18 November 2008

Soul kitchen

Yesterday, in between rounds with the router and making computers talk to it, I was baking bread (natch. Soon, I will be breaking out the sewing machine so that I can make the daughter's black skirt for the upcoming strings and woodwinds concert. Why don't I just get a few sheep and card my own wool? I already know how to weave...)


I returned to baking our daily bread a few months back, and I go through eye-popping amounts of flour these days. I baked three batches over the weekend (sourdough, French and honey wheat), so I ought to be good for the next month in the bread department.

I have some reasonably reliable bread recipes (still searching for the ultimate sourdough), but I needed to find a good and fairly soft whole wheat. Without weird things like instant mashed potato flakes.

Check! This one is great. It uses sourdough starter for leavening, but the sourdough taste is non-existent. It has a beautiful crumb, and a soft crust (bad joints = no hard crust. I am, after all, the one who dislocated her jaw last month with a forbidden piece of bubble gum. It was very much not worth it).

Honey Wheat Bread
Adapted from The Artistry of Sourdough Cooking, Jedediah's House, Jackson Hole, WY.

1 c. very warm water
1 tsp. honey
1 package dry yeast

Combine and set aside until it is frothy, about 10 minutes.

2 large eggs
2 c. sourdough starter
1/2 c. honey
1/4 c. canola oil
2 tsp. salt
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. white whole wheat flour

Combine in a large bowl or mixer, mixing well. Add yeast mixture. Mix in approximately 2-1/2 cups additional whole wheat flour, adding a small amount at a time, kneading until the dough is fairly stiff. It will still be rather sticky, but it should be workable and should not be sticking much to your hands or the bowl. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.

Punch down and knead again.

Form two loaves and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Let rise until the loaves have doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Bake in the center of a preheated oven at 400F for 10 minutes, then reduced heat to 375F and continue baking for 20-25 minutes, until bread is well browned and sounds hollow when tapped.

Notes: I use my big Kitchen Aid mixer for the whole operation, and finish kneading by hand for just a couple of minutes prior to the first rising. I prefer to bake the bread on a tray that is lined with baking parchment instead of greasing the tray. Keep a close eye on the bread as it bakes because the crust is prone to over brown if the loaves are too high or low in the oven.

Go listen to some music: "Soul Kitchen" from the album Los Angeles by X.

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