A documentation of my preservation and preparation of local foods as I work through the seasons. This will serve as a reference tool for me in the future and as a sharing guide for family and friends...and anyone else interested. Hopefully, I can offer some useful methods, tips and recipes to share with everyone--be they novice or pro--and encourage them to join me in the exciting world of preserving and cooking with local foods.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bread Baking

I usually do my bread baking weekly, especially during Winter months.  Nothing better on a cold winter day than the aroma of fresh bread coming from a warm oven.  When it’s too hot to bake, we get our grain from other dishes--rice, couscous, cereals, flaxseed…

I do not use quick-rise yeasts, as a slow rise gives the bread more character and flavor.

My favorite bread recipes:

Mom’s Milk BreadThis is my mother's recipe for white bread and rolls
350 for 25-40 min   (15-20 min for buns—makes 2 doz)
1 cup whole milk
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar  (sugar can be reduced; I allow it as I am all-too-familiar with, and fond of, this recipe.)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 TBlsp. Salt
1 TBlsp Yeast (1 pkg) dry or ½ cake
5-6 cups flour (more if needed for soft dough)
--Melt butter ;  Add milk and heat to lukewarm;  Heat water to lukewarm.  Put yeast in the water and let sit until foams (15 min)   Sift 3-4 cups of the flour into a large bowl.  Add the sugar and salt and mix.  Make well in center and add liquids.  Stir in remaining flour until large ball can be formed.  Place ball on floured surface and knead 10 minutes.  Put in large bowl, cover with light towel and set in warm place to rise until doubled.  Takes approx. one hour to rise.  Punch down and put in greased bread pan or make buns on greased cookie sheet.  Let rise a second time.  It will take less time, approx. ½ hour.  Bake until golden brown on top and has hollow sound when top is tapped on top.  Cool before storing.

Herb Breadspice up white bread simply by adding herbs
Make Mom's bread recipe above adding  1 TBlsp. fresh or dry herbs to dough.  Do not use powdered herbs.  I sometimes add 1/2 TB each of two different kinds. 
My favorite additions:  1 TBlsp. Italian Herbs
                                      1/2 TB minced garlic or onion plus 1/2 TB Oregano
                                      1/2 TB rosemary plus  1/2 TB grated orange peel
                                      1 tsp sage leaves plus 2 tsp grated lemon peel

Wheat or Rye Breada nice variation, nice with soups or stews
Substitute 2 cups rye or wheat flour for 2 cups white flour in Mom's bread recipe above.

Dill Breada delicious savory bread, good for company and appetizers
350    25-30 min        makes two 8” rounds
1 package yeast dissolved in ¼ cup warm water  (let sit 10 min)
1 cup warm cottage cheese  (be careful not to overheat)
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon instant onion
1 Tablespoon butter
2 tsp dill seed (not dill weed)
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
1 egg
2+ cups flour
--Prepare yeast and warm cottage cheese in microwave.  Mix with rest of the ingredients in order; add flour as needed until it becomes a stiff dough, form into ball, cover and let rise to double.  Divide in half, form into flat rounds, put in greased pie pans, let rise again; bake.

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