Monday, January 16, 2012

Homemade Bread

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Since I received my KitchenAid Mixer as a wedding present, I have been on a mission to make homemade whole wheat sandwich bread. Like most things, I just jumped into this, without realizing the process, or why each step needed to be done exactly the right way. I was ill-informed of the bread making process, and thought, "hey- anyone can do it". Well, almost three years later, I still believe that anyone can do it, but I have yet to make sandwich bread. To be fair, I believe that whole wheat is harder because of the lack of gluten in wheat flour.

Everything mixing in the KitchenAid

During the 2nd rising
I have tried, numerous times, but to no avail. I usually make 2 or 3 loaves, without success, then stop for awhile, and pick it back up again when I have forgotten my last failed attempt. Today was another one of those attempts. Each time I have tried a different recipe, all slightly different, in hopes of finding my magic recipe that will just work! Each time, the bread is slightly better, but never truly sandwich bread. It's usually far too dense and crumbly. It's extremely tasty with butter, peanut butter, or jelly/jam, but it's not what I want.

I always look for recipes that have all whole wheat flour, without bread or all-purpose. Here are some of the things that I have learned through the process:

1. Add flour a little at a time, because you don't always need the same amount of flour.
2. When using whole wheat flour, you probably want to add vital gluten flour because there is less of that in wheat flour, and that helps with the rising
3. There is never too much kneading.
My final products


Today, I made a whole-wheat recipe, but I also tried a 1/2 wheat, and 1/2 all-purpose flour in hopes of starting at the beginning to try to get some sort of sandwich bread. As you can see, to the left, I have nice bread, but clearly not sandwich bread. I checked the date on my yeast, and it is slightly past expired, but I have no idea if that is the case of the lack of height and fluffiness.

Now would be a good time to mention- I am being extremely stubborn, and want this to be made in the oven- without a bread maker. We have little space, and I don't want to rely on another contraption to help do the cooking/baking when we have an oven.

What I want my bread to look like
I am still hopeful that I will master a sandwich loaf, but I need a few days to eat my dense bread, and to forget about this failed attempt and ponder my next recipe.

This is what I want my bread to look like:







Any tips for making sandwich bread?

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