Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bread and Braids

Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
Adapted from My Kitchen Addiction, originally from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Cookbook

2 Tablespoons orange juice
1 Cup lukewarm water
2 1/2 Teaspoons instant yeast (or one packet)
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 Cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 Cup canola oil
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Cup bread flour
3+ Cups white whole wheat flour

In a large mixing bowl, combine the water, orange juice, yeast and sugar. Stir to dissolve. Make sure it’s all dissolved. Add the yogurt, canola oil, salt and bread flour. Beat the ingredients together vigorously, using a wooden spoon. This helps to start to develop the gluten in the bread flour. Start adding the bread flour, gradual while still mixing with the wooden spoon until the dough pulls away from the bowl and forms a ball. The amount of flour you will need will depend of factors such as humidity. Add enough so that the dough isn’t sticking to your hands. On a floured surface, knead the bread until the dough is smooth (about 6-8 minutes).
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover it with a damp kitchen towel and let it rise until the dough has doubled in size. This should take about an hour or two. The dough has risen enough when the imprint of your fingers remains in the dough without filling back up.
This is where you take a break and enjoy the leftover Greek yogurt with some honey and berries and a cup of tea.
 When the dough is ready, punch it and form it into the shape of a loaf. If you would like to make the braid, take 1/3 of the dough and divide it into 3 strands and create a braid. Place the braid on top of the loaf and tuck in the ends.Place the loaf into a greased loaf pan and cover with the damp towel. Let it rise for another hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes and then cover with aluminum foil and bake for another 20-25 minutes.
Let the bread rest in the pan for a couple minutes and then transfer it to a cooling rack. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting a piece.

I was pretty happy with this recipe as sandwich bread. I don’t think it really held up well to just eat a slice by itself but it was delicious as a sandwich, or toast. It was just dense enough to be sturdy without being too heavy.

“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.” -James Beard