Hour & Golden Pull Apart Buns and her Honey Whole Wheat Bread. Now when I made her Honey Whole Wheat Bread I used all purpose flour I did not use bread flour. I have found bread flour is a good thing and rightfully so. I found another blogger "i am a Mom not a professional". I am taking her recipe and adapting the recipe to fit my taste, I added some other techniques that she does not have. Personally I like my results of my method. You may not follow mine, I understand it is more time consuming a. I am sure it will still turn out great if you follow her exact way for her bread Awesome Sandwich Bread

My adaptation of
The Recipe

3 cups of warm water (1/2 cup for yeast development)

1/2 tSp white sugar

2 Packages of Dry Active yeast

1/2 cup of honey

3 tBs of White Sugar

3.5 cups of white BREAD flour

2 cups of whole wheat flour (all purpose)

(if you want a stronger whole wheat flavor use 3.5 cups of whole wheat flour, instead of the 1.5 cup of white all purpose flour)

1.5 cups of unbleached white all purpose flour

1 TBS salt

2 TBS of oil

I do not have a stand mixer this is all by hand. I am not sure of the directions for proper kneading times with a stand mixer.

Take 1/2 cup of warm water (temp at 110 degrees) and 1/2 tSp of white sugar and 2 packets of Active Dry Yeast, mix together until yeast & sugar appear dissolved.

 I placed mine in the microwave to store it, not cook it!!! Let sit for 10 mins. After 10 min yeast should have foamed up double its size.

 If this does not happen there are a couple reasons why not. 1 it could be old yeast, or the temperature of the water was to hot!. I say invest in a digital thermometer, it is great to have! Cost me about $15.00 from Walmart. You can buy the non-digital for much less.

While your yeast is foaming take the time and get your bread measured out.
I use 3.5 cups of White Bread Flour. Yes I said "bread flour". There are many benefits of using bread flour. I wont go into it to much, just trust me. I have used just Unbleached All Purpose Flour and it is fine! In-fact now that I have done this recipe twice I would recommend if you are starting for your first time, try using ALL unbleached all purpose flour. The bread flour is so sticky and if you are not familiar with kneading and finding the right texture to the bread you may have issues with this bread, if you are doing it by HAND. If you are using a stand mixture you may have a easier time because the machine does all the work for you. However bread flour produces a softer bread. I'm thankful I can go to my super market where they sell it in bulk bins, so I only pay $.42 per lb of bread flour.

Now once your yeast has foamed up, add the other 2 & 1/2 cups of warm water (110 degrees) into another bowl. Measure out 2 tBs of oil and pour into your 2/3 measuring cup, honey (putting the oil in first will help honey come out easy & clean) and 3 tBs of sugar. Stir all together until seems dissolved. (because I only had so much honey left I used 1/2 cup of honey and 3 tBs of white sugar. But u could just use 2/3 cup of honey instead of honey & sugar combo). Then add the yeast mixture and combine.

Then add the yeast mixture into the 3.5 cups of White Bread Flour. Mix all together w/ a whisk. Then I place a warm damp tea towel over bowl and stored into my oven (oven OFF). Then let it rest for 15 min's. This will do a couple things. One it will let the yeast feed off the sugar and help develop some yeast flavors. It will also allow the flour to eat up the water. Doing this will allow your dough to mix properly and make you not "think" you need to ADD more flour because you "think" it feels to sticky.

(adding yeast to flour) 
 (yeast & 3.5 cups of flour combined well)

(15 mins has passed for flour to dissolve yeast, becomes sponge like)

While you are waiting, measure out 2 cups of  Whole Wheat Flour & 1.5 cups of unbleached white all purpose flour. No this is not BREAD flour, it is just like an "all purpose" flour, however it is wheat. Using some flour that is NOT bread flour can be better for your dough to be soft and have more proteins to for yeast to feed off (at least I think that's how I read it). Then add 1 tBs of Salt to w.w flour, I used sea salt because that is what I have.

Once the 15 mins has expires, combine the whole wheat flour & all purpose flour with the white bread flour/yeast mixture. Mix together well. Start kneading in the bowl. Then let it sit covered again with a damp towel for 10 more minuets.

The dough was VERY STICKY!!!!!! Oil your counter with little oil. If you feel it needs a little more flour, you can dust the counter with flour and knead. I put about 1/2 cup of flour in a bowl and added a light dusting each time I turned the dough while I knead. I also found that if I wet my hands with a little warm water, this helped the dough not to be so hard handle while I knead it. But just dont let your hands be dripping wet of water. I did have a bowl full of water and I alternated between flour and wetting my hands. Just don't want to add to much flour!!! I should say you may not have as many complications with the dough if you have a stand mixer. Again realize I am doing this all by hand.
(waiting for dough to rise for 60 min)
Once you have kneaded the dough for about 10 to 12 min by hand. Place into a large lightly oiled bowl.

 Place dough in bowl and cover with damp towel. Then I placed back in oven (turned off) for 60 min, until the dough doubled in size. Once doubled in size, lightly punch your dough to deflate it.

(nice a doubled in size)
 (take your fist and lightly punch down the middle)

Yes take your fist and lightly punch it right in the middle. Then oil your counter top and roll dough out on to counter. Start kneading the dough for about 2 to 5 mins. Until it feels like you have removed the air bubbles.

Then I divided dough into 3 separate balls, just take a knife and slice into three sections. You can make 3 loafs OR one for  bread loaf  pan, one for making 6 hamburger buns and the last one for making 9 rolls.

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Start with your first ball of dough and roll it out into a rectangle the best you can. It does not need to be perfect. Then just roll the dough from the sides and meet the other side. Take the ends and fold ends over then start to pinch or seal the seems shut. Just pinch, pinch, pinch. You can do no wrong with your pinching method. Then move the dough around to give it a little shape.

 Then you need make sure you have a VERY well oiled loaf pan. I use spray oil for the easiest method. Then place the dough seam down in pan, and even dough by tapping lightly on top. Place a damp towel over top of loaf and put aside and let it "proof" or basically Puff up for about 30 min.

Now depending on the temperature of your place will cause this to happen rapidly or slowly. The warmer your place is the faster it will puff up. Today was a cooler day in my kitchen. I started earlier in the morning, so the temperature was reading about 66 degrees inside and 58 outside. After 30 min my bread had not doubled enough, so I let it go a little long and placed ontop of my stove stop. Where it started to puff a rapid speed from that warm air from the oven being on. Word to the wise, you dont want to "over proof". If for some reason you find yourself not able to bake your bread AFTER you already proofed it, you can place in the fridge until ready. But dont let it sit in there for to long. If you let it proof to long it will deflate once you start baking it. But if its only for a couple hours or so then that should be fine!

Bake in the oven for 35 min or until the bread looks golden brown. Now I HIGHLY recommend you take that digital thermometer (or any meat/bread thermometer you may have) and after the bread has been baking for about 15 mins, place that thermometer through the side then angle down into the middle. You want the temp to reach 195 degrees. This will make it the PERFECT temp for doneness.Once done, remove from oven and place on cooling rack or hot pad. Let it cool down for about 5 min. Then take a butter knife and go around the edges to try to make sure the bread is separated from pan. Then remove bread from the pan and place on cooling rack until completely cooled.

The lesson I have learned with this recipe, is there is a benefit in using BREAD flour vs just using all purpose flour. The end result of this bread was amazing in texture! It was super chewy and airy. If you have ever gone to Subway and had their sub bread, their whole wheat has the same texture as this bread.

Now I stated I made mine into hamburger buns and rolls...I did and they were great with this recipe. I will have to create a separate entry for those. But to tell you the truth, you can probably read Foodie Wife directions for shaping rolls. Here I also followed her idea for the rolls from the Pioneer Woman. Melted butter (2 tBs) brushed on rolls, lightly use SEA SALT (no other) and I used dried Italian seasoning ontop.