I have enjoyed baking my own treats for my family on the weekend as a healthier and tastier option to store-bought sweets.
Why use several recipes when one will do?
When I was in college, I worked in a "scratch" bakery (all our products were made in-store, not frozen). I learned a few baking shortcuts and how to make one batch of dough create several different items.
Although I haven't worked in a bakery for many years now, I still enjoy making my weekly bread myself. It gives one a great sense of satisfaction to make one of humanity's oldest and most basic daily staples yourself.
Yes, there are machines that you can dump ingredients into and set to make the bread for you, but to be frank, you cannot have a tastier thing than a slice of fresh, hot bread straight out of the oven spread with melting butter, and knowing everything, the work and the ingredients, that went into making it.
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
1 hour 30 min
2 hours 15 min
1 bread loaf, 3 sandwich buns, 1 baquette
- 5-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2-1/4 teaspoons table salt
- 4 tablespoons dry milk powder
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 4 tablespoons margarine, cut into pieces
- 2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast, quick rise or bread machine yeast
- 2 cups water, hot tap water
- In the measuring cup or another bowl add the dry yeast to the hot tap water and set aside. (Photo 1)
- In a large bowl add all dry ingredients and margarine and stir to mix. (Photo 2)
- Add the yeast/water mix to the dry ingredients and stir with a large wooden spoon to blend. (Photo 3)
- When the dough is blended, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, sprinkle a little more flour on top of the dough and knead for 5 minutes. (Photo 4)
- Cut off chunks of dough and place on the kitchen scale to get desired weights: 3 sandwich buns: 100g each, baguette: 300g, bread loaf: 800g. You should be able to get 3 buns, 1 baguette and 1 loaf of bread. (Photo 5)
- Sandwich buns - roll dough into a ball shape with your hands and then flatten into a circle about 4" in diameter. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Score (shallow cut) the top of the buns with an X shape.
- Baguette: roll dough into a cylinder shape about 12" long. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and score the top diagonally in several places.
- Bread loaf: Oil or use non-stick cooking spray to coat the inside of a 9"x5" bread pan. Roll the dough into a cylinder shape the same length as your bread pan, and place the dough, seam side down, into the oiled bread pan. (Photo 6)
- Allow items to rise for approximately 1 hour, or until bread loaf rises about 1 inch above the bread pan side. (Photo 7)
- Place a small pan of water inside the oven and heat oven to 350 degrees. (Photo 8)
- When the oven reaches temperature, brush some cold water on the baguette top.(This will give the baguette a crisper crust). Place baking sheet with baguette and sandwich buns, and bread pan with the bread loaf into the oven and set timer for 18-20 minutes.
- After the timer ends, remove sandwich buns, place on cooling rack, and return baguette back into oven for additional 5 minutes.
- After the timer ends, remove baguette and place on cooling rack. Reset timer for 18-20 minutes more to finish baking bread loaf.
- After timer ends, remove bread from oven, and tip out of pan onto a cooling rack. (Photo 9)
Mixing the Ingredients
Use the heels of your hands to push the dough quickly away from you. Then pull the far end of the dough back towards you with your fingers and fold the dough. Continue this process for 5 minutes.
Getting the Dough Ready to Bake
Making Different Crust Styles
The regular crust is soft and delicious, but here are a few ideas if you wish to experiment:
- For a crisper crust, brush cold water on the top of the baguette, bread or buns before putting it in the oven.
- For a softer crust, brush with milk or melted butter on the tops.
- For a shiny glaze, mix an egg yolk and tablespoon of milk together and brush on the tops.
Getting Ready to Bake
© 2017 Wes Clark