Monday, February 11, 2008

Wherein I make the best bread I've ever made

Edited to add: bread recipe at the bottom - I promise you'll love it and how easy it is to make.
and that's according to my husband, so you know it must be true. Because husbands never say things just to make their wife feel good, nope - it's all about the truth.

Actually, it does taste pretty amazing even if I do say so myself. I have made our family's bread off and on for years. When I started, we were just scraping by and all I had to grind the wheat was a hand grinder. Do you know how long it takes to grind wheat for four loaves by hand? Long enough to have amazing biceps (don't forget to switch off so you're not lop-sided and start walking in circles).

About 5 years ago, our neighborhood did a group buy on Nutri mills and Bosch machines. Wow! What a difference pushing a button makes. You might think that my biceps have suffered without all that hand grinding, but Ty is making sure that I still have Biceps of Steel - lifting 80 lbs routinely will do that for you.

Recently, I've been experimenting with different grains and stumbled upon kamut. I really love the flavor of this grain although it is a little different to bake with. I generally use about a cup less of this flour, grind it more coarsely, and make sure to add more gluten to the recipe I'm using. My favorite recipe is also the easiest I've tried so far. If you have a favorite bread recipe, I'd love a copy (please email me). I also enjoy making Ezekiel Fasting Bread - it is a sweet, batter bread sort of like zucchini bread but dense like wheat bread. Try it and see if you like it. I don't recommend it for sandwiches, but it makes lovely toast or a healthy dessert.

Julie's Mom's Wheat Bread
8 C. kamut flour or white wheat flour
2 T. yeast
3/4 C gluten (increase to one cup if using kamut flour)

Mix a little until yeast is mixed throughout flour, then add:

6 C. hot water-not boiling, but hot from tap

Mix this together for 1 minute with a mixer or constant stirring, then let the mixture set, with a cloth over the bowl, for ten minutes (set timer). Then add:

2/3 C honey
1/2 C oil (2/3 cup if not using gluten, or if you want it extra moist)
2 T. salt

Mix a little and keep mixing while adding 6 more cups of white wheat flour (only 5 if your first 8 were kamut flour) for 6 minutes, or knead constantly by hand for 10 minutes. Turn oven onto lowest setting (170 degrees), and spray bread pans with Pam or use butter to grease. Divide into 5 loaves for 8" pans or 4 loaves for 9" pans. If you want to make cinnamon bread, roll one of the loaves out very thinly and sprinkle cinnamon over the entire surface, then sprinkle with raisins and roll up tightly. Pinch the ends to seal and place seam side down in the loaf pan. Arrange the bread pans in the oven and set timer for 20 minutes. When the timer goes off, turn oven up to 350 and bake for 30-35 minutes more. When the bread is done, take it immediately out of the pans and lay the loaves on clean dish towel until they are cool (approximately 45 minutes). Then put in bread bags and freeze the bread that you will not be eating within the week.

I usually only make one loaf of cinnamon bread per batch, but my family likes it so much I've decided to make half the batch cinnamon loaves. Before using kamut, I had to use half white flour and half wheat in order for my kids to stomach it, but now they eat it just fine (half wheat/half kamut). There is less gluten in kamut, but more protein and the taste is really pleasant. Bon appetit!

This has been a Talk About Tuesday post, to see what others are TATing about click here


Anonymous said...

Yummy! I love the smell of bread cooking. We are going to have a lady at church give a lesson on the bread she makes. It was wheat and my kids wanted it as snacks! They have mostly had white, so this was amazing!

Anonymous said...

wow! you are ambitious. I bet it is delicious though!!

Jennifer Lavender said...

That sounds so delicious.

Cocoa said...

I need to get out of my comfort zone and try different grains. I don't think I've ever heard of kamut.

Jen said...

It looks so pretty with the swirls!

Alisha said...

it does sound wonderful. i have been making our bread and only last week got brave enough to add 1/3 cup of wheat bran (100% whole white wheat). i've loved the white wheat - much lighter texture). i'll be sure to give your kamut recipe a go next week!
beautiful swirls, corrie!

The Lazy Organizer said...

I'll have to look for Kamut. Have you ever baked with oat flour? I've been experimenting with it by adding it to my wheat bread but it hasn't worked well. I'm just going to add rolled oats next time.

compulsive writer said...

I so love it when you share recipes!

Corrie said...

Just so you know, kamut is pricier than wheat. We were able to get ours at a reduced cost, but it was still a bit of a shock. I do enjoy the flavor so much more than white wheat though.

I haven't tried oat flour in anything besides cookies and it's delicious in those. I wonder if you need to add more gluten when baking with oat flour?