Sunday, January 17, 2010

Baking bread with Anita's organic stone ground flour

" Bread is to the world cuisine what light is to an artist, it has the power to enhance and complement"

Not sure who the author of this quote is but I remembered it today as it really is an old world skill. 

This wholewheat bread is made with regular yeast and is a handy recipe when you haven't any starter or wild yeast on hand.  Artisan bread making is an enviable art and is complicated to get started, but truly well worth the effort.

I developed my bread making skills from the back of the flour bag. At the time we had Rogers Flour, a local brand and it was considered the best at the time.  Now I use Anita's organic stone ground wholewheat, a readily available local product.  There are more excellent flours coming available here in BC with the CSA expanding in our area.

My wish for this post is to make it accessible, to get you started if you have never made bread before.

For those who would like to make regular bread with store bought yeast this is a good start.  Artisan bread is an institution on it's own.  I'll be posting on this another time.  Homemade bread at any level is old fashioned frugality, one to embrace. Many home cooks use a bread maker but hands work just fine too . 

Anyone who buys 22kg sacks of flour has got to bake bread and in uncertain economic times this can save you money. 

Basic rule for 1 loaf

1 t sweetener per
1T regular yeast
1c of tepid water
3/4 t  of salt
1T of regular yeast
2 c  hot water
4-7 c flour

The liquid can be just about anything: scalded milk,  hot potato water,  pureed frozen vegetables with hot cooking liquid.

There are many ways to start. Boil up a tea kettle of water, pour it into a bowl and add salt.
That is the very basic.

Today I have used frozen green peas, and have brought 1quart of cold water in a medium pot to a boil, added 11/2 cups of frozen organic peas (or try mixed vegetables: adds fiber and flavor), covered the pot and brought it quickly back to a boil.   I then removed the pot and cooled it slightly before blending, water and all.

Meanwhile in small ceramic bowl proof the yeast with sweetener (sugar, honey, maple syrup, brown rice)  in the tepid water and let stand until foamy. If it has not, the water was too cold, too hot or the yeast old.  Start again with fresh ingredients.

Pour the hot liquid in a large mixing bowl, add the salt and a good dash of extra virgin olive oil, or 1/4 c butter.  Mix well to dissolve salt, and melt butter while liquid cools, before adding the proofed yeast . Make sure the liquid has cooled to blood temperature or the yeast will die.

At this point you can add more ingredients to enrich the bread or keep it simple.  For a sandwich bread that keeps for a few days add small amount sweetener, eggs, molasses, leftover oatmeal or leftover potato.  For a nice plain bread just add flour.

Start by adding 2 cups flour and mixing with a heavy wooden spoon,  adding more flour as it starts to stick, eventually cleaning the spoon and using your hands to knead the dough, until it doesn't stick to your hands and comes away from the bowl.

About flour: quantity depends on type of flour used. 
All purpose, unbleached white, wholewheat,  bread flour (which has a small amount of barley to aid the yeast), or try heritage Red Fife.

Do not use pastry flour as it is made from soft wheat and the gluten will not develop.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead some more.  Knead all you want, the more the better.

go be delicious


Sarah said...


I came across your lovely blog and thought you might like to take a peek at mine. I

live in the French Alps and write about food and renovating our old watermill. Would you be interested in exchanging links? I am now following you.



powderate said...

Thank you Sarah. The French Alps... mountain person... watermill. Very interesting! It will be a pleasure to link up.

Banu said...

Hi there,

This looks wonderful. I love that you are improvising your bread baking with all types of liquids; I'm a reluctant baker, but you've inspired me to try.

I'm also your newest follower. Happy to have found your blog!

Tamater Sammich said...

It was the climbing heritage toms espaliered along the 6' fence that just would NOT stop producing this year. They were getting smaller,(golf ball sized) but the flavour was still great.

Yeah, I know, poor me, with this horrible problem. But by October's end, I REALLY was at the "stick a fork in it, it's dawgone DONE." point with canning, so I tossed the many dozens whole, into freezer bags labelled "doughmatoes."

The night before bread day, I fill a certain sized bowl with them, and leave it out til morn, when they get whizzed up in the personal blender; That's my bread liquid. The acid, as when you add lemon, is a fine conditioner.

Girlfriend, your blog is mighty lovely, as is the risen dough photo today.

I'll send you some seed or maybe better, start you a couple plants from that seed.

powderate said...

Dear Tamater Sammich,

Very interesting point about the acid as conditioner, great idea for the doughmatoes. I want to do a post on sourdough starter and I'd like to attribute the recipe to you. West coast seeds has a variety of strawberry that you can start in January, I'm thinking of getting some, maybe a swap with you on some items, my plots will be small? Thanks for stopping by.