This weekend I attended a free bread baking class held by the fabulous Stephanie Petersen also known as Chef Tess Bakeresse, at Honeyville Farms in Chandler. They hold many free classes and Chef Tess teaches many of them. She is fun and full of awesome knowledge that she loves to share. Check out her blog when you get a chance. She has lots of fun and fabulous cooking tips.
Stephanie has bread making in her genetic make up. Her mom was a master of the bread and now she is as well. I can attest to this first hand. For decades I have been defeated by loaf after loaf. I never thought I could get a beautiful, normal sized loaf of sandwich bread AND have it taste phenomenal. I wish you could actually feel my excitement through the computer screen. To lift me from my dismal bread making abyss is no small task. With her simple tips and easy to understand method, you can get great loaves too!! Honest!
I have to admit I did break on of her cardinal rules. I did not have super fresh ground flour. I had a bag of whole wheat flour in my pantry. I don't like to waste, so I had to use it up. I used rolled oats as my additional grain. After soaking it was very wet (even after draining), so I did have to add a bit more flour. I can't wait to try freshly ground kamut flour next. I also wanted to make it vegan, so I subbed maple syrup for the honey. Stephanie also suggested using brown rice syrup. Sadly mine had hardened to a candy like consistency, so maple syrup it was. The recipe on her site stated to bake at 425 for the first 15 minutes then 30-35 minutes more at 325. In class she mentioned that the bread should bake at 425 for 10 minutes and then at 325 for 20 minutes. I actually did 10 and then 25.
After suffering for years from flat, hocky puck loaves, I bring you this gorgeous whole grain loaf!!! Behold the tall, normal sized loaf. No short and squatty here. Feast your eyes on the beautiful texture and crumb, the golden crust and the whole grain goodness. It slices like a dream and eats like a fantasy. This perfect dough was made in a bucket, yes, a 3.5 gallon plastic bucket. Unorthodox? Perhaps. But very effective. I may never be able to eat a commercially produced bread again!!!
Here are my babies before hitting the oven. I was so excited that they rose so well and so perfectly. The loaves look a bit uneven, but that was my measuring not the dough.
Look at that beautiful golden crust! Are you drooling yet?