Monday, March 8, 2010

Mema's Bread

I am sharing my favorite bread recipe. This is the bread I grew up eating. My grandmother developed this recipe and passed it along to me.

Mema's Bread

Makes 2 loaves (use 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pans)

1 lb 5 oz. whole-wheat flour

¼ cup vital wheat gluten

½ cup quick oats

2 tsp lecithin granules

2 tsp salt

¼ cup olive oil

½ cup honey

2 ½ cups water

2 tsp yeast

8 oz. unbleached bread flour

Note:  Recipe is ¼ white flour, ¾ wheat flour.

Mix the whole wheat flour and other ingredients (through honey) with 2 1/4 cups of the water. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 8-24 hours. This soaking makes better bread. When you are ready to finish the bread mix yeast with one tsp of honey and ¼ cup of the water (112-115 degrees F) to proof. You will then stir in the yeast and the unbleached bread flour in with the rest of the ingredients. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Place dough in large oiled bowl, turning dough to coat. Cover with a damp kitchen towel or greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Punch down the dough, form it into two loaves and put them in oiled loaf pans covered with oiled plastic wrap. Allow to rise about 1 hour. These loaves may not rise as high as other bread recipes you may be familiar with but you can use the finger test to determine if they are ready for the oven. When the dough is pressed gently with a fingertip, the depression should fill in very slowly or not at all - then it is ready to bake! Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for approximately 35-40 minutes. An instant read thermometer inserted in the center of the loaf should read close to 200 degrees when it is done. For best results, allow it to cool completely before slicing, or if you can't wait that long, at least 15 minutes.