Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My favorite bread! Well, almost.

Oh my goodness! Now this is divine. This bread is one I bake at least once a week and we never get tired of it. It is an adaptation on Rose's Hearth Bread recipe from the Gold Medal Better for Bread flour bag, I add a little more yeast and a higher proportion of wheat flour, otherwise it's the same as the printed recipe. Not only is it an almost perfect bread, it make great pizza dough! A clipped copy resides on the inside of my cabinet door so I can glance at it while I am baking in case my shred of memory fails me. If you've never baked bread or if it's been a while, this is a great one to start with since you almost never need to adjust the flour or water to get the right consistency of dough. It's fabulous darling, simply fabulous!!
Here is the dough in my mixer. I love this mixer. It was a gift from my mother-in-law. I love my mother-in-law. She has foresight. She realized that if I ruined my wrist making large volumes of bread every other day for our ravenous wolves, I mean kids, that she might have to assume the care of all her grandchildren. In a few weeks, I was the proud owner and grateful user of a beautiful Bosch mixer. My wrists thank you, Susan.
Now you certainly can make this bread by hand. Just mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, turn out onto your countertop and knead. If you've never kneaded dough you can find a video on Youtube. It's easy and fun but after about 1000 loaves your wrists may start to hurt and you should start looking around for a mixer or mother-in-law.
This is my kneaded dough set to rise in my dough bowl. I love my dough bowl. My mom gave it to me for Christmas. I love my mom. Don't be deceived, this is no ordinary dough bowl! It is hand made from Tupelo wood gathered in the snake infested swamps of Mississippi. For real!
Here the dough has risen for about an hour and it is ready to shape into the loaf. I make this into a round loaf by stretching it from the top to the bottom. Then you set it to rise for another hour. Be careful of small children on this step. If they come in and grab a handful of dough when the loaf is almost done rising, you will have to shape it and let it rise again. Not that this has ever happened to me or anything. My children always obey and never would grab my rising bread dough over and over. I was just thought I would give you a heads up that for some reason, rising dough is magnetic for some children, but of course not mine.
Please direct your attention to the shaped and lovely dough ball (and not to my cruddy/well used cookie sheet). It is ready to rise and be counted. After it rises, you have to dig out a really sharp knife and slash the top of it then slide it quickly into a very hot oven. Thirty minutes later, you have a beautiful crusty brown loaf of bread. My favorite way to eat it is warm from the oven spread with Nutella. Sorry Mom, it just is. If you don't know what Nutella is, oh my! Look for it by the peanut butter in your grocery store, you'll be glad you did!

Audra's Hearth Bread
1 1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon of honey
2 teaspoons of yeast, about one foil packet
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3 cups unbleached white bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Mix the water, honey, yeast, whole wheat flour and white flour in a large bowl. Stir until it comes together. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it sit for 15 minutes. Add in salt and mix. Turn out onto a floured board and knead for 5 to 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Put dough in a large bowl, you don't need to oil the bowl for this bread, and let it rise for about an hour until it's doubled in size. Turn out onto the counter and gently shape into a ball. While it is rising, preheat your oven to 475 degrees. When the dough is doubled again, about an hour, quickly slash the top with a sharp knife and gently slide it into the oven. Bake for 10 minutes then reduce the temperature to 425 degrees and bake for 20 minutes more. Take it out of the oven and cool on a rack. You need to cool bread at least 20 minutes before you slice it or the texture will be weird. My family hates me for insisting on things cooling all the time and for beating them off with sticks while the bread/pie/cake/whatever cool the prescribed amount of time. Sorry, I came that way!


Rebekah said...

Mmmmm, love fresh bread! And Nutella!!!

You know, I never realized a bread bowl was for raising the bread, I may need to get one of those.

Thanks for stopping by today :)

Lizzy said...

In Holland Nutella is used everyday on slices of bread for breakfast and lunch. It's so great!

So, I've only attempted to make homemade bread once. It was a total disaster, but this recipe makes me want to try again. Do you think I could make it in my Kitchen Aid Mixer? I have the dough hook that is supposed to knead it for you.

Anonymous said...

First time visit to the blog, I can almost smell fresh baked bread your photos are great.How long did that loaf last once the family saw it?