Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mother Earth News Fair: Baking bread

The following information is from a handout that participants will receive at my bread baking session today and tomorrow at the Mother Earth News Fair in Pennsylvania.

Basic bread recipe
Makes 1 loaf, 1 dozen rolls, or 1 thick-crust pizza
3 cups flour
1 cup water (or milk, tomato juice, pasta sauce, orange juice, etc.)
2 t. yeast
1 t. salt
1 T. sugar or honey
2 T. butter or oil
optional: ¼ cup dried cranberries, raisins, uncooked oatmeal, chocolate chips
These ingredients can be put into a bread machine and baked, or they can be mixed by hand and baked in a loaf pan at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes for loaves, 20-25 minutes for rolls, if using unbleached flour. If using whole wheat, bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. You can let it rise two or three times or not at all. The more times it rises, the lighter the bread will be. If you bake it on the first rise, it will be quite dense. Bake it on the third rise, and it will be much lighter.
Delicious breakfast bread: Use orange juice as your liquid and add cranberries! When we had a bread machine, this was one of my favorite recipes to put on the timer, so we would have hot bread when we woke up in the morning.
French bread recipe
Makes 3 loaves or 3 dozen rolls (If you want a no-fail recipe for sandwiches, this is it!)
3 cups water
2 T. yeast
2 t. salt
6-8 cups unbleached flour (If you use whole wheat, the bread will be like a brick, because there is no sweetener in this recipe to feed the yeast, so it doesn't rise as much a the first recipe.)
Mix first three ingredients in a bowl. Add 6 cups flour. Add additional flour ¼ cup at a time until dough does not stick to your fingers. Dough can be used to make three loaves at once, or it can be refrigerated for several days (in a greased bowl, loosely covered with plastic wrap) and used to make individual rolls or loaves as needed. Dough left in refrigerator will develop a sourdough taste. When ready to bake, shape into desired loaves or rolls. Let rise half an hour if starting at room temperature; rise two or three hours if bread has just been removed from refrigerator. If cooking as baguette loaves on a flat baking stone, and you want a crispy crust, sprits with water before placing in 400-degree oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes for loaves, 20-25 minutes for rolls.
This is a great recipe for making a bread braid. Just make three long, skinny snakes of dough and braid them. Let rise about 20-30 minutes and bake, as above.
Both of these breads can be stored at room temperature, wrapped in a cloth. They will go stale long before they mold. As each day passes, they will become drier. After two or three days, it's really best to just cube whatever bread is left. You can make croutons by sprinkling it with spices and putting in a 200 degree oven for a couple hours. You can put bread cubes in a freezer bag or box and freeze for future poultry stuffing.
Use French bread recipe, and after dough has risen once, punch down, and tear dough into egg-sized pieces. Roll out on floured surface. Oil a cast-iron skillet with butter and cook naan for a couple minutes on medium heat. Flip when bubbles start to form in naan, and cook second side until it begins to brown. After it’s done, put it on a plate and smear it with butter and crushed garlic, if desired.
· I don’t have enough time. Answer: Mix up a batch when you have 10 minutes to spare and keep it in your frig. As you need bread through the week, tear off a piece and bake it. OR Bake four or six loaves at once and freeze all but one. OR Teach your spouse and children to bake bread. The top recipe is taped inside my cabinet, so it's always available for anyone.
· We wouldn’t eat a whole loaf before it molds. Answer: See first answer. You don’t have to make a whole loaf. However, home-baked bread tastes so good, it gets eaten much faster than store-bought bread.
· I’ve heard it’s really hard, and I don’t think I can do it. Answer: You’ve got nothing to lose! Even if you forget the yeast, which is absolutely necessary, you can use the dough to make crackers or pretzels. If the bread falls, it will still taste good. And if you think it’s really too ugly to let anyone see it, you can cube it and use it to make bread pudding.
· Always add flour to the mix gradually. It is much easier to add flour to a sticky dough than the add water to a dry dough.
· Forgot yeast? No problem! Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thick and cut into squares or triangles. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, and you have crackers! Sprinkle with Kosher salt or garlic salt before baking, if desired.
· Dough is too sticky to handle? Add more flour ¼ cup at a time.
· Bread falls during baking? Too much liquid. Use less next time. Usually only happens when using a bread machine. When making bread by hand, you’ll know if there’s too much liquid, because the dough will be sticky.
For more information:


SkippyMom said...

You say mix, but maybe I missed it - [love the bread machine shout out thanks] but for people that aren't using one - shouldn't there be a kneading process in here somewhere? Mix and then...knead, perhaps? That is the way I always did it. But if I can get away with this, I most certainly will :D

Robert said...

For the basic bread: Please explain further the rising 2 or 3 times. How do you let it rise more than once? Thanks!

Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

SkippyMom -- kneading is over-rated. :-) I don't knead. Once everything is mixed together smoothly, I leave it to rise.

Thanks for asking, Robert -- after it rises the first time, punch it down and try to get as much of the air out of it as possible. If you want to knead it for a minute or two, you can. Then just leave it alone to rise again. After punching it down a second time, you can put it into your loaf pan or on your baking stone or whatever you want to bake it in/on, and then let it rise for about half an hour before putting it in the oven.

The Unusually Unusual Farmchick said...

Just wanted to pop in and say hello. I attended your bread making workshop Sunday (I was the one with the video camera Brandy was letting you know about). Our battery died just 10 minutes into it and I mad the mad dash back to the press room to only find my backup battery was not charged. OY! You did great! My camera girl who is a newbie bread maker was enamored with your teachings. You spoke so well & appeared at ease with the over flowing room of people. Kudos on a very well taught class. As a more experienced bread baker, I was impressed with your descriptions & tips which were very understandable, as I can recall how it was for me as I began to make bread. I am purchasing a french lof baking pan for my camera girl/friend now that she is so excited to begin her bread adventures (to encourage her & as a thank you for her weekend away with me). Just wanted to let you know I will be posting (what little footage I do have) my bread making video segment in the next few weeks which I will be giving away 2 of the same french loaf pans I am giving to my friend. I think it is a perfect pairing to go with your french bread recipe.
Eeeks. This was a long comment. Sorry. As my bio says...a woman of many words. LOL.
Have a great week back home!!

Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

Thanks, Farmchick! Glad you enjoyed the session, and I'm happy to hear that I didn't make any glaring faux pas! Be sure to let me know when you get the video up.


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