|Photo: Wikipenda Commons|
Debra's Daily Bread
12 ounces water (room temperature)
1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 extra large eggs
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup of non-fat dry milk powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup of ground flax seed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Optional: 2 teaspoons dried garlic (or more)
butter to coat the bread pan and top of unbaked bread
1) Start by pouring 10 ounces of lukewarm water into a large bowl. (I use a wok pan.) Stir in 1/4 teaspoon dry yeast. (Hold the balance of the water. If the dough is too dry after all the flour is sprinkled in, pour in a little more water.)
2) Toss and mix in the rest of the ingredients, eggs, dry milk powder, salt, flours, ground flax seed and olive oil. (Note: Extra virgin olive oil is almost wasted when used in baking, but it's the only cooking oil I stock, so it gets used in cooking, broiling and baking😊.)
3) Optional: I like to add some garlic. It's a subtle flavor. You will need to add more than 2 teaspoons if making garlic bread to really taste the garlic.
4) You can use the long handle end of a cooking spoon; or a small spatula to fully incorporate the flour to form a ball of dough. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl clean with the spatula.
5) Let the dough proof overnight in the bowl or wok. Proofing for 12 hours gives the bread a delicious flavor. I butter the top and cover with plastic wrap and a towel.
6) The next morning, use the spatula to press the air out of the dough. Sprinkle flour on top of the dough as needed. (Since I proof in a large wok, I don't need to dump the dough onto a flat surface. Only one thing to clean: the wok.) Work the dough by stirring, and you can fold it over a couple of times if you feel like it, not much is required. It should feel elastic and smell like yeast.
7) Form the dough into a loaf, or circle, lay it in a well buttered pan; and butter the top of the loaf.
8) Let the dough rise again in a warm place, this time until it more than doubles in the pan. I leave home, run errands and return several hours later.
9) Bake in a 400 degree F preheated oven for 45 minutes covered and 10 - 15 minutes uncovered.
The recipe is forgiving in the following ways. You can use bread flour; or 100% whole wheat flour. 100% whole wheat will make a dense, less fluffy loaf. As mentioned, I like my bread crusty on the outside, but soft and fluffy on the inside, which is why I use a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat flours. The ground flax seed is for extra health benefits like fiber, lignin (lowers cholesterol) and Omega-3 fats.
Bread flour has slightly more protein than all-purpose flour. [12% - 14 % vs. 8% - 11%] Since I never buy bread flour, I toss in eggs and milk for extra protein. You can also substitute regular milk, as opposed to, using water and dry powder milk, if you wish.
Extra Tip: If you toss in 1/4 cup of uncooked oatmeal flakes you get multi-grain bread. I sometimes toss in a cup of oatmeal, then reduce the all-purpose flour by as much as a cup, but anymore makes a loaf of bread dense in lieu of light and fluffy.
Finally bake the shape of bread you desire: round, loaf, or artisan and unstructured. You decide.
Perhaps I'm biased, but think my recipe has better ingredients than the upmarket shops who have replaced the old mom and pop bakeries in my neighborhood. Cut into thick rich and tasty slices. Enjoy!
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