Wednesday, January 28, 2009

White Bread Again

Farmhouse White Bread #2

Well, I decided to try baking another loaf of Farmhouse White bread that I wrote about in my previous post.

This time I used the same basic recipe as last time with just a few tweaks. I added 1/4 teaspoon more instant yeast and I cut way back on the salt, using only about 1/4 teaspoon this time, since I found the first loaf a little salty for my taste buds. I also didn't have any bread flour available, so I used all purpose flour with some extra wheat gluten added in (1 teaspoon gluten per cup of flour to make bread flour substitute). Again, I used my favorite brand of flour, King Arthur.

Just for experiment purposes and also because I was too busy today to tend to mixing and kneading bread dough all by hand, I put the ingredients into my bread machine and let the machine do the work for me. After first rise the dough was ready for me to remove and shape into a loaf. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I was distracted by other things and let the risen dough sit in the machine for about 30 minutes longer than I was supposed to.

Well, I took it out and flattened it out a bit into a large rectangle, then rolled it up like a jelly roll into a log shape and plunked into the same loaf pan that used for the first loaf I baked a few days ago. Making sure to crimp the edges together so it would stay together as a nice loaf shape. I covered it with a damp tea towel and set it on a TV tray in front of the fire in my woodstove to maintain a temperature of about 74 degrees F while the dough rose in the pan.

Well, either the warmer room, the little more yeast, the smaller amount of salt or the gluten enhanced flour made this loaf rise a lot more than the first one did. After about 60 minutes it had doubled in size and was pushing the tea towel up and up. So into the oven it went to bake for 35 minutes at 375 degrees F.

It came out fluffy and beautiful. Much more the shape that I desire in a homemade sandwich loaf of bread.

Better shaped sandwich bread

It tasted a better to me than my first try because it isn't as salty, and I like that better. I have already eaten 3 warm pieces of bread with butter, and I usually don't use butter even when I bake. I only use it on fresh warm bread, so this bread baking hobby of mine may not be so good for my saturated fat intake. Perhaps I should try my fresh bread dipped in extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Yes, that might be good.

I will have to see how this second loaf performs as toast and in sandwiches. Will it fall apart or will it be elastic enough to hold substantial sandwich contents? How long will it stay fresh? So much experimenting to do!

I do plan to make bread completely from scratch, doing the mixing and kneading completely by hand again, but I had to try it out at least once using the bread machine. Now I know what results I will get on those days when I don't have time to do it all by hand. I may also have learned something about the kneading process from the bread machine. I may have kneaded the dough a little too roughly by hand, perhaps making more gluten than I needed to, in my endeavor to be thorough my first time out. I am after all, a massage therapist by profession, one whose specialty is deep tissue work which involves a lot of heavy kneading of my client's muscles. I may have taken the kneading job a bit too seriously when making bread the first time. So the next time I make fresh bread completely by hand, I will lighten up a bit, perhaps giving my bread dough a lighter "spa massage" instead of the full up "sports massage". Ha!

Happy baking everyone. Good thing to do on a cold winter's day.

© Copyright 2009 Mountain Harvest Basket


Hardware Bob said...

It was a entertaining watching the bread making progression while visiting you last night. Sorry I distracted you, and we totally forgot all about it in the kitchen all alone.

The bread dough really responded to the warmth when placed strategically in front of the wood stove. Amazing the way it was pushing up on the towel and taking loaf shape so quickly. Magic performed right there in front of us.

What I liked the most was you seemed to be having a lot of fun.

Your sample of the previous day's bread baking results was scrumptious, hopefully there will be some left over from this batch.♥

frugalmom said...

Well dang. That loaf looks great, too. I really need to try out this recipe! Altho now that Ive seen yours, I may be unhappy if mine dont turn out as pretty.

It sounds like you are really enjoying yourself and thats a great thing. Its nice to have something to do that you enjoy during the long winter months.

Farmer Jen said...

Hi Marcee,
This was only my second loaf. It may just be a happy accident that it turned out so well. I really don't know what I am doing yet in the world of bread baking. And yes, I am having fun. Please bake and then tell us all about it. I want to learn from your experience too.

Farmgirl_dk: said...

So, really have extra wheat gluten just sitting around in a jar in your kitchen for baking emergencies such as these? I wouldn't know wheat gluten if it bit me on the nose - is it a powder? A liquid? A spread? Something that shakes out of a salt shaker?

I loved Bob's image of "magic" happening. I've really felt that way while I've been experimenting with my sourdough starter...

Farmer Jen said...

Hi Bob,
I read your comment this morning, but somehow I missed replying to it here. I guess because we have been in email and phone contact today, I must have thought I responded to your comment here too. Anyway, I did have fun baking these recent loaves of bread. I hope the fun continues and the bread gets better and better as I learn more.

No need to be sorry for distracting me while you were here last night. I enjoyed dinner, our talking, and I especially enjoyed your help with folding my clean laundry. Thanks again.

Hi Danni,
You made me really laugh out loud when I read your comment! Yes, seriously, I actually had wheat gluten sitting in my pantry cabinet. It's left over from the last time I made wheat bread in my bread machine, which was quite awhile ago. This type of wheat gluten is a powder the consistency of flour, but sort of a yellow-tan color. The directions on the box it came in (I store the gluten in a jar, but kept the box for the directions. Anal? Well, yes I am.)said to add 1 tsp per cup of white flour. So I did that for each cup of all purpose flour that was supposed to really be bread flour according to the recipe. Wheat gluten is supposed to give the bread a more elastic texture. At least I think that's what it does. I'm really just winging this stuff as I go along, you know...

Cooking and gardening are both "magic". I am always amazed and impressed with both arts.

I'm still chuckling over your gluten comment. You crack me up, girl!