Thursday, September 21, 2006


As we speak I am making bread. Well, I put all the ingredients into the bread making machine (it’s a Bread Man) and it did its stuff. I took it all out after the first rise and dumped it all into a bread pan. When you complete the entire process in the bread machine and dump out the loaf after it has finished baking it always tears a hole in the bottom and those couple of slices, once you get that far in the loaf, don’t look so hot. But, I absolutely love my bread machine. It’s terrific for kneading and my shoulders just aren’t up to the job anymore. Most of the time I just deal with the holes, but tonight I wanted a special loaf. This one is going to a friend.

Anyway, here’s the recipe for tonight.

Put into the bread machine for a 1 and a half pound loaf

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt
Half a cup of milk, warmed for a minute in the microwave
Add a quarter of a cup of water
Half a cup of sourdough starter (I just help myself to the starter. It’s not much and I’ll feed it this weekend)
Swish this all together until the honey is mixed into the liquid.

Add 2 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup wheat flour
3 tablespoons of wheat bran flakes (not wheat germ, though that would probably be good)
Add 2 teaspoons of dry yeast to the top of the pile.

Start your dough machine or plunge in up to your elbows if you’re not using a machine. As with kneading by hand you will want to monitor the progress of the knead. You might need to add a little bit of water tablespoon by tablespoon, or it might go the other way and you’ll need to add a little more flour. Knead for 10 to 15 minutes by hand until the surface of the dough is smooth, put it into an oiled bowl and cover with a towel (or just walk away for awhile if you’re using the machine). I think it rises about 45 minutes for the first rise just until it is doubled in size. Punch it down and remove from the bread machine. You’ll probably need a sprinkle of flour across your counter so it won’t stick to everything. Knead it a little bit and form into a loaf. You can get creative and braid it if you feel like it. Scatter a little bit of corn meal into the bottom of a loaf pan.

I fired up the oven just enough to take the edge off and heat it up a little tiny bit about 4 or 5 minutes if that. Then, I turned the oven off, put a kitchen towel over the pan and set it into the oven to rise the rest of the way. I suppose I could have left it all out on the counter to rise, but it’s not that warm there. Better to rise in the oven. About 45 minutes. I spritzed some water onto the floor of the oven to make it just a wee bit humid. It’s the water I have to squirt at the cats when Fluffy Drawers has gone across the divide between the houses to bedevil poor little Sheba on Phil’s patio. Or, you could always mist your plants with it too.

The plan is that after 45 minutes if it has risen enough I’ll fire up the oven to about 350 degrees and bake it 40 minutes. I’ve tried this twice before and the oven was too hot and the time in it was too long, so, I’m figuring this time it ought to be okay. If I do anything different I’ll adjust this recipe. And, if Blogger will finally cooperate and act right I'll be able to upload a picture. For whatever reason I have not had a whole lot of success uploading pictures to this blog lately. More often than not it won't work at all. Every once in a while it does. I guess you can say, "What do you want for free anyway?"

I began experimenting with my recipes when it happened that my loaves were coming out all wonky. I didn’t know if it was the yeast or the other ingredients. Now, I believe that it just wasn’t rising enough for all the “extra” stuff I have been adding to the loaves. This particular loaf, in lieu of a picture, came out pretty dark.

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