Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Quest for Perfect Bread

So I've recently realized that store bought bread bothers my stomach. Simple solution: make my own. However, as a graduate student, I have limited space and money, which means I do not have and cannot obtain a bread maker (or a stand mixer for that matter). So I've searched recipes online and I'm going to try one each week until I find the perfect wheat bread for sandwiches. Last week I tried this:

1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (see additional notes for a 100% whole wheat version)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons instant active dry yeast

1. *Combine first 6 ingredients in a large mixing bowl; stir.

2. Add flours and yeast, and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10-15 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover with a clean towel and let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes.

3. Punch dough down; knead for a few minutes until smooth and then form into a loaf. Place in greased loaf pan and cover. Let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. If loaf starts browning too soon, lightly lay a piece of foil on top of the loaf to prevent too much darkening.

5. Remove bread from oven and allow to rest in pan for a few minutes. Remove to a wire rack and cover with a cloth. Slice and enjoy while still warm! Leftover bread can be stored in an airtight bag or frozen until needed.


I'm sorry for not taking a picture, I wasn't planning on do this until I searched for a good student food blog and couldn't find one. But the summary of the bread: it was delicous, but very sweet. It would be fine for a peanut butter sandwich, but I bought turkey this week and it didn't work very well because of the sweetness. So it is not the best sandwich bread out there, but it is great to just snack on (I love anything sweet). So I'm going to try another bread, a Peter Reinhardt bread I found, it's a little more complicated, but you make a starter and soaker a day ahead of time, which is more convienient with my unpredictable schedule. I'll probably post later today, actually.

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