Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Need to Knead

Part 1 of my baking day yielded 3 loaves of sandwich bread, 2 loaves cinnamon raisin bread (1 of which was a free form loaf baked in a pie pan because I couldn't find my 5th loaf pan and which has already been eaten), dough gods (not pictured because they were eaten before I could take a picture), and 1 pan of brownies.  I didn't get around to making the cookies until after my husband went to work and the kids were asleep for the night--probably was safer that way.
I've posted a couple no-knead bread recipes here and I generally like them better because of their ease of preparation.  For yesterday's baking day however, I opted to make more traditional bread.  I like them better for sandwich-type bread (or, hubby willing, French toast type bread) in general.  I also just sometimes find it satisfying to beat the living crap (pardon my language) out of an innocent lump of dough.  It can be very therapeutic!

I made a triple batch so I could make 3 loaves of sandwich bread, 2 loaves of cinnamon raisin bread (when rolling out the dough, I just rolled in a handful of raisins and, after sprinkling a little water on the dough, sprinkled some cinnamon and sugar on there before flattening it again and rolling it up), and still have a loaf's worth of dough to make dough gods (fried dough sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar or powdered sugar)...which turned out not to be enough dough gods to make everyone happy, even though they weren't as good as I remember my mom's dough gods being when I was growing up.

Here is the basic recipe for the bread.  This yields 2 loaves, but is simple enough to adjust to bake more or less.

Basic Bread
3 cups white whole wheat flour
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp yeast (or 2 pkgs yeast)
2 1/4 cups very warm water
3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour

Mix the wheat flour, sugar, salt, butter and yeast in a large bowl.  Add water.  Beat quickly by hand (or on low speed using a mixer of some sort if you want to be like that) for 1 minute, scraping the bowl frequently.  Stir in all-purpose flour one cup at a time, to make the dough easy to handle.  

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead about 10 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl with the greased side of the dough up.  Cover and let rise 40 to 60 minutes or until double. 

Grease 2 loaf pans.  Punch down dough and split in half.  Flatten dough with a rolling pin to form a rectangle approximately 9"x18".  Fold crosswise into thirds, overlapping the sides.  Flatten into a square 9"x9".  Roll the dough tightly to form a loaf.  Press with thumbs to seal edges as you go and fold under the loaf when it is rolled up.  Place seam side down in the pan.  Cover and let rise in a warm place 35 to 50 minutes or until double.

Place oven rack in a lower position so the tops of the loaves will be in the center of the oven.  Heat oven to 425.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.  Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.  Let cool completely before cutting.  If freezing, cool completely and do not cut before freezing.


  1. Its raining here today so Im making bread. :0) Did you tell me that you did not have a stand mixer? The lock on mine is broke and pisses me off most days so Im getting a new one in a month or so. DO you want me to send you my old one? Its perfectly usable just the broke lock annoys me to no end.

  2. No thanks. :-) I wouldn't have anyplace to keep it. I have the world's smallest kitchen. I had to knead the dough on the dining "room" table since that was the only place to do it. I have no counter space at all!