Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tired Teacher Syndrome and the "Art" of Baking Bread

Mrs Rhoades has gone to sleep early the last couple nights. The children have just about lost it in kindergarten I'm told. Homemade pickles, jam, and bread as Holiday gifts for the teachers and the aides this year. On Tuesday, Mr Rhoades made 8 loaves of whole wheat oatmeal bread that were delivered fresh to the school and other local friends. The bread recipe follows.

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread: all measurement are approximations since I refuse to take the time to do it correctly. That way it's always a pleasant surprise when the bread comes out of the oven. Pour ~2 1/2 cups boiling water over ~1 1/4 C. Old Fashioned Oatmeal, 1cup whole wheat flour, 2T butter or margarine (butter!), ~3/4 cup dark brown sugar ~1/2 to 3/4 T salt (A nice little pile in your hand. Maybe you should measure the salt if it's your first time in the kitchen.) Mix it all together and let it cool until it won't kill the yeast. You'll know, or you will surely know the next time! Next, mix 1/2 cup warm water with 1T or 1 packet active dry yeast and add it to the mixture. Stir it all together and give it a couple minutes. Then all you need to do is add enough flour (I use white unbleached) to make a nice sturdy moist dough. It'll be just a little sticky to your hands when you're done kneading it and it won't be sticking to the counter or the bread board. I cheat these days and use the Kitchen Aide Mixer to knead the dough. In that case the dough will be done when it no longer sticks to the side or bottom of the mixing bowl. Place a small amount (a couple drops) of veg. oil in the bottom of a bowl and spread it around then put your ball of dough into the dish to coat it. Next, flip the dough over and return it to the bowl oiled side up. Place a damp cloth over the bowl and let the dough rise until it about doubles in size. Grease or oil two loaf pans. Once the dough doubles in size punch it down and divide it in half. Knead the dough into a couple balls and press them into the bread pans forming a sort of loaf. Shake them out, turn them over, and return them to the bread pans. Cover with the damp cloth and let them rise once more. I let them rise just short of the top of the pan which seems to be just about right. Place in a 350 degree oven and bake them for about 40 -45 min. or until they make a nice thump when you give them a little pat. Turn the loaves out of the pans onto cooling racks once removed from the oven. Let them cool a bit before you cut the bread. Warm bread is great. Hot bread is a bad trip.

No comments: