With a new year comes resolution, lose 15 pounds, call your mother more, what have you. I’m resolving to learn all of those pesky tips and tricks that no one seems to talk about anymore, those little things that make all the difference in the kitchen and make you look like an absolute rockstar. And lose that 15 pounds I’ve been resolving to lose for the last three years, but that’s neither here nor there.
Every Tuesday, we’ll be covering different tips and trick through the kitchen ranging from today’s first installment, on how to bake bread, to things like how to make compound butter, poach an egg, roast a chicken, how to make stock, how to roast garlic and anything else you guys want to learn! This is as much for you guys as it is for me. When I realized how satisfying it was to pull a warm loaf of bread out of the oven that I had baked with my own two hands, it was a GREAT feeling and something I wanted to share with all of you. And well, carbs. DUH.
Some of these things might seem too rudimentary, too mundane, but I figure when we (Yes, I’ve invoked the royal “We”) know and understand the basics we can build on that and grow our expertise in our own kitchens – from the ground up.
Last weekend I put up a question on my Facebook page on what everyone wanted to learn and I got some great responses. The one that struck me the most was – how to make bread. Or any yeasted carbs for that matter. The biggest complaint with yeasted breads was that yeast is intimidating. Been there!! I can’t express how many times my yeast didn’t take, my bread didn’t rise and I threw my floured hands up in the air and had an absolute meltdown over it. Truth. But once you know how-to (ahhh, see what I did there? *dork*) make the yeast your little carbon dioxide emitting minion, you’ll be baking up a loaf of bread, or cinnamon rolls if that’s more your speed (nod “yes”), in no time.
Just bring your patience, a rainy Saturday morning and a few hours. Patience is key and something you will need to add to your new year’s resolution list. Not because it’s challenging, but just because the double rise the most breads require – takes. time. Settle into the couch with a movie and a cuppa cocoa. You’ve got your afternoon booked.
My favorite bread to bake is Multigrain bread. It’s chock full of yummy grains, completely melt in your mouth soft on the inside and well it just looks darn pretty on the outside.
Boil 2 ½ cups of water and pour over 1 cup of 7-grain hot cereal. For this recipe Bob’s Red Mill works great! Set it aside for the cereal to cool to a cool, but warm 100 degrees. This is vitally important so when the yeast is added it doesn’t die. 100 is buttah’ for yeast. In a stand mixer bowl (This is the stand mixer I have – Beautiful BEAST) with the hook attachment, pour the warm cereal mixture. Add in honey and yeast and mix gently to combine. As this is mixing slowly add in the flour. When all the flour is mixed in turn on to medium to knead until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. When this happens, after about 2 minutes stop and cover the bowl with plastic wrap, letting the dough rest for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes is up, plop the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead to form a tight round dough ball. It will take about five or six turns. Push the dough away from you with the heels of your hand, grab it from the top and fold it over on top of itself again. Lather, rinse, repeat and you will see the bowl start to form. Then, place in a lightly oiled bowl rolling the dough around to cover it lightly in oil. Cover again and let the bread do it’s first of two rises. About one hour.
Find a warm place for your bread to rise – I personally found the sweet spot for my bread on top of my dryer as I’m doing laundry. Keeps it just warm and cozy – and hey, multitasking!
Once the bread has risen and doubled in size, you’re ready to shape! Shape and pull the dough out on a clean surface until it reaches a 18″ by 12″ rectangle. With a sharp knife or lame´cut the dough into two sheets of 9″x12″.
Starting from the top down, tightly roll each sheet into a log. When you reach the end pinch the seams all around with your fingers. Set aside and repeat with the other carb-baby.
Next, toss ½ cup of oatmeal onto the surface. Spray each log with non-stick spray and then roll each in the oats to coat. Hooray, rhymes!
Place each log into a loaf pan, gently covering and letting rise one more time – for about 1 hour. Start pre-heating the oven to 350 degrees.
If you haven’t thought about it until now, I’m here to tell you that investing in a pizza stone is a very wise idea. The pizza stone helps distribute heat evenly in your oven, particularly for those of us who don’t have a convection oven. It also helps create that uber crispy crust. I found mine at Sur La Table for about $40, but you can find cheaper ones. Heck, you can go to your local hardware store and source a large piece of terra cotta tile!
Bake away for 35-40 or until the center of the bread reaches 200 degrees. Turn each loaf out of the pans immediately and allow to cool on a wire rack. And sit on your hands if you must to resist the urge to dig in too soon. I know, toughest thing EVAH. Slice when almost cool and slather in buttah, baby. You know you wanna.
Are there any other How-To’s you want to see here on How-Tuesday?! Leave a comment below!
For other carb-olicious recipes check out:
Rosemary Olive Oil Bread – Table for Two
Irish Soda Bread – Gimme Some Oven
Braided Cardamom Bread – Comfortably Domestic
Caramelized Onion Cornbread – Baked By Rachel
Yield: 2 Loaves
Prep Time: 2 Hours 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 35 Minutes
Total Time: 3 Hours
2 loaves of delicious, tender multi-grain bread.
1 cup 7-grain Hot Cereal, such as Bob's Red Mill
2 ½ cups Boiling Water
¼ cup Honey
1 package Yeast
1 Tbsp Salt
3 cups All Purpose Flour, 15 ounces
1 ½ cup Whole Wheat Flour, 8 ¼ ounces
4 Tablespoons Butter, melted and cooled
½ cup Oatmeal
1) Boil 2 ½ cups of water, pour over 7-grain hot cereal. Stir and let set until temperature cools to 100 degrees (very important it is no hotter). About 1 hour.
2) Into stand mixer bowl fitted with dough attachment, pour in hot cereal. Add in honey and yeast. Turn on mixer and stir to combine. Lastly add in melted and cooled butter. Slowly add in flour. Knead until all ingredients combine. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes. Add in salt. Knead again until salt has been combined - about 1 minute.
3) Remove dough from mixer bowl, and onto a lightly floured surface. Flatten and knead until dough shapes into a large ball. Spray down a large bowl with non-stick spray. Add dough to bowl and roll around bowl gently to ensure it is coated with spray. Cover with plastic wrap and towel to keep away light. Set aside in a warm place for one hour. (I set mine on top of my dryer as its going. Just an fyi.)
4) Remove risen dough from bowl and place on lightly floured surface. Pull and stretch dough into a 18x12 inch rectangle. Using a sharp knife divide in half so it measures 2 9"x12" sheets. Starting from the top, tightly roll each dough sheet into a log. Flip and pinch all ends together with thumb and forefingers. Repeat with other dough log. Temporarily set aside.
5) Sprinkle oatmeal out onto surface. Spray each dough log with non-stick spray and roll in oats to coat. Gently set into two loaf pans. Gently cover with plastic wrap and set in warm place to rise a second time. Let rise for one hour.
6) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If you do have a pizza stone, it is a good idea to put in oven and let come to temperature - not necessary, but does make crusts of bread extra crispy and helps distribute heat evenly in the oven.
7) Unwrap loaves and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the center of the loaves reaches 200 degrees. Remove from loaf pans and let cool on wire rack for at least 3 hours. Slice and devour.
America's Test Kitchen Multi-grain bread