"Every house where love abides and friendship is a guest, is surely home, and home sweet home for there the heart can rest." -Henry Van Dyke

Monday, July 28, 2014

Whole wheat bread: My breadmaking journey

I've been baking for a long time since my early twenties when I discovered how therapeutic it can be. I've made sweet breads, cupcakes, muffins, cakes, cookies, pies and recently pizza dough. I don't consider myself an expert baker but I'm thankful to have success in many of my attempts and I continue learning.

Thirteen years later I realized the one thing missing with my baking endeavor, yeast breads. Why haven't I worked with yeast? Perhaps it was easier to buy a loaf of mass-produced organic bread, but I wasn't a big fan because they're tasteless and dry! I decided it's time to learn new things. Breadmaking is art and science, I'm all for that. However, for me baking with yeast has been a frustrating experience mixed with excitement and satisfaction.

For months I've tried baking mostly yeast rolls and it has been a challenge especially with whole wheat and spelt flour. Trial and error, wasted flour, constant dense bread and disappointment. I'm not proud to show this photo of my inedible wrinkled roll but I've made progress in the last few weeks and that's an accomplishment. 

So I won't just post perfect photos for you all. What are these?! They're sad to look at but I'm not giving up. I've been doing research and I'm on a quest for great recipes. My ideal rolls are soft, fluffy and airy. Making bread for sandwiches and toast was another goal and somehow that turned out well…

This bread is wonderful toasted with butter and raspberry jam. Nothing smells better than fresh bread in the oven, permeating our home with a cozy aroma––plus something about the process of making it is relaxing. After eating homemade bread how could I go back to store-bought? I'm hooked! :)

The whole wheat bread recipe adapted from Five Heart Home is definitely a keeper. I've made a few changes that worked better for me the second time I baked it. I let the dough rise in the bowl covered with plastic and that took an hour. On a lightly floured surface, I gently punched it down to deflate the air bubbles then knead the dough for a few minutes. After shaping the loaves in the pans and instead of letting them rise inside the oven, I left them on the counter at room temperature (it's warm in our house) covered with large plastic bowls to give the dough room to expand. I also used canola instead of coconut oil. Coconut has many health benefits so next time I'll try it in the recipe.     

Once they're the final size I wanted them to be which took another hour or so, I gently sliced the top of the bread then I baked them for around 30 minutes. While the loaves were baking halfway, I lightly covered them with foil because they were browning up too fast. I waited until the inside temperature of the bread is 190 degrees F before removing from the oven. I'm still working on a softer and lighter texture but this recipe was absolutely delicious! I'm also studying how to shape better bread. There's always room for improvement on my breadmaking journey. 

                               

4 comments:

  1. That wholewheat loaf looks perfect..both crust and crumb.

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  2. Hi Priscilla, I love that you are trying yeast breads and rolls, etc. My mother was a fantastic bread baker and I am fortunate in that she taught me how to bake breads. It does take practice and it looks like you have already mastered the loaf! I think we tend to either under knead or over knead, once you get the feel of what the dough should be then you are off and running. I have a wonderful recipe I want to share with you for Italian rolls or round bread. I use the same dough for either. You can even use your Kitchenaid mixer to make this dough if you have one, but I like to take the long, slow steps of kneading it myself. Also, weighing out the flour is helpful. On a humid day your flour will absorb more moisture and of course, less on dry days. Here is the link to my recipe. http://atableforrue.blogspot.com/2012/06/italian-style-peasant-rolls.html. Have fun and keep kneading....LOL

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  3. Hi Priscilla,
    Yay! For homemade bread! Your bread looks fabulous, I'm glad that it has turned out really well for you.
    I love making breads and pastry, more so than making cakes!
    Making bread is an ever-learning process. I'm still learning about bread-making all the time. Sometimes the same recipe would bake differently on different days!
    Looking forward to your bread-making adventures!

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  4. Hi, Priscilla!

    Thanks for stopping by and introducing yourself. I've added you to my blog roll so I won't miss any of your posts.

    It doesn't get much better than homemade bread, and it looks like you have the magic touch. Have a great weekend.

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I'm glad you stopped by. I love reading your comments and thank you for taking the time. Have a wonderful day! :-)

♥ Priscilla