Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Italian Walnut-Raisin Whole-Wheat Bread

As my almost-four year old would say: This bread is "Kasty" !! Ask her if she wants some she will say "hure!!" (She loves the h sound I suppose!)

We shall award it with four stars.

In a small bowl: 1/2 a cup warm water, sprinkle 2 tablespoons active dry yeast over the top along with a pinch of brown sugar or a drop of honey.

In a large bowl: 2 cups warm water, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup honey, 1 tablespoon of salt, 2 cups whole wheat flour, and the yeast mixture. Beat vigorously until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the remaining 2 cups of whole wheat flour 1/2 a cup at a time, add 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups of unbleached all purpose flour 1/4 a cup at a time until it clears the side of the bowl. (Keep in mind it may take more flour then called for, I think I ended up using 1-2 cups more white flour).
Knead 5-6 minutes, or until dough is smooth and springy. It should be a little bit sticky under the surface but still hold it's shape.
Place in a greased container and let raise 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile an hour before it's done raising chop 3 cups (12 oz) walnuts, and soak 2 cups dark raisins (10 oz) in hot water.

Pat into a large oval and cover with half the nuts and raisins, pushing them into the dough. Roll it up and pat into an oval again, pushing in the other half of the nuts and raisins.

Then roll up and divide into 2 or 3 equal portions.

I made two free form loaves and a rather wide baguette (about 14 inches long). Place on a greased or parchment covered baking sheet.

Let raise 45 minutes to an hour. Twenty minutes before baking turn oven to 400 F. Using a serrated knife slash two parallel lines and one intersecting line only 1/4 an inch deep. Bake 25-30 minutes for Baguettes and 35-40 minutes for bread. I baked mine about 30 minutes for the three I made.

Italian Olive Oil Bread

I must admit, I've never really been one for the artisan style bread, I just don't like things super crusty. I've always been all about soft and gooey! Well everything deserves a chance and I do want to represent all the recipes in this fabulous book so I made this recipe. And LOVED it!!(Definitely 5 stars) It wasn't to crusty and it also made an AWESOME French Toast!! Check out Alton Brown's French toast recipe here (Note: It really does make a difference to slice your bread and let it sit on the counter overnight!) And a note on the french toast, we used 1% milk, and it was good!

Anyhew, here goes...

To prepare the sponge:
In a large bowl: 1 cup lukewarm water, 1 cup lukewarm milk, 1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast, 3 cups whole wheat flour (It recommends stoneground, but that's not what I had and it was fine)
Cover loosely with cheesecloth (or plastic) and let sit at room temp for 8-12 hours. I made the sponge around 10-11 in the morning, then mixed the dough about 9 pm that night. You also let the dough raise for an extended amount of time, so I let it sit all night and then baked first thing in the morning.

Add to the sponge: 1 tsp. active dry yeast, 1 tablespoon salt, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup wheat bran, raw wheat germ, or Roman Meal Cream of Rye cereal, along with 1/2 a cup of unbleached all purpose or bread flour. Beat hard for 2 minutes, and then add the remaining 1 1/2 to 2 cups of flour a little at a time until you are able to knead the dough without getting to sticky. Knead about 3 minutes, set aside uncovered, for 5-10 minutes, then knead another 3 minutes.
If kneading by machine, switch from paddle to dough hook and knead 5-6 minutes. Place dough in a greased deep container and let rise until tripled in bulk, for 3 hours or overnight.

Gently deflate the dough, shape into two free form loaves and place on a greased or parchment covered baking sheet. Let rise about an hour. Slash a diamond design with a serrated knife no more then 1/4 an inch deep. Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 375 F and bake another 25-30 minutes.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Seeded Dill Rye

I have been wanting to make a rye bread for awhile, I was very satisfied with this recipe. And my youngest daughter liked it a whole lot as well! I thought I would award it with 4 stars. (It sure makes me in the mood for a Reuben sandwich!)

In a small bowl (or liquid measuring cup) sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons of yeast over 1/2 a cup of warm water and sprinkle a little bit of brown sugar over the top as well. Let it sit about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl mix together: 1 1/2 cups rye flour (I used mild rye) 1/2 cup instant nonfat dry milk, 1 tablespoon each of dill weed and dill seed. (It also calls for 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds which I didn't have and it was fine without it) and also 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt.
Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of warm water, 3 tablespoons of unsalted, melted butter, along with the yeast mixture. Mix well until smooth, about 3 minutes.
Then add 3 1 /2 to 4 cups of unbleached all purpose flour and/or bread flour 1/2 a cup at a time until the dough is shaggy and clears the side of the bowl. (Note: you may use more or less flour depending on the brand/batch)

Knead about 5 minutes, using flour as needed to prevent sticking. Let rise in a greased bowl covered with plastic wrap for 1 1/2 hours.

Divide dough into two portions and shape. Let raise in the 9x5 inch loaf pans for 40 minutes. If desired brush with egg glaze (1 egg, 1 tablespoon water/milk)

Twenty minutes before baking turn on the oven to 378 F. Bake 40-45 minutes. Remove from pans and cool.