Thursday, March 1, 2012
I didn't really start baking, and with passion, until I began blogging. Though I've improved lots since then, I still think of myself as fairly novice. There's so much to learn and so many sources to be inspired from. I love learning about every aspect and the science behind baking...especially bread baking.
Few things are more thrilling to me than working a ball of dough with your hands and getting it to the point where the protein relaxes and the dough becomes smooth. And when you've done it enough, you can feel it happen with your eyes closed; Letting the dough rise again before it's ready to go into the oven, maybe a splash or spray of water to form a beautiful golden, chewy crust and, before you know it...you've been transported into another time, another place-- where grocery stores, refrigerators, preservatives didn't exist.
When my bread is done I like to pretend I'm pulling it out of an outdoor stone oven, and inhale whatever magical scent if wafting through the air. Like cinnamon. For those reasons, I would resist using a bread machine(even though I understand the convenience). Maybe your loaves are imperfect or misshapen, but they're yours. You've invested the time. And boy don't you feel proud.
Harvest Squash Bread
Honey Oatmeal Wheat Bread
Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Recipe courtesy and adapted from Baby Center
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces and softened
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups bread flour
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
(*Note: I replaced 1 cup of bread flour with 1 cup of whole wheat flour because I like the texture.)
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1. Add milk, butter, granulated sugar,1 teaspoon cinnamon and warm water to large bowl. Stir to dissolve sugar. Sprinkle yeast over top of water and allow to foam, 3-5 minutes. Stir salt into flour. Pour flour into bowl with water slowly and stir just until ingredients begin to incorporate. Remove ingredients from bowl onto clean counter or other surface with a good amount of space and knead dough for about 5-10 minutes, or until ingredients have incorporated completely and dough feels smooth.
Return to clean bowl and cover until dough has doubled in size. About 1 hour and 15 minutes.
2. Mix brown sugar and remaining cinnamon for bread filling.
3. When dough is ready, gently remove from bowl to a lightly floured surface and form dough into rectangle shape. Brush entire top surface of dough with melted butter and evenly cover with cinnamon/sugar mixture. I added chopped walnuts to half of the dough. Beginning with long end of dough, roll into log. You can pinch the seam closed if you'd like. Cut log in half, into two separate loaves. Fold ends of logs under to seal. Into two lightly greased 9x5 inch bread pans, add loaves. Cover pans and allow loaves to rise in warm place until size has doubled, about an hour.
4. Allow oven to preheat at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. When loaves are ready, brush tops with melted unsalted butter and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until bread tops have turned golden and bottom of loaves sound hollow when tapped.
Allow to cool completely before slicing. I especially loved this bread toasted, spread with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar.