Saturday, April 25, 2009

More on Bread

After my last post, Geoffrey asked about why his homemade bread tasted like cardboard once it cooled off, or wasn't just fresh anymore.  I did answer him, but thought I'd share on the blog my procedures and recipes that I've worked out for baking.

For my white flour, I always buy Robin Hood Best for Bread flour.  I have found that it's worthwhile to buy premium white flour.  The best bread flour I've ever used came in a 100 lb. bag that I bought through a baker.  Now why is a bakery able to buy better flour than is available in the supermarket?

I keep the flour in the freezer, because I've found that flour ages at room temperature and finally becomes rancid.  You can go to all the trouble of baking homemade bread and buns, and they just will not taste very good.  I usually buy the 10 kg. (22 lb.) bag of flour, and store it in a Tupperware container made for that purpose.  That amount of flour just fits that container.

From the flour in the freezer I take about 3 lbs at a time and store it in the fridge.  Then I grind about 3 lbs of whole wheat flour at a time in this great little home mill:
I buy hard Red Saskatchewan organic wheat
from a local supplier.

Here's my recipe for bread:
12 ounces of very warm water
  3 tablespoons Canola oil
  1 large egg
  4 cups of flour (mixture of white and
      whole wheat)
     freshly ground flax  (about 3 TBS)
  2 tablespoons of sugar
  1  teaspoon salt
  1  tablespoon wheat gluten per cup of whole wheat flour
  2  teaspoons of Fleischmann's Quick Rise Instant Yeast.  (I buy the yeast by the pound, i.e. the Bakery Format, and keep it in the fridge after opening.)

This all goes into the bread maker in the order listed, and is prepared with the dough cycle.  This takes 45 minutes.

When it is finished, I remove the dough, roll it out on a Tupperware pie sheet, and use an empty tin can to cut it into rounds.  I usually make about 4 large buns, for use with hamburgs, and about 11 slightly smaller ones to eat with cheese for supper.  Let them rise for about 40 minutes, and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 18 minutes.  I bake them on cookie sheets and always use parchment paper 
rather than oiling the pans.  Here's today's batch of buns:

Alternatively, I divide the dough into two, and actually weigh them to get them as even as possible, shape them into loaves, oil them and put them into glass bread pans lined with parchment paper.  These are raised in a warm place for about 45 minutes, and baked in a 350 oven for 30 minutes.  I get two one and a quarter pound loaves out of this.

Next time I'll give a delicious recipe for Cardamom buns that are similar to the Hot Cross buns you can buy around Easter time.

P.S.  Did you know that eggs age as much in one day unrefrigerated as they do in SEVEN days in the fridge?

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