Monday, April 23, 2012

Whole Wheat Honey Orange Bread

Like to bake bread?  It's not hard.

 Start with some warm water in the Bowl.  Add the yeast, sugar, salt, and let rest for a few minutes.  Begin adding flour, at first, a cup at a time, but as it thickens, I add only 1/2 cup at a time.  A powered Bread Hook helps, but I never had one.  I mix with a Wooden Spoon till I it has solidified and begins to leave the sides of the bowl.
 Then, dump it onto a floured surface to knead. Flour your hands and I put some flour in a bowl or off to the side to add as I knead.  Your hands get sticky and gooey at first, especially if you're working with Rye and Whole Wheat.  Kneading is simply pushing down the dough using the palms of your hands.  Then fold it over, sprinkle flour over and knead out again.  Continue to knead, adding flour to keep from sticking, for about 10 minutes.
 By now, the dough should have taken a nice round shape and feel slightly tacky to the touch.  Grease up a big bowl, cover with a clean towel, set in a warm place to rise.  Most White flour bread rise for 1 1/2 hours.  The Whole Wheats, Ryes, Pumpernickel's, should rise for at least 2 hours. 
Back to a clean floured surface.  Flour up your hands, dump the risen dough from the bowl, and this time, punch down to about 2 inches.  Using a knife, cut to divide into sections.  If the recipe yields two loaves, cut in half.  If you are making rolls, cut off the dough to the desired size and shape, keeping in mind, the loaves or rolls are going to rise even bigger.
Most of my breads, I bake on a sheet, either fired clay or cookie sheet.  Apply some shortening to the sheet and lightly sprinkle with corn meal.  Lay your loaves or rolls out on this surface.  Cover up and let rise one hour.  (45 minutes into the last rise, pre-heat the oven.)  Most of my breads start out at 400 for the first 10 minutes, then reduced to 350 for the remainder of the bake time.
Breads usually bake for an hour or so, but some bake in as little as 1/2 hour if the temp is left at 400.
Rolls, being smaller, bake in much less time.

Today's Recipe:  Whole Wheat Honey Orange, is derived from many different bread recipes I've encountered!  I encourage you to mix different flours and spices together to deviate from the original recipes.


2 Cups Warm Water
1 Tablespoon Yeast (or 2 Packs)
1/2 Cup Honey
1 Cup Warm or Scalded Milk
2 Eggs, room temp and beaten
1 Stick Butter, melted or softened
2 Oranges, juiced and zest ed
1 Tbsp Salt
1 Tbsp Anise Seed
1/4 Cup Corn Meal, soaked in 1/2 Warm Water for 1/2 Hour
1 1/2 Cups White Flour
1/3 Cup Rye Flour
Enough Whole Wheat Flour to finalize the dough (3-4 Cups)

1.  In a large bowl, add: Water, Yeast, Salt and rest for 10 Minutes
2.  Zest the peels from the Oranges, and juice them.
3.  Warm or Scald the Milk.  Add to the mix after it has cooled a bit!
4.  While stirring, add the Honey, Butter, Orange Juice and Zest, Anise Seeds, Eggs, Corn Meal, and White and Rye Flour. 
5.  Begin adding enough Whole Wheat Flour and stir till the dough becomes thick and starts to come away from the sides of the bowl.
6.  Put some White Flour in a small bowl to grab and sprinkle on your kneading surface, hands and dough.  Your hands will get gooey and sticky at first till you knead and sprinkle the additional flour to make the dough.
7.  Make sure to add a little flour to your kneading board, hands, and dough to reduce the "sticky effect"  Knead for about 10 minutes.  By now, the dough should feel consistent and slightly tacky to the touch.
8.  Apply a light coat of Shortening to a large bowl, add the dough, cover with a towel and place in a warm area to rise.  Rise time may vary from 1 1/2 Hours to 2 Hours.
9.  Meanwhile, grease 2 Baking Sheets and sprinkle lightly with Corn Meal
10.  After the dough has risen and doubled in bulk, place on a clean floured board and punch down till uniform in size, about 3 inches.
11.  Divide in 4 equal sections with a knife, shape into round loaves, and place on baking sheets, two to a Sheet.
12.  Cover and let rise in a warm place for 45 Minutes.
13.  Pre-heat the oven to 400.  When oven rises to 400, Place loaves in and start the bake.
14.  After 10 Minutes, reduce heat to 350 and continue to bake for about 50 minutes. The loaves will be nice and brown and the bottoms, nice and crusty!

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