Friday, January 9, 2015

Bread Making 101

I am a serious fan of bread making. I love getting down dirty with my own bread dough. I actually think bread making is one of my most favorite activities in the whole wide world. Which is why I do it at least one to two times every week. It's why I've been making bread almost every week since I was 15 or 16.

Bread making is a sensual experience.

It's the feeling. Touching the dough. Kneading it with the heels of your hands. Finding the perfect spot of non-stickiness. Soft. Stretchy. Shaping the rolls and loaves with your fingers.

It's the yeasty smell-both while stirring and while baking.

It's the glorious sight of risen and baked, golden loaves. Perfectly baked, airy orbs and loaves.

It's the taste of the oven freshness-no butter required. There really is nothing like it.

I share my bread recipes on almost every She Plans Dinner menu. I share it because there is no taste like fresh homemade bread. I share it because there is no joy like successfully making your own loaf of bread. I share it because bread making is a tradition that spans all time and cultures. Bread making is earthy and awesome!

So, here's the recipe once again, and the pictures that explain everything.

empty mixing bowl all ready to go

Barefoot Hippie Girl's Bread Recipe (makes 3-4 loaves of bread, or bread and rolls)
 4 cups whole wheat flour
 5-7 cups white all purpose or bread flour
 1/2 cups white sugar or honey
 1/2 cups vegetable oil
 1 cup cooked oatmeal (optional)
 1 Tbsp salt
 2 Tbsp active dry yeast
 3 cups very warm water, around 120 degrees

 -Mix whole flour, yeast, sugar and salt in your mixing bowl.

-Add oil, water, honey (if not using sugar), and oatmeal. Mix together until combined.

-Then, if you are using a mixer with a dough hook, turn on your mixer to the lowest speed, and let mix for 3 minutes. If you are mixing by hand, just let the ingredients sit for three minutes.

-In mixer or by hand, add as much of the remaining flour as you can, kneading the dough until it is no longer sticky, but still soft. If you are using oatmeal, the amount of white flour you use will be closer to 7 cups than 5 cups.

 -Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, about an hour. Punch the dough down, and let rise until doubled again, about 30 minutes. Divide into 3-4 equal pieces (4 if you used oatmeal).
Let rise about 1 hour until it doubles its size. Push down, and let rise again to double its size.

-Let rest for 10 minutes. You can then shape the dough into loaves by rolling out into a rectangle and rolling up jelly roll style, or into buns by rolling into small balls.

 -Let rise until doubled in size. Bake loaves at 375 degrees for 32 minutes, and rolls at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes-until golden brown.

wets and drys mixed. Letting it sit for 3 minutes to get the gluten softened and working.

Adding the additional 6-7 cups of flour.
Stirring With a Spoon, working in as much flour as possible.
Pour out of the bowl, and begin kneading by hand. Dig in the heels of your hands and then rotate about a quarter turn.
keep kneading, adding additional flour, until it is no longer sticky but is still soft.
all ready to rise.
place in the original bowl to rise covered with a towel. This is after it has risen, been punched down, and rose again.

shaped into bread and rolls, risen, and ready to bake.
the glorious finished product
Doesn't that make you want to knead up your own batch of bread?! I hope you do.