Now that I have a KitchenAid making bread is so easy and peaceful. Don't get me wrong, there is something wonderful and satisfying about kneading bread except when your kids decide to finger joust in the kitchen and just about poke each others eyes out EVERY TIME YOU MAKE BREAD. It's like getting on the phone, perfect angels, phone rings and horns grow out of their heads and they shriek just to hear themselves make noise and thunder around the hosue like a pack of wild rhinos. So you can imagine that kneading bread under those conditions is not a pleasant task unless the KitchenAid is doing it and then I can be available to referee random finger joust tournaments or heard the rhinos.
First things first, you (k)need the right yeast. I took a bread making class that was actually a sign up for co-op buying club class and discovered SAF instant yeast. This stuff is a dream to work with, it comes in a 16 ounce bag for around 6 dollars and it will make 96 loaves of bread. Yeah, it's good good stuff. You don't proof it you just add it along with everything else. After it's opened I keep it in a resealable bag and the last loaf was as good as the first. It makes bread making so easy. I also only use King Arthur Bread Flour, it has a higher gluten content than all purpose flour, which makes for better elasticity and rise in bread dough.
How I make bread: makes 2 loaves
in a KitchenAid fitted with a dough hook
add 2 cups flour, 1 Tablespoon SAF yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt
pulse to mix for a bit
add 1 1/2 cups warm water
run to incorporate water, stop and scrape down sides
add 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil
run again until all in incorporated, you may need to scrape it down again
now start adding flour 1/2 cup at a time
let it incorporate before adding more flour
as it becomes dough you need to turn it off and check on it if it is still sticky keep adding flour
I usually end up adding between 2 to 3 more cups and sometimes as much as 4 cups, depends on the day, the humidity and if I added a little too much water
once it has taken as much as it will, you'll be able to tell this because it will incorporate less easily and the dough will not be too sticky, let the machine knead it for 5 more minutes or so
when it is done it will climb the dough hook and drop back down repeatedly, or at least that's when I call it done, it should be smooth, moderately stiff and not sticky
turn it out into a greased bowl, flip to grease, cover with a warm damp towel and let rise in a warm place
it will double in about 1/2-45 minutes
punch it down, grease two loaf pans, form your loaves
pop them in the pans, cover them and let them rise until they are about 1 inch above the pan
pre-heat the oven, remove the towel and bake in a 350˚ for 20-30 minutes
Now this all takes some getting used to, you don't start out just whipping out perfect bread, you will fail it's called life, but you will also succeed. Pretty soon you'll be impressing people with making bread and not even measuring and it will still taste great.
Getting some plants started this week! I think a dozen tomatoes. I guess I better do a little research on how many to grow to get us through the winter. Hmmmm time for some research.
Peace and Love,