Sunday, May 10, 2009

I had the itch...

To bake bread. What did you think I was gonna say?

After being without flour for two days, I was getting mighty twitchy to bake something. Anything. I debated making a (gasp) all-white banana bread, but decided to ask my darling man to pick up some bags of King Arthur on his way home from work in the morning. I resisted the evil urge to make an all-white loaf by this much. You see, I've made this promise to myself to incorporate as much whole grain flour into our diets as I can without sacrificing taste and texture, because we eat a LOT of bread, and it's a good way to get whole grains into me and mine -- especially the kids -- without having to really work at it. I'm lazy, and I'm comfortable with that. =)

So when he came home with the flour this morning, I got all giddy happy and debated what to make first. Sandwich loaf? Artisan? I finally settled on a country loaf, but put it off to make lunch, then my littlest was upset most of the day. Around 7 o'clock, I figured I probably wouldn't be able to make anything. Then my littlest dropped off, and yay! I had just enough time to rip off a loaf. Bread machines are wonderful things, by the way. Then I remembered Andrew had mentioned wanting some bread, cheese, and wine soon. Go figure, I end up making an all-white loaf anyway. xD

I really need to break him of the all-white habit, though. Seriously. Maybe I'll try adding cornmeal...

Italian Bread
Bake Temp: 375F
Bake Time: 40 minutes +5
  • 500g Bread Flour
  • 350g Water
  • 20g Oil
  • 8g Salt
  • 8g Yeast
Put all ingredients in your bread machine in the order suggested by your manual, set to dough setting, and press start. Or if you prefer, knead by hand or stand mixer until dough is supple and no longer wants to stick to your hands more than itself. Put in an oiled bowl (or just let it stay in your stand mixer bowl) and mist the top with spray oil. Also spray some plastic wrap and lay over the top of the bowl. Allow to rise until doubled. If using a bread machine, be sure to keep an eye on the dough; mine rose in half the time allotted by the machine, about 30 minutes. Shape as desired (I did one large batard, so cook times are for one large loaf; if you divide, cook times will change) and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and sprayed with oil. Dust loaf with flour and allow to rise again until doubled. It took mine about another 30 minutes, maybe 35. Slash as desired, spray with oil, and put on top of an empty 12 cup muffin pan in a preheated 375 degree oven. Bake for 30 minutes uncovered, then cover with foil for 10 minutes. Crack the oven door open for an additional 5 minutes of bake time. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack at least an hour and a half before slicing.

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