Coming back from vacation is hard enough for adults, but what do you do with the kids after days of nonstop fun and activities? Time to pull out that bag of flour I bought from Bluebird Grain Farms and put them to “work” baking bread.
I’ve been feeling pretty lazy and jet-lagged myself and didn’t want to do anything too complicated so I found the simplest recipe I could find, forgot about starters, sponges and all those artisanal labor-intensive methods for now. I did the initial mixing myself or more accurately, the food processor did, let it rise once and then called in the workers to take it from there.
Our warm weather is perfect for activating the yeast and the dough rose to fill the bowl in about an hour. I cut the dough into 4 pieces and let Adrian and Lily each make 2 small loaves. Adrian was more methodical and rolled his into baguettes, while Lily’s were more rustic loaves. Both of them thoroughly enjoyed all the kneading, punching and patting to the point that I was a little worried about the texture of the bread. I shouldn’t have been because when it was baked and covered in butter, we couldn’t stop ourselves……
Here is the recipe for this very simple and quite delicious local whole wheat bread.
4 cups flour (I used hard red bread flour from Bluebird Grain Farms )
1 1/2 t salt
1 t white vinegar
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 t honey
1 2/3 cups warm water
1 T olive oil
Pulse flour, salt and vinegar in food processor to combine.
Stir together yeast, honey and 1/3 cup warm water in a small bowl. Let stand until foamy — about 15 minutes.
With the motor in the food processor running, pour the yeast mixture and remaining 1 1/3 cups warm water into the flour mixture, blending until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the side of the processor bowl — about a minute or two.
Remove the ball of dough from the food processor bowl. Knead for a couple of minutes on a lightly floured surface.
Pour a small amount of olive oil in a large bowl. Put the dough in the bowl and turn it over once to coat the top with oil. Cover with a clean cloth and place in a warm spot to rise for about an hour or more, until it has doubled in size.
Punch the dough down and form into loaves.
Place loaves on an oiled baking sheet or loaf pans and let rise again for 30 minutes. Make 3 shallow diagonal slashes across the top of each loaf.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and bake for 35 minutes. Cool loaves on a rack.
Best eaten warm with butter or try it toasted with some of Sally’s strawberry jam.
My recipe was inspired by one for french bread on epicurious.com, adapted from Jane Smiley.