I must say that I am feeling rather English these days with my tea and slices of warm home baked bread. When I was in college my roomy, Lori, would bake bread that always smelled amazing and tasted delicious. Making my own bread had crossed my mind but I just hadn’t mustered up the courage to do it.
So the next week we ran out of bread and I thought to myself you can do it- you can make the best bread you have ever had. With that I got a hold of Lori and she sent me the bread recipe I am sharing with you.
I will say that there is something quite rustic, homey even, about kneading the bread yourself instead of using a bread machine.
It’s pretty wonderful! Enjoy!
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 1/4 cups warm water
1 tbs pure maple syrup
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs salt
4 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour, plus more for kneading
2tbs minced fresh parsley
1 tsp minced fresh chives
1 tsp dried marjoram
1/2 tsp dried thyme
** your herbs can vary…use whatever you have on hand
1. In a large bowl, combine yeast and 1/4cup of the water. Add the maple syrup and stir to dissolve. Let the mixture stand for 10 min then stir in the remaining 2 cups of water, the olive oil, and salt.
2. In a separate large bowl, combine the flours and stir until well mixed. Add about half of the flour mixture to the liquid mixture, stirring to blend, then work in the remaining flour mixture to form a stiff dough. Transfer to a lightly floured board.
3. Add the herbs and, with lightly floured hands, knead briefly to incorporate them. Dust your work surface with whole wheat flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking and continue to knead well until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes.
4. Place in a lightly oiled large bowl and turn over once to coat with oil. Cover with a clean kitchen towel or a piece of lightly oiled plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1-2 hours.
5. Meanwhile lightly oil 2 small baking sheets and set aside. punch the dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. divide the dough in half, shape into 2 round or long loaves, and place on the prepared baking sheets. Flatten the loaves slightly and cover with clean damp towels or lightly oiled plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place and let rise again until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees f. Use a sharp knife to cut one to 3 1/4 inch deep diagonal slashes in each loaf. bake on the center oven rack for 10 min then reduce the oven temp to 350 degrees f and continue to bake until brown about 30 min more. Tap bottom of loaves, if they sounds hollow bread is done, remove from sheets and let cool on a wire rack.
From Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson. Visit http://veganplanet.blogspot.com/ to learn more.
*** I used whole wheat flour for this bread instead of mixing white and wheat simply because I like the density of wheat flour.
I hope to soon conquer the world of sourdough and pumpernickel. I’ll let you know how that goes!