Tuesday, November 29, 2011

OMG!! Really Good Bread - White Sandwich Bread with Fresh Herbs

Do you think the the headline is a little over the top? I don't know, maybe it is. But then this bread is over the top, too. So should I just lie and say something like. You'll like this bread, better try it. Nah!! Doesn't quite make it. This is bread that attacks practically all your senses at once. I mean, this bread not only tastes incredible, but also fills the house with an intoxicating aroma. And I mean that in a good sense. And if that wasn't enough, then, if you can, wait until it cools down, slice it open and the smallish hints of fresh herbs poking out at you, combined with the sense of feel when you eat it will completely convince you that this bread is a definite keeper. Oh, and it's great for all kinds of sandwiches. Cold cuts with a nice sharp mustard, for instance. Or a strong cheese (again with the aforementioned sharp cheese). Or even pan-seared veggies like eggplant or red bell pepper. You will make this one many times, I'm sure. So when you're slicing your fourth (or fifth) slice, don't say I didn't warn you.

Here's What You'll Need: for 1 loaf or about 12 rolls
2 1/2 to 3 cups AP flour
1/2 Tbs. salt
3/4 Tbs. sugar
1/2 Tbs. instant dry yeast
about 3 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh herbs (basil, parsley, thyme, oregano, dill, etc.)
1/8 cup olive oil
about 1 cup warm water

Here's What You'll Need To Do:
1. Mix all the dry ingredients, (flour, salt sugar, yeast and herbs) together in a large bowl until evenly distributed.

2. Add the oil, then the water, mixing to form a rough dough.

3. Remove the dough to a lightly-floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is soft and smooth, and only very slightly sticky.

4. Place the kneaded dough in an oiled bowl, cover to coat(prevents drying out), then cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel to rise. It should about double in volume. This will take about 1 1/2 hours.

5. If making rolls, divide the dough into about 10 to 12 equal sized pices, round into rolls and place them on a baking tray covered with baking paper. Otherwise, form the dough into a ball (boule, in french), then cover again to rest and rise again, about 45 minutes.

6. About 15 minutes before the second rise is done, pre-heat the oven to 350 F (180 C).

7. Bake the rolls for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. The loaf will take longer, about 25 minutes.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

New Business - Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

First things first: this is my 100th post on breadmantalking!!! Thanks so much to all the readers and followers who have encouraged me along the way! I am having fun and I am glad you are all enjoying it too.

So, if you've been following my progress as a professional baker, you will know this... I am trying to establish a baking business that specializes in healthy bread. Hand-made and delivered to your home. Alongside workshops and private lessons in healthy baking. Slowly it is coming together and only last week I got a new customer with a standing order. Thirty sandwiches every Thursday morning to be delivered at 0745. This is on top of my standing orders for challah etc. for every Friday. And the workshops every Thursday evening. So, as I said, slowly it is really coming together, and the business is starting to take off!!! Which, of course, leads to this bread I baked today. Whole wheat healthy bread for sandwiches. Last week I brought sandwiches that were on rolls. Of course, there were complaints like, "Why rolls, aren't sandwiches on sliced bread lower in calories?" (The answer is not really: the shape of the bread does not determine calorie count.) Still, I am having fun and this bread is, therefore, an experiment. An attempt at a new sandwich bread for my Thursday morning client. I think it came out great. The crumb is not too close and strong enough to hold the fillings without falling to pieces, or turning into mush, the crust is strong but not too crunchy. The taste is wonderful. Try it and you be the judge.

Here's What You'll Need:
1 cup AP flour
about 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 egg
1 tsp. salt
 1 Tbs. butter, melted
1 Tbs. sugar
1 cup warm water
 1 Tbs. instant dry yeast
some sesame seeds (about 2 Tbs.) and wheat germ (about 2 Tbs.)

Here's What You'll Need to do:
1. Dissolve the sugar in the water, then stir in the yeast. Let it stand for about 10 minutes until the mixture becomes foamy and smells 'yeasty'.

2. Lightly beat the egg, mix in the melted butter, then pour this mixture into the yeast mixture and mix thoroughly.

3. Add the whole wheat flour one cup at a time, mixing to stiffen. Finally, add the AP flour, mixing until you can no longer stir. Knead this dough until it becomes soft and slightly sticky.

4. Knead the dough for about 7-10 minutes until the dough is very smooth. Place this in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat. Cover the bowl and place it in a warm place to rise until roughly doubled in volume. This will take about one and a half hours.

5. Remove the dough and shape into a loaf form, by dividing the dough into three pieces and braiding them. If you want to make the bread even healthier, try spraying it lightly with water, then roll the pieces in the sesame seeds and wheat germ.  Place the dough into a greased loaf pan then cover to let it rise until just over the lip of the pan, about 45 minutes.
Here it is, in the pan:

6. Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C). Bake the bread, turning halfway through to get an even color, for about 25 minutes in a convention oven, or about 35 minutes in a conventional oven. Cool completely on a rack before slicing.

7. Bon Appetit!