Six Loaves

Once the flour is added in, using a spoon won't cut it, time for hands-on!

 

I have been making bread since I was a girl, I can remember making it when I was nine or ten, and I can remember watching my mother make this particular recipe when I was even smaller. She would make a huge batch of bread, perfuming the whole house with the smell of baking, and we all looked forward to that first loaf out of the oven, which never had time to cool before it was eaten. Today, I usually make bread two loaves at a time, not six, but I made this recipe yesterday so I could give some to friends. I also made a batch of wild grape jelly, but that’s a recipe for another time.

Before I give you the recipe, you should know that this recipe is not for a beginner. Because you will be adding flour to the initial recipe without an exact amout given, you will need to know when it’s the right consistency. All flours, locations, altitudes differ, and your experience with dough will tell you when there’s enough flour in there. For a beginner, I will include my standard recipe below this one, which is my mothers, and which may even be older than that. I have an index card, yellowed and stained with oils, that this recipe is written on.

Bread: 6 loaves

6 c whole wheat flour

2 c powdered milk

2 tbsp + 2 tsp salt

4 tbsp yeast (rounded spoonsful)

Mix Well, then add liquid ingredients.

6 c lukewarm water

1 c honey

1/2 c cooking oil

Mix well, then add white flour, 2 cups at a time, until texture is right and then knead for 4-5 minutes, until two fingers pressed into the dough form a depression that quickly springs back.

Transfer to an oiled bowl and let rise until double, about 1 hour. Punch the dough down, cut into 6 segments and form loaves or rolls as desired. Place into greased loaf pans and let rise again for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the bread sounds hollow when tapped. I like to butter the loaf top as soon as it comes out of the oven.

Dough Ball in oiled bowl.

Basic Bread Recipe

4 1/2 c flour (any combination of white and whole wheat. The more whole wheat, the heavier the bread)

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp oil

2 1/4 tsp yeast

2 tbsp sugar

1 1/2 c water

Place wet ingredients in stand mixer bowl, start the dough hook at low, then slowly add the flour until it is fully incorporated and starts to ‘climb’ the hook. Allow to continue on low for another 3-4 minutes, then remove the dough and form into a ball. Place in a greased bowl, turning your ball of dough over to fully coat with the oil. Allow to rise until doubled in a warm place. Punch down, cut in half, and place in two greased loaf pans. Allow to double again, and then place in an oven at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. The bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped.

I like to add all kinds of goodies to this – sunflower seeds, oatmeal, dried fruit, herbs… you name it, if it’s not too juicy, it can go in there. Have fun!

Yummy! Golden brown, fragrant, and delicious.

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Cooking From the Garden II

I added fresh rosemary, thyme, basil, and minced garlic to my dough.

 

Continuing the theme of cooking with what I harvested, I made Focaccia Bread for lunch. Fresh herbs, ripe tomatoes, and some shredded summer squash on herby-garlicky dough was delicious!

Fresh, really ripe tomatoes. The ones in the center are called Chocolate Drops, an heirloom plum variety.

 

Focaccia Bread

 

  • 5 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 c warm water (105-115 degrees)
Basic Toppings
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • parmesan cheese (grated, not the nasty powdered kind)
This is the most basic version of the dough, to which you can add things to your heart’s delight, and top with whatever floats your boat.
Put the warm water, sugar, and yeast together in a large measuring cup. In the bowl, mix all the dry ingredients, and add any herbs and spices you wan tat this point. Don’t add too much “wet” stuff, like tomatoes or vegetables, save those for the toppings as they will throw off the moisture content of the dough. Mix in the yeast liquid and knead for 4-5 minutes, either by hand or in the kitchen aid.
Cut the dough into thirds and grease cookie sheets with olive oil. Oil your hands, and squish and pat the dough out until it is about a quarter inch thick. drizzle on more olive oil and put toppings on as desired. I used sliced ripe tomatoes, more fresh herbs, shredded summer squash and pamesan cheese because that was what I had on hand. Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 mintues, or until the cheese is golden brown. I don’t use the cheese with a heavy hand – they aren’t pizza!  Also, I don’t bother rising the dough for this recipe – this is a get-it-on-the -table recipe.

It looks so pretty it's almost a shame to bake it.

 

Crispy, savoury, and the tomatoes are incredibly sweet.

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