Almost Bread

It’s only taken me a year set we set out on the Open Bread odyssey, but I got it together last night to actually set out to bake a few loaves (this odyssey has a long, gentle curve to full throttle — like bread).

I should mention that this was made possible in no small part due to the existence of the new grocery store downtown: they have flour and yeast both, and I was able to swing by on the way home to pick these up.

Most of our recipe books buried in a giant pile of books upstairs, I used the whole wheat recipe from the Cooks’ Illustrated The Best Recipe cookbook. Their recipe calls for a mixture of whole wheat and all purpose flours, with a small amount of wheat germ and rye flour mixed in; we didn’t have either add-on, so I used a little buckwheat flour for variety.

All was proceeding wonderfully, and I was well on the way to a couple of excellent loaves when, for some bizarre reason, the oven shut off midway through the baking. This way well have been due to some errant key-press on my part (we have a futuristic Star Trek-like oven); in any case, the loaves foundered at 240 degrees for 15 minutes before I noticed what had happened, and there was no recovering.

In the end I tried a quick blast back up to 375 degrees for 10 minutes, but the damage was done. The end product was surprisingly edible for such a disaster; it was just a couple of inches thick rather than a full loaf (although a pleasantly elastic 2 inches; at least I didn’t produce bricks).

Once the sting has passed, I’ll give it another try.


Pelle Braendgaard's picture
Pelle Braendgaard on July 24, 2006 - 01:26 Permalink

I love baking bread but haven’t baked anything besides Pizza (… since I returned to Denmark. It is so easy to get things wrong, such as temperature, amount of flour etc wrong, but as you found it’s normally pretty good eating anyway as long as it’s devoured fresh. If nothing else the smell of fresh bread is enough to make you eat anything.

I also discovered a few years back that the best thing about a bread machine is that it makes it really quick to create perfectly kneeded bread dough, which you can then make into rolls or a normal loaf. The oven on those things are not very good though. However if you more or less follow their suggested flour/liquid ratios and otherwise bake it in your normal oven they are surprisingly good little things to have in your kitchen for when you start getting lazy like me. I don’t have one at the moment though due mainly to the small size of my Copenhagen kitchen.

Ann's picture
Ann on July 24, 2006 - 13:21 Permalink

What — no pictures?

John Lennon took lots of pictures when he made bread.

Kevin's picture
Kevin on July 24, 2006 - 13:46 Permalink

Anyone know were one can get Good Heart bread now that Atlantic Gormet Pasta seems to be closed? Anyone know the recipe? (I’d be happy to buy it — but I’d love to know how to make it.)

Nils's picture
Nils on July 25, 2006 - 02:55 Permalink

Here’s my recipe for a wonderful tasty, simple, multigrain french bread (if that’s not a contradition in terms):

1 1/2 cups (plus 1 tablespoon) water
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
4 level cups multigrain flour
1 1/2 tsp yeast

Mix, knead, and allow dough to rise, then punch down, roll into a loaf, and baste with veggie oil. Place on a greased pan, allow to rise a bit more, then into the over at 350 for 22 minutes or till golden brown on top and bottom.

I use my bread machine to do the kneading and punching, because I’m lazy. But this bread is the stuff of raves, is VERY healthful … and foolproof if you don’t cut corners or try to be clever.

Olle Jonsson's picture
Olle Jonsson on July 25, 2006 - 09:02 Permalink

Hey, bread brothers and sisters!

I also made bread, yesterday. I had to postpone it to Monday, since we were out of “real” wheat flour. You can buy the dead, lifeless variety everywhere, but the stuff that makes the dough sing can only be bought at health stores. So we did, and started making a set of “mediterranean buns”. Chopped black olives, tablespoon of tomato paste, half a cup of chopped fresh basil leaves, olive oil, salt, a tablespoon of oregano, all kinds of good, right into the dough.

Hint: Make the dough a bit thin, not runny, though. Then pour it into a “bread container for oven use” (we use the kind made of silicone; excellent) or the kind of utensil you make muffins/cupcakes in. The cupcakes olive-breads were very juicy and good.

Our freezer was full. So, we had to eat ourselves out of that problem.

Kevin's picture
Kevin on July 26, 2006 - 17:49 Permalink

Nils, are there whole grains in the multi-grain you use?

Nils's picture
Nils on July 28, 2006 - 02:04 Permalink

I use Robin Hood MultiGrain flour. It’s probably not “healthy” enough for the organic crowd, but … it’s just fine and my bread is great.

Kevin's picture
Kevin on July 31, 2006 - 11:31 Permalink

I’ll keep digging for the recipe for Good Heart (or an equvalent), Nils, the whole grains make the concocotion lower on the glycemic index (a measure of the sugar-effect of carbohydrates) and that’s much better for those of us who plan to spend the rest of our lives living with arthritis (though I’ll bet your bread tastes great and is much better than that rolled starch which occupies most shelf space in most stores). A single sandwich from ‘goo-bread’ will leave me limping for a few days at least half the time.

It’s either whole grain (which impies multi grain) or stop eating bread altogether for me. As for the “organic” side of things, well that’s a seperate and perhaps futile concern since GMOs have already been released into the environment and we really can’t put that genie back in a bottle; genetic pollution, it is. When I see “organic” I think “lower in easily controllable poisons”. I don’t think “free of…” or “natural” since that’s essential unachievable. And, now that Wallmart is into “organics” god knows what will qualify.