Monday, March 08, 2004

dude, i am a lousy blogger.
and at one point i managed to delete all the comments (that is to say, the one) folks posted here :(

to make me happier, my favorite bread recipe:

add 1 cup of boiling water to 3 Tbs. butter (or oil) and 1 Tb. salt. stir to dissolve and then let it hang out.

in a separate (small) bowl, stir together 1 packet yeast (regular rise, not quick-rise), 1/4 cup lukewarm water, and 2-4 Tbs. sweetener (i like maple syrup, but you could also use sugar or honey or whatever). let it stand until foamy...or until the butter/water/salt has cooled to lukewarm.

put 3 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour (king arthur or the stuff from the bins marked "bread flour" at the co-op or whole paycheck all work) in a large mixing bowl (preferably not metal).

add the yeast mixture to the butter mixture (once lukewarm) and stir, then pour the whole mess onto the flour, stirring as you go. keep stirring until the dry and wet are thoroughly mixed. you should have a fairly cohesive non-sticky glob of dough. some of the flour on the bottom may not mix in, but don't sweat it.

plop the dough lump onto a clean, lightly floured surface and knead for 3 minutes. form the kneaded dough into a ball. then rinse out and dry the mixing bowl and coat it with a thin film of oil and stick the dough lump inside. cover lightly with a damp, clean kitchen towel and/or plastic wrap and put in a warm place to rise. dough should double in about 45 minutes to an hour.

after the first rise, punch the dough down and knead again for 3 minutes. if the dough feels dry (it should feel vaguely damp and supple, but not sticky or dry), knead in a couple of Tbs. of warm water. form the dough into a cylinder (-ish) and put it in an oiled bread pan (5" x 7" x4", maybe????). cover as before and let rise again until dough is above the edge of the pan (30 minutes?).

meanwhile, preheat oven to 400×F. when the dough is peeking out, throw that sucker into the oven and bake for 15 minutes. then lower the heat to 325×F and bake for an additional 35 minutes. when done (will sound hollow when you tap on the bottom), take the loaf out of the pan and let it cool. then, CONSUME!!!!!

this is a very adaptable dough. you can add more or less sweetener and...this is the best part...it takes very well to various fillings (herbs, raisins, nuts, cheese, whatever)! i have made an excellent loaf by stretching the dough flat, coating it on one side with maple syrup, sprinkling liberally with cinnamon and grated orange peel, and then rolling it up into a loaf. muy bien!

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