Friday, March 27, 2015

MAKE: Intro to Bread Making + Maple Oat Sandwich Bread

 If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed that I have a bit of a bread making obsession lately. It all started last fall when I purchased a bread machine from the thrift store for a whopping $2. Thank you ARC for facilitating my new hobby. Then, Christmas rolled around and my mom got me the best present a mom can give a daughter, a KitchenAid Standing Mixer. And the baking adventures took off from there. Depending on my mood I sometimes go the bread machine route and other days prefer the dough hook method. No matter which technique I go with I am always blown away by the smells wafting from my oven and stand proud next to the final result. Making bread feels like such an accomplishment! That is not to say that I haven't had my fair share of failures. I think in order to make bread correctly you need to fail...a lot. Failing is just part of the dance in figuring out how to make the perfect dough. You know how tasting your food is really important when you cook? Well, when you make bread, touching is key. Understanding the correct texture and consistency is pretty much number one in terms of getting things right from the start. 
Feeling overwhelmed? Do what I did and watch a lot of online how-to videos and tutorials. Here are a couple good ones I've found so far: 

Actually, I am just going to give an overall shout out to The Kitchn for providing such good visuals (their website has wonderful recipestips and tutorials) that have really helped me conquer my skills over the past few months. You gotta love a good resource! I'm working on starting a series on my journeys in yeast so there is much more to come on this topic, but I wanted to start off by sharing an easy starter recipe that will make you yummy sandwiches all week long. Happy baking!

Makes 1 loaf or 10 slices// Oven Temp: 350 // Prep Time: 3 hrs
  • 1½ cups bread flour (if you don't have, you can substitute all-purpose)
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats (pulsed into a flour with food processor)
  • 2¼ tsp yeast
  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp warm water (about 110 degrees, think bath water temp)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1. Combine the first five ingredients: flours, salt, cinnamon, and oats in a large bowl. Wisk together. Add the yeast and mix again until everything is incorporated.
2. Add the water and maple syrup to dry ingredients and mix together using the dough hook attachment (if you don't have a mixer, use a wooden spoon). Add the butter slowly. Let the dough incorporate for for 7-8 minutes until it is tacky but not sticky and it holds together nicely. If needed, add flour, or water 1-2 Tbsp at a time. 
3. Lightly grease a bowl with oil or butter, shape the dough into a rough ball and place in the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside to rise for 60-75 minutes.
4. When the dough is done rising, it should have just about doubled in size and should maintain an indent when poked gently. Flour a smooth surface and turn the dough out onto the counter.
5. Shape the dough*. Patting and rolling into a rough rectangle about 15x8 inches. Starting at one end, tightly roll the dough up into a log. Seal the long edge with your fingers by pinching it gently with the dough beneath it; place this seam on the bottom. Tuck the short ends under the bottom so your get a nice fat log shape. Roll the top of the dough in a pile of oats
6. Grease 8x4" loaf pan and place the dough seam-side down in the pan. Cover and set aside to rise for another 60 minutes.
7. While dough is rising, after about 50 min have elapsed, preheat oven to 350. 
8. When the bread has risen to almost even with the loaf pan height, put it into the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, rotating once midway through, until it is a nice dark golden color on top.
9. Enjoy as morning toast, sandwich bread or as an afternoon snack!
* This is a helpful video on how to shape dough for loaf pans