Bake Off

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cosybreads.jpg
The morning after - leftover breads cosy up on the cutting board. JIm's white, my wheat.

Jim and I got together yesterday to trade bread-making secrets. His bread is always chewy and crusty. Mine is small crumbed and even. I like his better; he prefers mine. So we baked a loaf each and I took notes. His secrets: no oil, bake at a high heat for a short time. My secrets: I don't have any, but it seems to be the oil that gives the bread its fine crumb.

After we baked, we watched a great video on bread making, produced by a community college in Pennsylvania near where we grew up. It has some great tips in it, and a lot of silly local jokes: You're The Chef, #712: Bread Baking .

Here are recipes for both loaves. Jim's White Bread and Kristen's Wheat Bread.

Jim's White Bread
makes a very large loaf

2 cups water at about 40 degrees
2 tsp instant yeast
sprinkling of flour
6 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt

Mix the yeast and water, sprinkle with flour. Allow yeast to bloom for about 10 minutes. Add flour. Stir until the dough forms a ball that pulls away from the sides of the bowl (add more flour as necessary). Knead for about 4 minutes, or until you stretch a small ball into a translucent pizza without breaking it. Let rise at room temperature for about an hour (or until doubled) in an oiled bowl covered with a cloth. Punch down and form loaf. Allow to rise until doubled again. Slash bread and dust with flour. Starting from a cold oven, bake at 250C/480F for about 20 minutes.

Kristen's Wheat Bread
makes one huge loaf

2 cups warm water
2 tsp yeast
1 Tbsp flour
4 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

Combine water and yeast, sprinkle with flour and let yeast bloom for ten minutes. Add flours, oil and salt. Stir until dough forms a ball that pulls away from the sides of the bowl (add more flour as necessary). Knead for about 4 minutes, or until you stretch a small ball into a translucent pizza without breaking it. Let rise at room temperature for about an hour (or until doubled) in an oiled bowl covered with a cloth. Punch down and form loaf. Allow to rise until doubled again. Slash bread. Bake for 20 minutes at 250C/480F.

2 Comments

your (wheat) bread looks like it might be very good, but may get bland after more than a slice... might I suggest sunflower or pumpkin seeds to snazz it up a bit?

I am the lazy sod who noever responded to you about the C&S book... please check bookmooch again, and accept my triffling apologies...

humbly yours,
Justin

The wheat bread is bland, but that makes it perfect for sopping up the gravy from coq au vin or Jim's soup invention (vanilla, hot sauce, cream and vegetables!)

Adding things into the recipe is my next step. Sunflower seeds are a great idea, thanks.

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  • Kristen: The wheat bread is bland, but that makes it perfect read more
  • justin: your (wheat) bread looks like it might be very good, read more

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