Saturday, December 24, 2005

Grandma's bread revisited again

OK, so here's my revised take, reduced quantities for 2 loaves (instead of original version, which is for 4 loaves):

2 c. buttermilk
1.5 c. water
1 lb. + 1/2 lb. rye flour, unsifted (1.5 lb. total)
1 lb. + 1/2 lb. (8 0z) + 1/2 lb. (8 oz) unbleached white flour, unsifted (2 lbs total)

2-1/4 tsp. active dry yeast (or 1 packet)
1 tbsp. unbleached white flour
1/2 c. warm water (120 degrees)

1/2 c. honey
1/2 tbsp. salt

1. Over medium-low heat, warm buttermilk and water in a pan to 110 degrees (stirring constantly so it doesn't curdle) and remove from heat. Stir in 1 lb. rye flour, cover tightly and leave in warm place overnight. Or, refrigerate and bring back to room temperature before continuing

2. The next day, combine yeast, 1 tbsp. flour, and warm water, and stir to dissolve. Let sit for 5 minutes until yeast mixture gets bubbly.

3. Into dough mixture, add yeast mixture, honey and salt. Stir in remaining 1/2 pound of rye flour, and stir in 1 lb. of white flour until mixture is uniform. Then, split dough in half by weight. Set half of dough aside. It gets split in half because the full amount of dough is too much for the small stand mixer to handle!

4. Take one-half of the dough and add dough to mixer set to "1" or "2" (low speed), and knead with dough hook, gradually adding 1/2 lb. of white flour. You will need to clean the dough hook a number of times at the beginning (every 30 seconds or so). After a couple of minutes, it will stop sticking. Total kneading time should be about 5-7 minutes.

5. Repeat step 4 for the remaining dough.

6. Grease two bread pans with butter, and dust them with rye flour. Shape dough into loaves and place in bread pans. Cover with towel, and leave in warm place to rise for 2 hours or until approximately doubled in bulk.

7. Preheat oven to 425. Place bread pans in oven and bake for 3o minutes. Reduce heat to 375 and bake for 15-20 more minutes.

8. Take bread from oven, remove from pans, and drape with damp cloth while they cool. This supposedly will help keep the crust from separating from the dough.

That's my story, and I'm stickin to it! We'll see how they turn out this year.

UPDATE 12/26/2005:
This year's recipe turned out good flavor, with a couple of comments:

1. Interior of bread was really too moist (although fully cooked), even after cooling down. Need to find some way to deal with this excess moisture. Maybe it means initial dough was too moist? Maybe it means longer cooking time? Maybe some further online research is warranted for dough/bread "troubleshooting".
2. Crust turned nice and black brown.
3. Too much dough for 2 loaves, even with 1/2 quantities. Recommend dividing into 3rds for final shaping & baking. One loave puffed up so high it was almost 2 loaves!

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