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03 February 2012 @ 01:17 am
Poppy’s Very Basic Bread  

Makes: 2 Large Loaves or a 12" Cast Iron Skillet

I adore this bread. To me the smell, the texture and the taste are the very meaning safety and comfort. The below recipe is an adaptation of my maternal grandfather’s recipe. Edgar (whom I called Poppy) was the cook in his household and he excelled at what I would best describe as filling flavorful peasant fare. The kind of thing you would crave after working a full day on the farm or in his case the construction site. This bread is a good example of his cooking and one of the very first things I can remember him serving me.  

Strangely a lot of folks think making good bread is difficult or requires a special machine. Not so! If you can make a mud-pie you can make this yummy bread and thought it does take time, it is not expensive and does freeze beautifully. At last calculation this recipe cost less than 80 cents a loaf to make.

COMPONENTS
1 1/2T Active Dry Yeast
2c H2O
1T Honey or 1 packet Sugar
6c AP Flour*
2t Salt
1T Brown Sugar
Spray Grease or 1T of Cooking Oil
White Vinegar


TOOLSET
Large Bowl
Large Mixing Spoon
Gloves
2 Dish/Tea Towels
Measuring Cups & Spoons
Large Zip Bags for Storage
Two Large Loaf Pans
13”x18” Baking Sheet with a Lip


PROCEDURE

  • Begin by proofing the yeast.
  • In a small cup combine the honey and a 1/2 cup of warm water. Add the yeast, stir to combine and then set aside. Lively yeast will develop a head similar to a pint of beer within about 10 minutes (No head = dead yeast= no bread).
  • Set aside a ½ cup of flour for forming loaves after the first rise.
  • In a large bowl of combine 2 cups of flour, the salt and the brown sugar.
  • When the yeast mixture is proofed, add to the bowl and mix with a large spoon.
  • Add the rest of water, 2 more cups of flour and mix again.
  • At this point, stop mixing with the spoon and put on a pair of gloves.
  • After spraying down your gloved hands with grease, finger mix the remaining 1 ½ cups of flour into the dough.
  • The dough should look like a very thick batter.
  • Cover the bowl with a tea towel and put in a warm place to rise (the dough should double in size within an hour).
  • Before forming the loaves, liberally grease the loaf pans and arrange side by side on the cookie sheet. Then prep the counter you are going to use for kneading by wiping down with white vinegar and drying well (dirt and dust = not yummy).
  • Spread the reserved ½ cup of flour on the counter and dump the dough out onto the floured spot.
  • Re-glove and grease your hands.
  • Divide the dough in half and form each half into a large smooth oval mass.
  • Place the loaves in the pans, cover with a tea towel and put in a warm place to rise (the loaves should double in size within an hour).
  • Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • When the loaves are done rising, place in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until GB&D** and cooked bread sounds hallow when tapped.
  • Cool and store whatever your family does not devour in a large zip bag.

TECHNICAL HELP

If you have stand mixer with a dough hook and a spatula your bread making adventure just got easier. Proceed as follows.

  • Pour proofed yeast into bowl of mixer and add 2 cups of flour, the salt and the brown sugar.
  • Mix to combine and scrap down sides.
  • Add half the rest of water, 2 more cups of flour and mix again.
  • Scrap down sides of bowl with spatula, add remaining flour and water and mix well.
  •  Scrap down again and then turn mixer to 3 or so and bowl knead dough with hook for about 10 minutes. Watch that mixer does not vibrate off the counter.
  • Dough should be thick and shiny with no dry spots or patches.
  • Remove bowl from mixer, remove hook from dough, cover and let rise as normal.
  • Return to original procedure to complete.

*All Purpose Flour.

** Golden Brown and Delicious.

TIPS & VARIATIONS

  • Mix it up. Try replacing up to 2 cups of white flour with whole wheat or rye flour. Be aware that different flours have different levels of gluten which can influence the texture of your bread. Check out your local bulk food section to purchase small amounts to experiment with and consider making a half batch first.
  • Add up to 2 cups of fruit to create an awesome low-sugar breakfast bread. Raisins, cranberries and chopped apricots are house favorites. 
  • Herb or spice it up. Add up to 2 tablespoon of dried herbs or spices per batch. Cinnamon and ginger or basil and garlic are both winning combinations.
  • Replace the water with fruit juice. Apple cider with whole wheat is a personal favorite.
  • Add come crunch. Mix in up to 2 cup of chopped roasted nuts or seeds for protein and flavor. Pecans, walnuts and pumpkins are yummy options.
  • Use up leftovers. Add up to 2 cups cooled cooked cereal to up the nutritional value of the bread. I have had great success with both steel cut and rolled oatmeal.

Frugally yours-

KC/FP

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anthony_lionanthony_lion on February 4th, 2012 12:08 pm (UTC)
Sounds yummy!

Me?
I use 1Kg(1.2lbs?) bags of 'bread mix' which I buy when they're on sale somewhere.

Dump the mix in the bowl, add yeast and lukewarm water, set the Kenwood to mix it together.
Except...
I add another 0.5Kg(1.1lbs) of flour,(different types depending on the type of bread) and more liquid than stated on the bag.
That way I end up with enough dough for 3 breads instead of the two that the mix was supposed to yield. That's because my oven holds 3 of the widest forms I could find.
As I buy the flour on sale, too, I end up with lots of cheap bread at the same time. One goes into a platic bag, the second and third is sliced into thick slices(nearly half an inch thick. Bread is good!) and what I don't eat that day is put in a plastic bag and put in the freezer.

My Kenwood Major has a large steel mixing bowl, and I use to rinse it out with hot water before I start so that the steel heats up a bit. Otherwise it'll 'steal' some of the heat from the lukewarm water.
The first rise is also done in the steel bowl. Then I fill the kitchen sink with about 1" of hot water and place the bowl in it.(the 'foot' on the bowl will keep most of the dough over the water, and the metal will distribute a lot of the heat, too, so the yeast survives.)
The second rise, after the dough is in the forms is done with filling the sink again, this time a little deeper, placing a grate over it and placing the forms on top of that.

Seems to work for me...
Of course, as I try to be frugal, on days I do bake bread, I usually eat fish au gratin or something else that is heated in the oven.(If I'm going to take the expense of heating it, why not get some good use out of it?)
Kestrel Catkestrelcat on February 5th, 2012 05:44 am (UTC)
I had forgotten...
About using hot water during the rise. My Kitchen Aid mixer has a steel bowl so that should work like your Kenwood. As we keep our house fairly cool (mid 50's in winter) hot water might be useful on a cold dark day.

Lately I have been using our West facing kitchen window for things like rising and defrosting. But the physics is the same.

I favor the silicon bread pans over metal these days. Huge loaves with very nice crust formation. I also like cast iron skillets for a big round loaf.

Like you baking day means other things in the oven as well. I have a whole other rack in there after all. Often baked potatoes, veggies and meat.

As Galadrion and I work very different schedules and we have the podling to feed as well I have gone back to one big cooking day a week or so which fills the frig with rewarm about leftovers and such. It's not a bad way to work things an fair less wasteful.

It's a joy chatting with a fellow frugal foodie, Anthony.

Thank you for the post-
KC