Wednesdays in Winter: More Baking!

I’m going to try something new here for the winter season. I want to do more baking this winter, because, well, I like to bake! I don’t do a lot of baking in summer because it just heats up the house too much, and when the weather is already hot and humid, no one wants to add more. Now that the weather is cooling off, I want to do more baking. I really enjoy baking and haven’t done nearly enough in the past years. I generally only do what I need to- bread when we want some for dinner, desserts when we have company, usually some cookies at Christmas. So, I decided that this year, I’m going to bake more, and I will be sharing the fun (and not so fun) with you guys!

What am I going to bake? Well, there will be bread. I love bread, all sorts of bread. Rolls, crusty French baguettes, dark seeded rye, soft white sandwich bread. Give me all of it. And some sweets, too. For those, I will be experimenting with converting some recipes to make smaller amounts. There are only two of us here most of the time, and we often find we can’t finish a whole regular size cake or whatever before it gets stale. Some things will freeze, of course, but that doesn’t work for everything.

I hope you all enjoy coming along on this experimental adventure!

This week, I’m going to start off with a recipe I worked on last year- Whole Wheat Bread. I wanted to put together a recipe that would result in a nice wheat flavor but have a good sandwich style bread texture without being as heavy and dense as some whole wheat breads are. I made a number of loaves over a few weeks, adjusting percentages of flours, hydration, ferment and proofing times, and baking time and temperature to get one we liked. This was the result:

(A note about measurements: I work in metric weights for baking most things. It’s much more accurate than volume measures. If you don’t have a good kitchen scale, you should get one. If you want to make the bread without a scale, you can convert my gram measures to volume here. I use King Arthur flours.)

Whole Wheat Bread

227 grams whole wheat flour
340 grams all-purpose or bread flour
368 grams warm water
13 grams salt
4 grams yeast
18 grams vital wheat gluten (optional)

In a stand mixer with the dough hook attached, combine the flours, salt, yeast, and vital wheat gluten. Stir to mix evenly. Add the water. Put the bowl on the mixer and mix on low speed until there is no dry flour left. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure all the flour gets moistened. Turn off the mixer, cover with a kitchen towel, and let rest and hydrate for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, remove the towel and knead the bread on medium speed (4 on a Kitchen Aid) for about 8 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. It may be a bit sticky, but that’s okay. You can also knead it by hand if you wish for about 10 minutes. Gather the dough into a smooth ball and put it in a lightly greased glass bowl or proofing container big enough to hold it at double it’s size. Turn the dough to coat all sides with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let it ferment for about an hour and a half. It should be just about doubled in size. Punch the dough down gently and turn it onto a lightly floured board. Divide the dough in half (I weigh it to make sure it’s pretty evenly divided, but you can eyeball it). Take each half and pat it into a rectangle about as long as your bread pan and 8-10 inches wide. Fold the dough in thirds, pulling the top third to the middle and folding the bottom third over it. Pinch along the seam to seal it. Pinch the ends and turn the loaf seam side down. Tuck the ends under just a bit. Place each loaf in a greased bread pan, cover with plastic wrap, and proof for one and a half to two hours. The center of the loaf should be just above the edge of the pan. You can also shape the loaves by hand into round boules or oval batards. If you do, place them on parchment paper on a sheet pan to proof.

During the last half hour of the proofing, heat your oven to 500 degrees F. If you have hand shaped the loaves and have a baking stone, put the stone in the oven now to preheat. When the loaves are ready, reduce the oven to 425 and put the pans on a middle rack or slide the loaves on the parchment paper onto the baking stone. Bake for about 20 minutes until they are nicely browned and the internal temperature is 200. Remove from oven, turn out onto a wire rack, and let cool completely. If you want a softer crust, drape the loaves with dampened (not soaking wet) paper towels while they cool.

This makes two standard bread pan sized loaves of bread. It freezes really well and you can slice the loaf and freeze the slices for quick use. The loaves in the picture are not the whole wheat. I believe they are standard white bread, but it was the picture I had!

Let me know if you have any questions and, if you try it, how it turned out for you!

======================================================

Coming in December 2018: Two’s Company, a sci-fi novel in the space opera tradition.

Medusa “Deuce” Grainger is smart, confident, and as good a pilot as she is a poker player. A freelance shuttle jockey working for an independent terraforming company, she’s left her former life, and her father, behind. Mostly.

Now, her AI has downloaded another Personality off a wrecked ship, and he’s acting oddly ever since. Someone wants to sabotage her friend’s company out of business, evidence of tampering is being corrupted, and people have died.  With an investigation looming that could shut down the company and cut off her main source of income, Deuce needs to figure out what’s going on. And she needs to do it fast, because there’s more at stake than anyone realizes.

Two’s Company is listed on Goodreads. If you like what you see above, I’d appreciate you adding it to your Want To Read list. Thanks!

Available now :

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A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.

 

 

 

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A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final environmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.

 

 

 

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In a world reeling under the effects of severe climate change, food shortages are common, and arable farmland is scarce. Unscupulous distributors like Beni Oligowma take advantage of the shortages for their own gain. When a promising new technology for growing food even under the harsh conditions is unveiled, grocery store owner Frank is determined to see that everyone is able to benefit from the results, not just the Benis of the world.
Feed My People is a short story, set in a dystopian science fiction world, and is free. Learn more here

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Demon hunters Johnny and Cerise travel to the small town of Carroll Fork where they find a demon-possessed thrift store, a sweet old lady who is more than she seems, and an army of underworld inhabitants. Can Johnny and his trusty yo-yo save the town from a devil of a problem?

Five and Daemon, the Yo-Yo Files #1, is a short novelette in an urban fantasy setting, with elements of the supernatural and humor. Learn more here

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Things have been quiet. No demonic possessions, no otherworldly intrusions, nothing. And then Lucifer shows up in Johnny’s living room, claiming that two archangels are missing, and something is definitely not right in the heavenly- and other- realms. Saying he has nothing to do with it- this time- he asks Johnny and Cerise to help him find out what’s happening, and who is behind the disappearances. While they are trying to do just that, Lucifer is devilnapped by a larger-than-life serpent. He manages to get a clue to Johnny before he disappears. Johnny and Cerise are left to puzzle out the disappearances and try to find the missing angels. Oh, and stop what could mean the ultimate destruction of pretty much everything.

Snake’s Alive, the Yo-Yo Files #2 is an urban fantasy novelette with elements of the supernatural and humor. Learn more here.

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