#4, Light Wheat Bread (Mini-Loaves)
So I’m watching a relative’s house for a while, wasn’t actually sure if I wanted to do a bread this particular week, especially after spending my Sunday on French Onion Soup. But I still had a Monday completely free, and I could always use something for sandwiches and other fun uses; or just some hot bread out of the oven for craving munchies. Here’s the caveat: No Cuisinart to bring with me and use. So yes, if I do have tackle a bread recipe, it means facing down my arch nemesis… Hand Kneading. That slick, evil bastard… always mocking me in times past…
Well I’ll show him! I’ve learned some of his weaknesses and tricks to making this bastard bow down before my palms! How hard can it be now right?
Well I guess that probably depends on the recipe. Considering my change in environment, need to knead, lack of resources, and brief opportunity, I figured it best to start off with one of the more simplistic recipes that I could easily do within a day start to finish. I debated one of the brioche or something, but thus did I then fall upon the page for Light Wheat Bread. A straightforward guy to test myself with, plus it will be useful to have around the house (which is of course bereft of any bread products).
And there was a couple other benefits. We’ve had a thing of wheat flour in the cupboard for months that has needed using. Not to mention it finally forced me to go out and buy powdered milk, something I’ll probably need for a couple recipes, and which I have REALLY wanted around to try for ice cream (apparently there are a lot of good ones which use it, I’ve been wanting to see what the affects are).
For a fun little twist, and so my attempt on it wasn’t SO boring (besides the whole kneading thing), the place I’m staying at only had those tiny cornbread loaf tins. So I get to try my hands at making mini bread loaves! I’m sure they’ll end up quite useful, not to mention adorable. Just need a little adjustment of heat and time, from 350F for half an hour (huh, now I’m rereading the recipe and it was actually 45-60… damn) to 375F for 20 minutes, and that should do the trick.
2½ cups/11.25 oz Bread Flour
1½ cups/6.75 oz Whole Wheat Flour
1½ Tb/0.75 oz Honey or Sugar
1½ tsp/.38 oz Salt
3 Tb/1 oz Powdered Milk
1½ tsp/0.17 oz Dry Yeast
2 Tb/1 oz Shortening or Butter, room temp
1¼ cups/10 oz Water, room temp
- Stir together Flours, Salt, Powdered Milk, Yeast, and Sugar (if using)
- Add Shortening, Water, and Honey (if using)
- Stir until it all comes together in a mass, adding more water if flour still remains in bowl bottom. The dough should still be ‘soft and supple,’ mainly trying to avoid any stiff and tough feel
- Transfer to floured counter and knead for about 10 minutes, until slightly tacky, smoothish, firm, and can pass the windowpane test
- Lightly oil large bowl, and transfer dough, rolling to coat. Cover with plastic and let bulk ferment 1½ – 2 hours, until doubled in size
- Remove from bowl, divide into 3-4 pieces for each small loaf pan (or use whole dough for a larger 8½” x 4½”)
- Roll and/or shape into a ¾” rectangle and form into a Loaf (see Anadama for technique), transfer to loaf pan and mist with spray oil
- Cover plastic, let Proof 90 minutes, it should crest above the lip of the pan
- Preheat oven to 375F, rack on middle shelf
- Move bread in oven and bake 20 minutes, rotating 180 degrees after 10 minutes depending on oven distribution
- When finished baking, immediately remove from loaf pan, let cool or slice immediately for warm chunks of bread to be buttered and sandwiched
What Have I Learned This Time?
That it really DOES look better and nice when you get a loaf dough that rises above the pan like it’s supposed to.
The life of the bread extends much further once it’s cooled down; seriously, hot out of the oven, I chowed down almost an entire mini-loaf right there, taking off big ol slabs for butter and such. This morning, cool out of the bag, it was much easier to only take off thin slices for a perfect mini sandwich (oh, you thought I was talking about ‘expiration date’ shelf life things? How ridiculous, we all know fresh bread disappears MUCH faster by mouth than by mold and staleness in my presence). Speaking of which, it’s DEFINITELY awesome and perfect for those sandwiches.
Light wheat bread really isn’t wheaty at all, nowhere close to what I was hoping. I should try finding a darker wheat bread recipe at some point; still got all that extra wheat flour after all.
There WAS part of it that felt a touch doughy/floury when eaten, though to be fair that WAS when I was taking big bites out of it. It IS a typical loaf bread after all, not meant to be eaten that way like my previous breads. Not to mention I actually feel any main undesirable effects that may have been there (if any) was probably due to specific recipe and ingredients vs execution this time around. Not that I think I did it perfect.
But ultimately I was very happy with how this turned out. I have passed the first kneading test! Wooooh!
Does the Dough Like Me Yet?
It seems to appreciate my efforts at hand kneading, though it either mocks my flours, the recipe chosen, or simply my face.