As of late, I’ve been baking my own bread.
Mainly because I’ve got nothing but time on my hands while there’s no work and my toe heals, but also because I’m broke and $4 of flour makes a heck of a lot of bread.
As an added bonus, the oven in this apartment actually heats evenly* making bread baking possible. And cakes, but that’s a lot of sugar. And eggs.
I tend to prefer the heavier whole grain loaves because I like the taste and the texture.
The recipe I’ve been making lately is for Grant Loaves. It’s a no-knead bread and has a really good taste.
There’s a recipe here: http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/type-of-dish/bread/quick-and-easy-wholemeal-loaf.html
I make a couple of modifications:
The recipe is reduced to only make one loaf, not three.
I use three parts whole wheat flour to one part rye flour.
Instead of warming the flour in the oven, I put the flour in my metal KitchenAid mixing bowl and set the bowl in hot water.
Occasionally stirring, this heats up the flour in about the same amount of time that it takes the yeast to start foaming.
I find that even ‘no-knead’ breads require a slight bit of kneading, but if, like me, you’re lazy, you can knead in the KitchenAid with the dough hook attachment. Goodbye, sore and sticky hands.
The other thing I’ve found about really heavy breads is that they take a hell of a lot longer to rise than one would imagine. If the recipe states for it to rise 45 minutes, give it an hour, in a warm oven. This, in my experience, makes the bread lighter and not so much like a door stop.
Once this bread starts cooking, it won’t rise any further, so let it get to bread loaf size.
Bake at 400F for 40 minutes, then turn out onto a rack (or an unoccupied burner on the stove) to cool.
I like to take peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on really long bike rides – they won’t spoil at room temperature, and this heavier bread wont get soggy. It also makes a great pancake substitute – slice, toast, butter, syrup. All the fun without the mess.
If you’re interested, the actual recipe I use is from The Practical Encyclopedia of Baking by Martha Day.
Reduced to make one loaf.
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup rye flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups of warm water
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Sift the flour and salt together and warm slightly
Sprinkle the yeast over 2/3 cup of the water. After a couple of minutes, stir in the sugar. Let sit for 10 minutes.
Make a well in the center of the flour and stir in the yeast mixture and remaining water. The dough should be slippery. Mix about a minute (I mix it about 5 minutes), making sure all the dry flour is worked into the mixture.
Pour dough into a greased loaf pan, cover with oiled wrap and let rise, in a warm place, for 45 minutes (or an hour). I turn the oven on ‘low’ and then when it starts to heat, turn it off.
Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.
One of my neighbors (the nice lady who only speaks Farsi) will smell the baking bread and show up at my door with a plate, wanting the heel of the loaf, which she loves.
I’m happy to share – after all, she shares the tea her daughter sends her from Iran, which is delicious.
*The oven in the old apartment was a heartbreakingly beautiful early 1950s O’Keefe and Merritt that had an… unpredictable cold spot. No baking there. Also, having to light the burners and oven with matches is a colossal pain in the ass and I never want to deal with it ever again. Fuck design. I want functionality.