Thursday, September 11, 2008
Our Daily Bread
Today's destination is memory lane. When my children were small this bread was always on our table. Over time more pressing demands grabbed center stage and homemade bread became an occasional treat. About a month ago the cost of my favorite bread broke the $5.00 barrier and I decided it was time to give bread baking another shot. I've still got game! And more importantly, I'm having fun and saving money, too. Yesterday, Jenny, at Picky Palate wrote about the compelling aroma of bacon. I'd like to add freshly baked bread to that list of really good, mind crazing aromas. This recipe makes a lot of bread, but it can be frozen, and, at a time when we're all concerned with greening our kitchens, the quantity makes for really efficient use of the oven. The recipe can, of course, be halved. Here goes!
Whole Wheat Bread
5 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
6 cups warm water
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons salt
5 pounds stone ground whole wheat flour + flour for kneading
1 cup sunflower seed kernels
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1) Take off your rings.
2) Combine yeast, sugar and water in a very large bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add oil, salt, 1/2 the flour, sunflower seeds and coconut flakes; beat with a wooden spoon for 100 strokes. Add remaining flour, and, working with hands, mix to form a very stiff dough. Turn onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, using more flour as necessary to keep dough from sticking to work surface. Place dough, smooth-side down in a large bowl that has been coated with oil. Cover, place in a warm place and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled. Punch down to original size and let rise again until double in bulk. Turn onto work surface and punch down. Divide dough into six equal pieces (1-1/2 pounds each). Form into loaves and place in generously oiled bread pans. Cover, and let rise again until dough reaches top of pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. during final rise.
3) Bake in the center of oven for 50 to 60 minutes, rotating loaves from front to back at the half-hour mark. Brush tops lightly with butter; remove from pans and cool on wire racks. Yield: 6 (1-1/2 pound) loaves.