Time for the second installment of “let’s watch the girl who doesn’t know a whit about bread baking try to figure out how to make the perfect loaf!”
There were so many excellent comments on last week’s two posts (the introduction and first recipe) that I now have SEVENTEEN bread recipes on my list, plus two more in my email that I haven’t addressed yet, besides the SEVEN I’ve already tried, some of which need more testing with soaking adaptations or tweaks.
Anyone want to come over for tea and toast? Lots and lots of toast?
I’m going to have to pick through those and make my list of priorities carefully, because something tells me trying them all would be a bad idea. (Here come four fat Kimballs waddling down the road…)
One of the fascinating parts about having such a collection is that I can compare the basic structure of what all these other people think is the “best bread ever.” What’s the ratio of flour to fat to yeast? How is it kneaded? Soaked or unsoaked? Dough enhancers?
Why is Katie Baking Bread, Anyway?
I’m becoming more and more certain that I’m really not qualified for this. In revising the Kimball Family Bread Ratings (which now has 5148 possible points instead of 20), a reader recommended that I rate the “open crumb and chewy crust.”
Notice the blank look on my face.
Katie wonders: what is an open crumb? Heck, what’s a chewy crust? What if I like it crunchy?
Am I cut out for this???
The only saving grace is that if I can do this, anyone can!
You can see the actual Kimball Family Bread Rating System at the introduction post along with an ongoing list of the contenders. It actually worked out to be exactly 30 points with various bonus and deducted points besides.
**Be sure to visit last week’s recipe for the updated bread rating system on all of its variations!
Here is a touchpoint post on how I bake bread: Katie’s Basic Bread Baking Techniques (or lack thereof) If you have questions about any of my processes or choices, you’ll find answers there!
Learning About Bread Baking
I’m determined to learn a little bit about gluten development, kneading methods and results, and the optimal look and feel for bread – maybe even how to describe the “crumb” other than “all over my kitchen floor, all the time.” I’ll share as we go, okay?
But I digress. I am working on a post titled something like “Katie’s Basic Bread Baking Techniques (or lack thereof)” which will cover the following topics for all recipes involved:
- how to get water hot
- what kind of fat to use
- sweetener philosophy
- what kind of yeast I use
- what kind of flour
- what are dough conditioners?
- how to tell if the gluten is developed
- rising places
- forming a loaf (or not)
- how to adapt to soak
- how to use various machines – dough cycle vs. Kitchen Aid vs. hand knead
- and some more I haven’t thought of!
This way I won’t have to repeat some of the basics in every post but can simply link back to this one.
Ready for this week’s recipe? (She asks, as she finally gets around to the point of the post 500 words in!)
Recipe: Sprouted Sandwich Bread and Rolls
This recipe is from the book Essential Eating Sprouted Baking by Janie Quinn. Essential Eating and Shiloh Farms have been sponsors that keeps the site rolling. I was skeptical, having never baked a yeast bread recipe with 100% sprouted flour.
- With a stand mixer:
- Mix the flour, salt and yeast together, then add the butter, syrup and water.
- Mix with the dough hook until the dough has formed a ball (I had to add a little water at this point to get all the flour to incorporate).
- Knead on level 2 for 7-8 minutes.
- Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size.
- Form the dough into a loaf in a large greased pan and rise again until the loaf crests the pan.
- Bake at 350F 15-20 minutes .
- Cool loaf on a wire rack once removed from pan.
- Alternately, you can roll the dough into about a dozen rolls, allow to rise until doubled, and bake in a preheated 350F oven for 12-15 minutes.
- I like to bake breads on my baking stone.
- With a bread maker:
- Pour the wet ingredients in first, then the dry, ending with the yeast.
- Start the basic rapid cycle and remove the dough before baking time, usually after about an hour (check your manual for details).
- Form a loaf or rolls and proceed with directions as stated above.
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I made this bread twice, once with the Kitchenaid and once with the breadmaker, with quite different results. The first time, in the KitchenAid and rising in a slightly warm oven with the light on, the dough had zero rise after an hour, and since I saw so little action, I decided to go with rolls so I wouldn’t have to feed my family a sprouted doorstop.
The rolls rose a bit better once formed, and the final result was a shock – perfectly fluffy and soft rolls, very moist and spongy. The kids, even a visiting friend, loved them. I am pretty sure that some folks would say they’re simply too soft, however, so be warned.
The second go-round I followed the book’s directions exactly and used the “rapid rise” cycle on my breadmaker. That meant that in an hour, the bread was kneaded and risen (so well I thought it was a different recipe), and I chose to take the dough out and put it into a loaf pan. I almost let it bake in the machine on accident, so it had gotten pretty warm but not too hot.
Within 15 minutes rising time, I had this problem on my hands:
Rather than overflow the pan while baking (been there, done that, makes a mess in the oven), I decided to pull off about 5-6 rolls, which made for an ugly loaf but one that was intact.
Kimball Family Bread Ratings:
- Whole Grains: 5
- Softness: 3 (lost points because it’s almost too moist)
- Flavor: 3 (a bit different because of the sprouted flour, although my son says they’re “amazing!”)
- Workability: 4(one point lost for not coming together in the stand mixer)
- Good Rise: 2, 5
- Easy Recipe: 5
- Bonus points: +2 sprouted, –1 cost of sprouted flour
My final description: Sprouted bread is, as I expected, different than traditional whole wheat. There is a certain sweeter overtone, but not sweet like honey, sweet like “I’m related to carrots and lettuce.” Sprouted flour is said to digest like a vegetable, after all, and I for one taste the “plant-ness” in there.
The bread was way too soft to spread 64 degree butter (mushed and fell apart), and once lightly toasted the raw honey (use the code Katie15 for 15% off at that site!) made a mess of it. I have a hunch making a PB&J would be a bit frustrating. If you like melt in your mouth softness that falls apart in your hands, this bread’s for you. The rise points are radically different simply because I had two different experiences, one that rose and one that didn’t. Perhaps the environment inside the bread maker is just so optimal for yeast that it can’t fail, whereas my attempt in the warm oven was humanly flawed.
As for the cost of sprouted flour, if the health benefits of sprouted wheat are important to you, you won’t have a problem with that. Here’s how to be frugal about it and make homemade sprouted wheat flour (in bulk!).
Want to Play?
If you try the recipe, either as written or with some changes, let us know! Leave a comment with what you did and how it turned out.
Disclosure: Shiloh Farms is a paid advertiser for January receiving their complementary in-post mention. See my full disclosure statement here.