Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Easy and Delicious Bread from my new Bosch!

After a year of saving my pennies and a little love (in the form of cash) from my handsome hubs, I bit the bullet and bought a Bosch mixer. I was nearly killing my beloved Kitchenaid mixer by forcing it to knead wheat flour and I couldn't stand to see my Kitchenaid die such a slow, painful death. The Kitchenaid was also yielding inconsistent results. More often than not, the bread was crumbly, dry and barely good enough for toast. So, I traded my Kitchenaid in for a guitar (seriously) and bought a Bosch!

For my initial venture into large-batch bread making, I chose to master unsoaked/unsprouted whole grain bread. The margin of error is greater in baking the latter and I'm still working on just the right technique. In the mean time, I've chosen not to make the best the enemy of the good and enjoy fabulous, freshly baked whole wheat bread made with real ingredients. While I love to cook, I also love to spend time with my family outside of the kitchen.

I will share my recipe with pictures very soon, but first, I must mention the lovely lady who sold me my Bosch. Dixie at answered my many, many questions, gave me a great deal on my mixer, shared her bread recipe (including tips on kneading, etc.) and even called me to make sure I was getting the hang of whole wheat bread making! She still has the special going that she offered me. Go here to read about it.

Dixie's Basic Whole Wheat Bread (my commentary added in italics)

6 cups warm water
2/3 cup oil (I use coconut oil because I'm an addict)
2/3 cup honey (I use more like 1 cup...can't help myself)
8 cups Freshly Milled Whole Wheat Flour (additional flour needed later)
2 Tbsp. Vital Wheat Gluten (bought mine at Whole Foods, bulk food section)
2 Tbsp. Dough Enhancer (get it here)
3 Tbsp. SAF instant yeast
2 Tbsp. Salt
4-8 additional cups Freshly Milled Whole Wheat Flour

In the Bosch mixing bowl, combine water, oil, honey . Next add 8 cups of freshly ground wheat flour. On top of the flour, add Vital Wheat Gluten, Dough Enhancer, SAF instant yeast, and salt. “Jog” off and on using the “M’ side of the switch so that flour won’t rise out of the mixing bowl. Then mix on first speed until smooth. Then add the additional freshly milled whole wheat flour. Add it slowly as to not over flour. Stopping periodically to test it (we add the flour until the dough doesn’t stick to your floured finger when you “tap” it lightly) The amount of flour you add will depend on the moisture and protein levels in your wheat. Look for spots on the walls of the bowl that are clear of dough momentarily. You might stop the mixer and tap the dough gently with your finger to see if it sticks. It shouldn’t stick to you, if it does just add a little more flour. I add the flour very slowly towards the end.

This is what my dough looked like for this batch when I began the kneading cycle, but don't assume that your dough should look exactly like mine. The goal is to have a good not too wet, not too dry dough.

At this point turn your mixer to speed two and mix for about 5 minutes. The dough that was stuck to the sides and the floor of the mixing bowl will completely clean off. Form dough into 5-6 loaf pans.

Above is the dough, ready to rise. I bought these lovely pans from Dixie as well. They are the BEST bread pans I've used and they are priced very well. The red pan on the end is a silicone pan that works pretty well, but doesn't allow for a very tall rise because the pan is flexible. I didn't get it from Dixie. :)

When they are fully risen you should be able to put a small dent in the side of one of the loafs with your finger and the dent will not come back out, or it will come back very slowly. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.

Above are the risen loaves, ready to go in the oven (see below). Please inspect the inside of my oven well so that you will feel better about yourself as a housekeeper. :)

Beautiful, nutritious bread, fresh from the oven. At our house, we pop the bread out of the pan as soon as we it can be handled, about 30 minutes after baking, slather butter on each slice and enjoy the yumminess.

Using vital wheat gluten really helps with the rise and the texture of the bread. The gluten really helps the dough become more stretchy, which makes a good sandwich bread that won't fall apart easily. See the difference below:

I used the vital wheat gluten on the left, and the bread on the right did not contain vital wheat gluten. The pores in the bread on the right are quite a bit closer together, which makes for a more crumbly, less flexible bread.

Enjoy! Feel free to comment with any tips or inquiries.