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Rise to the occasion with home-baked bread.

I bake my own bread. There are many good reasons to do so. Homemade bread has more nutritive value, costs less and has better flavor than the store-bought variety. But I must confess, I don't bake it for any of those reasons. I make it because it smells so good in the oven! The aroma of baking bread is the most heavenly scent that can come from any kitchen.

One can of course take the shortcut and use frozen breads that require bieng popped into the nearest oven. These breads have the aroma but often lac the flavor, nutritional content and fresh taste of homemade.

Making your own bread takes a little extra time and a little extra muscle, but I find the results worthwhile. Even having a husband, two children and several part-time jobs, I bake once a week. I do it by budgeting the time during risings to catch up on household chores and to prepare other dishes. And I always separate a portion of the dough to make other treats, such as crust for a pizza, which is one of my familyhs favorite dishes.

Although bread can be made in many shapes, there are only two basic kinds of breads--yeast breads and quick breads. Quick breads, made with baking powder, are fairly straighforward recipes and are generally easy to make. It is the yeast breads that may have caused your frustration in the past, but it's not really difficult to get good results if you follow the general guidelines:

1. First, make the sponge or the yeast mixture. When you measure the desired amount of water, make sure the water does not exceed body temperature. It should be lukewarm, but not so hot that it kills the yeast.

2. When you add the yeast, make sure it is at room temperature. Whether you are baking with bulk yeast, individual packets or cake yeast, always use the freshest available. You'll need a drop of sweetener to help the yeast work. I usually use honey, but apple-juice concentrate, molasses or sorghum will work as well. The yeast mixture should be allowed to stand for five minutes.

3. Now transfer the yeast mixture to a bowl and add the amount of flour called for in the recipe. The bowl should then be covered with a damp cloth for 30 to 60 minutes to allow the sponge (as this stage of the dough is called) to rise.

4. Now comes the fun part, the mix. The mix includes all the ingredients that make your bread special. It can include a sweetener to add flavor, margarine or oil for moistness and tenderness, eggs or dairy products, cooked or sprouted grains or fruits and nuts. The mix should be well combined and then added to the sponge.

5. Before you wash your hands, feel your ear lobe--that's the consistency the dough should have when thoroughly kneaded. Begin to add your remaining flour to the mix, one cup at a time until you can no longer stir by hand in the bowl. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead in the remaining flour. Knead the dough until it loses its stickiness and has an elastic texture. This usually takes 15 to 20 minutes. Remember, the key is not to add a lot of flour but to work the gluten or the protein-containing part of the wheat as well as possible. Take the well-kneaded dough and turn it into an oiled bowl. Allow it to rise for the prescribed amount of time in a warm place.

6. The final step is to prepare your pans for baking. Be sure they are generously oiled. You may wish to sprinkel poppy or sesame seeds in the bottom of the pan. A little corn meal is also nice.

Divide your dough and place it in the pans. If you want a soft crust, brush some margarine or oil on top just before banking and once more when teh bread is done. You can tell when the bread is done if it gives a hollow sound when you thump it with your finger. The most common baking time is 35 to 45 minutes.

The following recipes are filled with fiber in the form of oat bran and wheat bran. In most yeast breads you can easily substitute oat or wheat bran for some of the flour.

Multigrain Pecan Bread

(Makes 19" x 5" loaf)

1 egg

1 cup 1% milk

1 tablespoon safflower oil

1/4 cup honey

3/4 cup oat flour

3/4 cup rye flour

3/4 cup whole-wheat flour

3/4 cup barley flour 2 teaspoons low-sodium baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt (salt substitute)

1 cup pecans, chopped

Beat the egg, milk, honey and oil together. Mix the flours, baking powder and salt or salt substitute together, and stir into the liquids. Fold in the nuts. Pour into an oiled loaf pan. Bake at 350 [deg.] F. for 1 hour. Cool on a rack.

Dill Onion Bread

(Makes 1 loaf)

1 package dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1 1/4 cup warm, low-fat cottage cheese, creamed

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoons onion, minced

1 tablespoon corn-oil margarine, melted

2 teaspoons dill seed

1/2 teaspoon soda

1 egg, unbeaten, plus 1 egg white

2 cups whole-wheat flour

Soften yeast in water. Combine in mixing bowl the following: cottage cheese, honey, onion, margarine, dill seed, soda, eggs and softened yeast. Add flour gradually to form soft dough, beating well after each addition. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk, about 1 hour. Knead dough, turn into well-greased casserole dish or loaf pan. Let rise 30-40 minutes. Bake at 350 [deg.] f. for 40-50 minutes.

Cheese and Tomato Loaf

(Makes 1 loaf)

1 cup yogurt

1 cup tomato sauce

3 1/2 cups Multigrain bread mix

1 tablespoon yeast

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon honey

1 egg

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated (or farmer cheese)

Scald yogurt and tomato sauce; cool slightly. Mix 1 1/2 cups of the bread mix with next 5 ingredients; add tomato-yogurt mixture, blend thoroughly; gradually stir in remaining bread mix and cheese to make a manageable dough. Turn oiled bowl, turnign once to coat; cover and let rise until double in bulk. Turn onto floured surface and knead for 1 minute. Shape into loaf; place in oiled loaf pan; leave to rise until double. Bake at 375 [deg.] F. for 35 minutes or until done. Brush with melted butter (or margarine).

Cornell Oatmeal Bread

(Makes 2 loaves)

1/2 cup warm water

2 cakes yeast

1/3 cup brown sugar (or 1/4 cup honey)

2 cups uncooked oatmeal

2 1/2 cups boiling water

3 tablespoons oil

4 teaspoons salt (we left the salt out)

6 cups flour or more

2 tablespoons wheat germ

1/2 cup full-fat soy flour

3/4 cup skim-milk powder

Place the 1/2 cup warm water, the yeast, and the brown sugar (or honey) in a small bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Combine the outmeal, boiling water and oil. Let cool till only warm. Measure and sift the flour, whet germ, soy flour and skim-milk powder together. Stir the yeast mixture into the oatmal mixture. Add 2 1/2 cups of the flour mixture and beat 75 strokes by hand or for 2 minutes as needed. Knead for 5 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise until doubled. Turn dough and shape into 2 loaves or make slightly smaller loaves and make a pan of rolls. Let rise until doubled. Bake the loaves in a 350 [deg.] F. oven 50-60 minutes.

Cornell Whole Wheat Bread

(Makes 2 loaves)

2 cups warm water

2 cakes yeast

1/4 cup molasses

1/4 cup brown sugar (we left the sugar out)

1 egg

6 cups whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup soy flour

3/4 cup skim-milk powder

3 tablespoons wheat germ

2 tablespoons brewer's yeast

2 teaspoons salt (we left the salt out)

Place the warm water, yeast and molasses in a bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Beat the egg and 3 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour into the mixture. Beat 100 strokes by hand or 3 this mixture stand while you combine the remaining flour and the rest of the ingredients. Work the dry ingredients into the better and add as much flour as needed to make a soft dough. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for 45 minutes. Then mix and dough again, cover and let rise for 10 minutes. Divide dough into 2 portions. Turn out onto a lightly floured breadboard and shape into 2 loaves. Place in coated loaf pans. Cover and let rise until dough reaches the tops of the pans. Bake in a 350 [deg.] F. oven for 50-60 minutes or until bread is browned and done.

Country Whole-Wheat Bread

(Makes 2 loaves)

3 cups unsifted, unbleached flour

1/8 cup honey)

2 packages active dry yeast

1 tablespoon salt (salt substitute)

1 1/2 cups milk

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons margarine

1 egg

1 cup Kretschmer wheat germ

2-3 cups stone-ground whole-wheat or graham-flour

cooking oil

Combine 2 cups flour, honey, undissolved yeast and salt in large bowl. Stir well to blend. Heat milk, water and butter in medium saucepan until warm to the touch (not scalding). Beat with electric mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes. Scrape bowl occasionally. Add egg and 1 cup more flour. Beat at high speed for 1 minute. Stir in wheat germ with wooden spoon. Then gradually stir in just enough whole-wheat flour to make a soft dough that leaves sides of bowl. Turn out onto lightly floured board. Knead 5-10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place dough in greased bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover with plastic wrap, then a towel. Let rise in warm, draft-free place about 1 hour or until doubled. Punch down. Divide dough in half. Shape into loaves by rolling each piece into a 12 "x8" rectangle. Roll up rightly beginning with 8-inch side. Seal lengthwise edge and ends well. Place in 2 greased 8 1/2 "x 4 1/2 "x2 1/2" loaf pans. Correct pan size is importnat for best results. Brush dough lightly with oil. Cover pans loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm, draft-free place about 1 hour or until doubled in size. Bake at 375 [deg.] F. for 30-40 minutes or until done. Use a lower oven rack for best results. Remove from pan immediately. Brush top crust with margarine if desired. Cool on rack. Bread can be stored, covered, in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks or frozen when wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and foil.

No-Salt Whole-Wheat Bran Bread

(Makes 3 loaves)

3 cups luke-warm water

2 tablespoons yeast

1/4 cup honey or concentrated apple juice

3 cups whole-wheat flour (enough to make a pancake batter consistency)

Stir the mixture 100 times with a wooden spoon. Allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until bubbles form and yeast is working. Beat the batter down and add:

2 eggs

1/3 cup unsaturated oil

1 cup wheat bran

1 cup oat bran

3 cups whole-wheat flour (enough to make the dough workable)

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for 10-20 minutes or until smooth and elastic, adding flour as needed. Lightly oil the dough and return to teh bowl. Allow to rise 1 hour. Divide dough into 3 loaves and turn into bread pans. Allow to rise half an hour if desired, or place in a 350 [deg.] F. oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 [deg.] F. and continue to bake for 30 minutes until nicely browned or until bread, when knocked on, sounds hollow. Allow to cool 15 minutes in the pan. Remove from the bread pans. Allow to cool on a wire rack. if a soft crust is desired, place in plastic bags while warm.

Grandmother's Natural Bread

(Makes 2 loaves)

2 cups warm water

1 tablespoon yeast

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons safflower oil

1/2 cup barley flour

2 cups whole-wheat flour

2 cups unbleached white flour

1/2 cup oat flour

Blend flours together. Mix together yeast, warm water and honey. Let stand until mixture is bubbly. Add oil and enough flour to make the dough elastic. Knead dough, adding more flour if needed. Place in an oiled bowl; cover with plastic film lightly. Let rise in a warm, draftfree place. Punch down and let rise again. Shape into bread or rolls. Let rise again. Bake in a 350 [deg.] F. oven 35 minutes or until golden brown.
COPYRIGHT 1984 Saturday Evening Post Society
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:recipes
Author:Taylor, Jodi
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Mar 1, 1984
Previous Article:Miracle in the rain.
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