Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday, July 13th - Crusty Brown Bread Fast and Slooooooowwww

FAST (regular)SLOoooOOW

I am having breakfast with a friend and her two babies. Well, her second baby is a new arrival and we've not had a chance to catch up for a couple of months. Terrible, hey? But if we laid out all the craziness that this economy and year has dealt us, it's fairly understandable. Anyhoo... I'm bringing bread. She's allergic to fermented beverages or I would have made this bread with beer. MMMMM

I chose a simple enough whole wheat recipe but substituted the half half whole wheat and all purpose flour with all whole wheat. As a result, I had to use almost a cup more than the classic recipe required. This is normal in general with baking bread. I'm used to it. It is incredibly effected by environmental conditions. If it is humid, you will need to either cut back on the liquid or add flour. That's fine. You don't want a stiff dough but you want it to pull away from the bowl cleanly and four a managable ball of dough. If you add too much flour, it'll be too dense and stiff.

I split the dough and made one round 12" loaf for this morning (last night at midnight, I had insomnia) and the second I've let rise three times as an experiment.

Crusty Brown Bread

1 1/4 c water, warm but not too hot.
2 T honey
2 t active yeast or one packet
1/2 t ground ginger
4 c whole wheat flour & 1.5 t salt
2T olive oil
cornmeal and olive oil for lubrication and baking

Stand mixer method is the only variation I will give. Assume that when I get to the kneading stage you can put out on a floured surface and knead by hand.

In your warmed mixing bowl, with the dough hook on but out of the bowl, pour the water and add the honey. Stir to ensure it's dissolved. Add ginger and yeast. Leave alone for 10 minutes or until foamy. Now this might only take 5 minutes, but if it takes longer than 10 minutes to start to look like a cappucino then your yeast might be too old. Don't fret, I throw nothing away. You'll just need to add half an hour or more to rising. Or if really old, throw away.

Turn the mixer on Stir. Add the olive oil. Add the flour half cup at a time. When you've added half, turn the mixer upto 2. When you have 3 cups in turn up to 4 until all the flour is absorbed. If it is still sticking to the bowl at the bottom or if you poke it (with mixer on stop) and it's sticky, add another half cup of flour. I had to had a little over 4 in total. The bran in the whole wheat flour does not absorb liquid very fast if at all. So using all whole wheat instead of half all purpose requires more flour. Mix on four until you're satisfied it's pulling cleanly away. Turn down to 2 and leave to knead for 10 minutes or more.

Take the dough off the hook and form into a ball. Lift with one hand out of the bowl and put a small amount of oil into the bottom of the bowl. With the dough in one hand, swirl around the bowl to lube the bowl and the top of the ball. Turn the ball over so greased side is up and cover. Let rise for 1 hour.

Push down gently with finger tips. No need for violent pugialism (punching). Cut dough in half. Here is where we part ways.

FAST or Regular:

Knead the ball in your hand. No need for a floured surface. Oily ball and hands is enough. Just keep it folding it in on itself as if you're stuff itself into it's bottom to form a perfect ball. Place the ball on an oiled sheet. Slice the top with a razor or sharp knife three times. Cover with the mixing bowl and set aside to rise for another hour.

Set the oven to 415 with a pizza stone on the second from bottom rack. When the dough goes in, turn the oven down to 405.

When the dough is risen, open the oven and spread some cornmeal out on the stone. Shimmy the dough onto the stone. Bake for 30 minutes.

Let cool on rack until completely cool if not eating right away with MELTING BUTTER. MMMMM


After the dough splitting. Grease a large glass bowl and after forming into a ball and kneading it like a stressball a bit. Cover and let stand for the same as the one you baked the FAST way.

When you put the FAST one in the oven, put this one in the fridge.

If the dough rises to the top of the cover. Poke it down with your finger tips gently to prevent big bubbles.

In the morning or 12 hours later, poke down again. ... you can take out the oven if you're planning on baking soon.

Let rise on an oil sheet in ball form for an hour.

I topped this with olive oil, coarse salt and fresh rosemary.

Heat the oven to 415 and then turn down to 405 when the bread goes in. MMMMM.

I wante to see if the commercial yeast could stand up to long rising. It seems to have worked. Longer rising leads to better flavour and finer, more even texture.....

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