Leftover Stuffing? Make Sourdough Bread!

Yesterday was Thanksgiving.  We happened to have some very good, very moist leftover stuffing, but not enough for both of us to have it again today, so I used it to make bread for sandwiches.  Since I’m still curious what makes “milk bread” have it’s unique texture and crust.  It’s not the milk, so perhaps it’s using some precooked flour (in this case the croutons in the stuffing.)  I may be onto something here – this bread does have the soft crust and delightful texture of milk bread.  It’s got the same oven spring.  Yet it tastes completely different.  There are so many herbs and spices in it, that it would never work for dinner rolls and, traditionally all milk bread is made as some type of dinner roll.  But it makes fantastic sandwich bread.

How many loaves this makes depends on how much stuffing you start with.

1 part stuffing (made from store bought croutons)
1 part freshly fed sourdough starter
Mix well (all of the stuffing should be well coated) and let it work overnight. (We always add some minced onion, minced celery, some raisins, and brown sugar to our stuffing, and let the turkey provide all the liquid.)

This is just the sourdough starter mixed with the leftover stuffing.  Those lumps are the croutons, the spices that show are from the stuffing.  The bubbles show the sourdough starter is already working.

Put 2 tablespoons of butter in the freezer to harden.

And this is the same sourdough starter mix, after sitting overnight. It has more than doubled in size, and, once stirred down, is very smooth.  (I haven’t added the water yet.)

The next day add 1 Cup warm water to the starter mix, stir well, and set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer combine:

3 cups bread flour (hard flour)
Read the stuffing packaging to see what herbs and spices to add — add about 1 teaspoon of each herb or spice listed. Instead of salt, add 1 teaspoon Vegeta. Stir the dry ingredients together.

Use a cheese slicer (or potato peeler) to get thin sheets of your frozen butter, and cut (or pinch) it into the dry ingredients until it looks like fine cornmeal.

Add the starter mixture to the flour mixture and stir.  This is where things get a bit tricky since the moisture content of both the stuffing and the sourdough starter can vary greatly.  If your dough is sticky, add more flour, about 1/4 C at a time.  If your dough won’t form a breakable ball, add more water, about 1 tablespoon at a time.  I always mix my dough by hand when I’m not sure of the measurements.  The goal is a dough that’s a tiny bit dry, and not in the least bit sticky – but all the flour is used up.  You should be able to roll the dough into a breakable ball that easily kneads back together.  When you think the dough is ready, let it rest for 15 minutes.

This is a “breakable ball.” You can see I’ve broken it several times and smushed it back together. The brown bits are raisins from the stuffing. It’s time to put it in the power mixer and let it knead. It is not at all sticky.

If, after a 15 minute rest (while you lightly oil the bowl you’ll use to let the dough rise,) the dough still isn’t sticky, it’s time to put it in your stand mixer.  Knead in your stand mixer (or bread machine, or by hand) until your dough can pass the window pane test – about 10 minutes. (If you’ve ever wondered why I don’t make my own videos, it’s because I only have one arm that works, so I do things a tad differently than most people.)  The dough still isn’t sticky.

Roll into a ball, and place it in your lightly oiled bowl, turning it over a few times to coat with the oil.  Cover it tightly and place it in a warm, moist place to rise until doubled in size. (About an hour.)

Well kneaded dough, ready to rise. I love using this bowl to let my bread rise because the lines in the bowl let me know when it has doubled in size.
Unlike “milk bread” I was able to punch the dough down — more or less, but you can see there are still lots of bubble that should be kneaded out.

Punch it down (it’s still not sticky.) and knead lightly on a clean, dry, hard surface. (If you started with a lot of stuffing, you may have to divide the dough in half.) Then make a rectangle, where the small side is slightly less than the width of your bread pan(s), and roll it up tightly, being careful to keep the roll the same width as your bread pan(s.)

Then place the roll, seam side down into a large bread pan and let it rise

Lightly oil your bread pan(s) and place the shaped dough in the pan.  Allow to rise until dough is even with the height of the pan.

Here’s the risen bread — it deflates quite a bit after slashing. (And I really need to practice my slashing skills…)

Slash the dough deeply (my slashing skills need work.) and bake in a 350° F for 30 – 40 minutes or until bread tests done.

For the best texture for sandwiches, allow to cool before cutting.

Anyone in the mood for a really good turkey sandwich? Happy Eating!





Apricot “Milk” Bread made with Sourdough — and no Milk!

Those of you who know me, know I always want to know why.  Why is “milk” bread so different?  Why is it so incredibly soft?  Why does have so much “oven spring”? Why does it “fight back” when I try to shape it? What on earth makes this bread so special!

Since it’s called “Milk Bread” I assumed it was the cooked gruel made with milk and flour.  So I went back to the original recipes.  None of those called for Barley Malt, so I eliminated that.  Only some called for an egg, so I eliminated that.  I’ve always known that bread can be made with almost any liquid, as long as the proportions remain about 5 parts flour to 3 parts liquid, one ends up with bread — a little salt, some kind of yeast, and some type of fat or oil as preservative and the rest is just technique…

The other night I had a craving for my favorite dessert: Serbian Plum Dumplings, though I make mine with apricots, since plums often bother my bowel.  At this time of year I can’t get fresh apricots, so I used apricots canned in light syrup.  I had two apricots left over (actually 4 half apricots, since my husband hadn’t found any whole ones,) along with some of the syrup in which they came.  I like apricots…  Even light syrup has some sugar in it.  Fruit has some sugar in it.  Sugar “feeds” yeast so, being the thrifty sort (mostly out of necessity) I decided to make some “milk bread” using my leftover apricots instead of milk.  To be honest, I didn’t expect it to work, so I didn’t take pictures.  I expected to end up with bread — just bread that didn’t have the feel or the texture of “milk bread.”  I also expected my bread would have a slight taste of apricots.   I was wrong on all counts.  This is definitely “milk bread” – the crust and texture are unmistakable.  The only difference I noticed was how fast the bread dough rose (I would guess due to the sugar in the fruit and syrup.)  The dough “fought back” just as hard, making it difficult to push, pull, and pat it into an oblong.  The dough was just as dry, not in the least bit sticky.  So it’s not the milk that makes “Milk Bread” unique…

Apricot “Milk” Bread (makes 1 large loaf)

In a small saucepan, combine:

2 small canned apricots with syrup well pureed,enough water so you have a total of 110 grams liquid and 45 grams bread flour. (Hard flour if you’re European)

Stir this until it is very smooth – no lumps allowed!  Then heat it over very low heat until it’s the consistency halfway between soup and very light gravy.  (It will thicken a bit as it cools.)  This time I didn’t overcook it!  It was definitely the color of apricots and only slightly thicker than the apricot puree.  When you can comfortably put your finger into the mixture without thinking “ouch!” add:

135 grams of very active sourdough starter and again, stir until smooth and completely combined.  (It was barely orange colored after adding the sourdough)  Set this mixture aside while you measure and mix the dry ingredients.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, or bread maker, measure 300 grams of flour and 1 teaspoon of salt into your mixing bowl, then cut in 2 Tablespoons of butter – just as you would if you were making pie dough.  If your butter is cold enough you can also “pinch” it to combine the butter with the flour to make a mixture that looks like cornmeal.  It should not stick to your hands, or feel sticky. (If it does, put it into the refrigerator and let it cool., then lightly pinch it with your fingers until it’s not sticky.)

Combine the liquid yeast mixture with the dry ingredients until you can form a breakable ball.   At first this seems like an utterly impossible task.  There seems to be far too much flour.  The dough gets too flakey, even once you start using your fingers instead of a spoon, but do not use your power mixer yet!   Knead it, press it, rub the sides of the bowl until every speck of flour is attached to the ball of dough.  (Remember, technique is everything when making bread!)  If you can pick up the ball of dough yet a flake or two of dough still falls off, add 1 tablespoon of water and mix well.  This dough is not sticky.  It’s dry.  Nothing should be sticking to the sides of the bowl, nothing sticks to your hands, yet you should be able to break the ball of dough in half, and knead it back together if you use a lot of pressure.

Now but the bowl into the power mixer with a bread hook, or your bread machine.  Start at the lowest speed for 5 minutes.  Let it rest for 5 minutes. (Or you’ll probably overheat your power mixer, but it also gives the dough a “rest.”)  Then let the machine knead the dough at least another 5 minutes, or until a small amount of the kneaded dough stretches easily without breaking.  Meanwhile, very lightly oil a bowl large enough for the dough to almost double in size.

Form a ball of the kneaded dough.  It still isn’t at all sticky, and there should be no trace of loose flour anywhere.  Put it in your lightly oiled bowl, in a warm place, and allow it to rise for at least two hours.  I was very surprised that this time it did almost double in size, though it’s still a very compact ball of dough, impossible to “punch down” the way I usually literally punch my fist into the middle of the risen dough.  Instead I pressed it down into the bowl, then took it out of the bowl and, holding one end, slammed it down as hard as I could on the counter.  This dough is not sticky at all!  I couldn’t even get it to stick to the dry, unfloured, unoiled countertop!  Eventually I was able to pound it, press it, and stretch it into an oblong shape, where the short end was the same length as my bread pan.   I kept stretch, pressing, pounding, and pulling until I had an oblong about 5 cm thick, in an oblong that was three or four times as long as it was wide.  (The original recipes all said to use a rolling pin to roll it into this shape – but that would have required my husband’s help, and he wasn’t available.)  Then, starting at one of the short ends, one rolls it up pressing it together as tightly as possible.  This is easier said than done, since this dough doesn’t even stick to itself!  Plus one has to keep pressing in the edge so it stays as wide as the bread pan…

Lightly oil the bread pan, and place the roll, seam side down, in the pan.  Cover it tightly, and let it rise until the dough is marginally higher than the bread pan.  Preheat the oven to 350°F .  Slash the top deeply with a sharp knife, and bake for 25- 35 minutes or until the bread tests done.  I didn’t use any egg wash on top this time, which made the crust a lot lighter.

Even though it’s made with pureed apricots, there’s absolutely no taste of apricot (though I thought I could smell a slight apricot oder, no one else could.)  And one of the nice things about “milk” bread is cutting it right away, and smother it with real butter to eat it hot out of the oven.  So that’s what we did.

Sliced and coated with butter, it has a soft “perfect” crumb, a very soft crust, and tastes wonderful! Happy Eating!

Sourdough “Milk Bread” — very, very soft, almost crustless and sweet.

Very similar to Asian Milk Bread, this isn’t your typical sourdough. Slightly flaky and somewhat sweet, it can be eaten hot from the oven, which is nice, since it goes stale in 24 hours. Use the stale bread to make homemade “Panko” bread crumbs.

When I’m sick, I often use sourdough to make my own living “probiotics.”  Sourdough, being fermented with my own wild yeasts, always has lots of “probiotics” even plain, but I usually follow my grandmother’s “remedy” for the family gut problems and make a very thick milk gruel, toss in enough barley malt syrup to make it taste edible,  stir in some of my sourdough starter, and let that mess bubble on my counter — eating a tablespoon or two every day.  Of course my grandmother had never heard of “probiotics,” but that’s what it is and adding the cooked milk mixture simply increases the lactulose bacilli that’s already in the sourdough starter.   Live barley malt syrup (the type used to make beer) has another type of “probiotic” bacilli in it, also naturally occurring in sourdough starter.  Combining the milk gruel, barley malt, and sourdough just shifts the percentages of the various “probiotics” that already occur in a living colony of wild yeasts.  I don’t usually think about such things.  To me it’s always just been “Grandma’s homemade gut medicine” and in the 1950’s and 1960’s several doctors tried very hard to convince me it was a worthless folk remedy.  So I quit telling them (or anyone else) about it, accepted their steroids, and used Grandma’s home remedy anyway.  I never thought about it in terms of making bread….  (At the time I’d get frozen “ice cubes” of gut remedy directly from Grandma.  Probiotic bacteria can withstand freezing without problem, but it can’t survive the high temperatures of cooking.)

When searching the internet for some bread recipe I could translate into sourdough for this post I was rather shocked when I saw Milk Bread (both Chinese and Japanese) start by making the same “gruel” of flour and milk contained in Grandma’s gut medicine.   And I usually like bread that contains dry milk or barley malt syrup.  I use both ingredients regularly.

I was deep in the organic chemistry book, checking things out, when my husband asked why I wanted him to use Panko bread crumbs on the skinned chicken breasts he planned to fry for dinner.  What makes Panko bread crumbs different?  So I looked them up.  They’re made from Japanese milk bread minus the crusts!

So that settled the question of what type of bread I’m making.  It’s

Sourdough Milk Bread (makes one small loaf)

Combine in a small saucepan:

45 grams bread flour (hard flour)
110 grams whole milk

Stir until all the lumps are worked out, then heat on the stovetop, stirring constantly until mixture begins to thicken. (It will become much thicker as it cools, so don’t overcook.) Immediately add 1 Tablespoon Barley Malt syrup and keep stirring until mixture is a thick paste and barely warm,

After stirring in the barley malt, and before adding the sourdough it’s a very thick paste.  Keep stirring until smooth.

then add 135 grams of very active sourdough starter. Stir until smooth. Add 1 very large egg, and stir until smooth.  It should now be about the consistency of thick cake batter. Set saucepan of liquids aside for at least 30 minutes.

Measure 300 grams of flour and 1 teaspoon of salt into your mixing bowl, then cut in 2 Tablespoons of butter – just as you would if you were making pie dough.

After cutting in (or pinching in) the 2 tablespoons of flour, there are a few small dry lumps.

Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and mix until fully combined.   This is much easier said than done, but, yes, all of the flour mixture can, eventually be worked in if you use your fingers.  It’s a flaky broken mess at first, but eventually you can make a dry, breakable ball and all the flour is gone.  This dough is not sticky at all.

Knead very well.  (It took more than 10 minutes in my stand mixer (after it finally formed the breakable ball) to become smooth and silky.  It’s still not sticky.

After kneading, it’s not sticky, nor does it have the “glossy” look most breads have.

Put in a lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl tightly  and let it rise until almost doubled in size.

After rising, it does have a “glossy” look. It doesn’t “punch” down, but it’s very elastic and easy to “press” down. It’s still not at all sticky, and you won’t need any flour on the board to shape it.

To shape the dough:

Press and flatten the dough into a rectangle. The small side should be the width of your bread pan.
Then roll the rectangle into a log, and place this log in your lightly oiled bread pan.

Cover the bread pan with plastic wrap, or put the bread pan in a tightly closed plastic bag.  Put the well wrapped pan in the refrigerator overnight or until the bread has barely  risen to the top of the bread pan. Remove from the refrigerator and let it return to room temperature.  (Don’t worry if it looks a little flat – there’s going to be a lot of oven spring!)

Preheat the oven to 400°F ,  lightly brush the top of the bread with egg wash, put the bread in the oven, and immediately lower the temperature to 375°F.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until bread is golden brown and the bottom, when tapped sounds hollow.  Internal temperature of the bread, as measured by a probe thermometer should be 195°F.

Cut and eat as soon as the bread is cool enough to handle comfortably.


Happy Eating!

Note: To make Panko style bread crumbs, wait for the bread to become stale enough to grate, peel away the crust, and grate onto a large flat pan.  Spread the crumbs out and bake in a 200°F oven until completely dry.  (Don’t let them get brown!) Or don’t bake, and just let them dry out.

Keeping it simple.

I recently spent several days in the hospital. I came home weak, exhausted, and very depressed only to discover my sourdough starter was mostly alcohol. Yet sourdough bread is one of the few things I can eat when I’m feeling really bad — as long as I keep it very simple.

Reactivating a colony of sourdough starter in extremely hot humid weather was my first challenge.  The wild yeasts and bacteria that make real sourdough work best in weather that is normal wherever you live.  Remember, wild yeast is very geo-specific, that’s why it is worth the time to attract and maintain your own colony of sourdough; it will always work better than sourdough made somewhere else, and is much easier to digest than any bread made with storebought yeasts.  I like to keep no more than 1/4 to 1/2 inch of alcohol on top of my starter to protect it against mold, but when I came home I had at least 3 inches of dark brown alcohol on top of the colony.  I poured off all but a sheen of alcohol, cleaned my crock,  added some bread flour and water as usual.  Fortunately a good colony of  sourdough starter is very hard to kill!  I had to repeat the cleaning three or four times before I had some very active sourdough starter to with which to work.

“Happy,” active, well fed sourdough starter will always be covered in bubbles.

My mouth hurts so much I didn’t want a crusty bread, but I did want a moist good tasting bread that would be very, very easy to digest.  So no oil (other than to oil the pans,) no egg, no milk, no herbs. To keep it moist it has to be a very soft dough.   The flavor comes from a very, very long rising time — in the refrigerator since it’s so incredibly hot outside.

Simple Bread (makes 1 small sandwich loaf)

Combine in the bowl of your stand mixer or bread machine:

250 grams bread flour (“hard” flour in Europe)
150 grams water
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup sourdough starter

Mix by hand, or on the lowest setting until all of the flour is dampened.  Then let the machine do the kneading for at least 10 minutes, until the dough is very soft, sticky, and smooth.

Meanwhile, lightly oil a medium sized bowl that will fit in your refrigerator.   Using a scraper, or a lightly oiled hand, transfer the kneaded bread into the bowl, and tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

Let it rise in the refrigerator for 24 to 36 hours.  It will double in size (or even get a little higher than that!)

Very lightly oil a small sandwich size bread pan.  Flour your counter (or wherever you’ll shape the dough) and your hands.  Use as much flour as necessary to handle the  dough.

Do not “punch down” the dough!  Instead use a scraper, or your lightly floured hand to gently move the dough to the counter.  Keeping as much of the air in the dough as you can, shape the dough to into an oblong that will easily fit in the bread pan.  It will look far too small for the pan.

Since there’s another long rise, put the entire bread pan in a plastic grocery store bag, and seal the bag with a twist tie.  Alternatively, you could cover the whole pan with a huge bowl — anything you can think of that will keep all the moisture inside, yet still fit in your refrigerator.   Let it rise until it has a “dome” on the top — 6 to 8 hours.  (This is where I made my big mistake — I went to bed rather than keeping an eye on the bread.  Yeast will only rise until it’s exhausted, and then it falls flat, leaving the spent yeast and unused flour on top of the bread, turning it pure white.)

Oops! I let it rise too long, and the "dome" collapsed.
The white top surface is because I was too tired to stay up and wait for the dough to form a good “dome.”  I baked it the next morning, and the underside of the bread is the picture on top of this post.

Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 35-40 minutes.  Bread is done when a probe thermometer registers 190-200° F.

Happy Eating!


Sourdough Pumpernickel and … Pickle Juice?

I know I read about it somewhere else — adding pickle juice to rye bread, but I didn’t save it because I couldn’t imagine it’s taste. Then, several weeks ago, my husband brought home the “wrong” Reuben Sandwich. On Pumpernickel, served with a huge dill pickle that wasn’t properly wrapped. Pickle juice saturated the bottom piece of bread. It turned out to be one of the best Reuben Sandwiches I’ve ever had, even though it was too soggy… So, here is Sourdough Pumpernickel with Pickle Juice and Black Pepper.

Makes 1 loaf

Combine in a large bowl:

1/2 Cup mixed rolled grains (If you don’t have mixed grains available, just use old fashioned, slow cooking oatmeal.)

Triticale, /trɪtɪˈkeɪliː/ is a hybrid of wheat and rye first bred in laboratories during the late 19th century in Scotland and Sweden.

2 Cups boiling water
2 Tablespoons butter

Stir this until it’s lukewarm.


1 tablespoon gluten (if you don’t have gluten available, use only 1 Cup of dark rye AKA Pumpernickel and 2 cups of whole wheat)
1/4 cup powdered milk (optional)
1/2 cup sourdough starter
2 tablespoons dill pickle brine (liquid leftover from a jar of dill pickles)

Gluten comes as a powder, and should be sifted in with at least 1 cup of whole wheat flour.

I cup whole wheat flour (unless you did not add gluten, in which case, add 2 cups of whole wheat.)

2 cups (approximately) dark rye flour AKA pumpernickel  (unless you did not add gluten, in which case, add only 1 cup dark rye flour.)

Stir very well, until a soft, smooth dough forms. “Knead” it a few times using the stretch and turn method. Cover tightly and let it sit for at least 2 hours. It will rise, but probably won’t double in size.

This is what mine looked like when it was ready to be kneaded in the stand mixer.

Knead in up to another 1 cup of dark rye flour and 1 teaspoon ground black pepper. (It may take a little more or a little less flour, depending on the humidity and the water content of your flour.) You want it to just kiss your hand. (In a stand mixer or bread machine, knead it for no more than 10 minutes total.)

Shape it into a ball and let it rise and spread until double in size. (about 2 hours)

Preheat your oven to 400° F.   Slash , and bake for 20 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 350° F and bake until done — about another 30 minutes.

A fine example of bread that’s been cut too soon… My husband wanted a Reuben Sandwich less than 5 minutes after removing the bread from the oven. By the time I was done eating *my* sandwich, and went back to get a better picture, showing the proper crumb of the bread the entire loaf had been eaten…. Oh well, it tasted good.

Anadamya Bread

Or, if one isn’t as polite, “Anna, Damn ya!” bread. It’s an early American bread, supposedly created by an irate husband who came home very late on a cold winter night and found there was only some cold, leftover “Injun mush” (AKA “cornmeal mush” AKA “hasty pudding”) for his dinner. Worse yet, he hadn’t had any luck with his hunting, fishing, or trapping, there wasn’t any bread rising, and his wife was sound asleep…

In pioneer days, one wasted nothing that’s edible. It wasn’t uncommon for the women and children to eat mush with some kind of sweetener or, cornbread and milk for every meal in late winter, but a hard working man expected something more. A bit of squirrel stew, or perhaps half a rabbit.  And, of course, bread.  With no bread rising near the woodstove, the man knew there would only be pan fried cornbread tomorrow.  So, after filling his belly with cold injun mush, the man decided to make bread from the remaining leftover mush.  (Personally, I think he must have been a very nice man, in love with his wife, but that’s never included in the traditional story…)

As I think I’ve mentioned before, in those days, everyone, male and female, learned to make bread almost from infancy.  Still, it was “women’s work” and this man probably hadn’t made bread for the past several years.  Cold mush is rather firm, so he probably added some water from a hand pump in the kitchen, added a good dollop of sourdough starter, and handfuls of flour until he could knead dough, and left the whole mess to rise so his wife could bake bread in the morning….

All of the above is, of course, fiction, but traditionally some version of the story always accompanies the recipe for Anadamya bread.  Unfortunately, with a broken (but healing) arm, I had to break with tradition to actually make the bread.  Someday I’ll  follow the brief instructions in the story, but this time I adapted the recipe from The King Arthur 200th Anniversary Cookbook.

Anadamya Bread — makes 2 loaves


2 Cups water with 1/2 Cup blackstrap molasses (or honey, or maple syrup) and bring to a rolling boil.

Stirring constantly to avoid lumps, slowly add 1/2 cup finely cracked corn (or regular cornmeal, if you can’t find cracked corn; I prefer cracked corn, since it adds both sweetness and texture.) and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat, and let it cool completely, stirring occasionally to avoid clumping.

This is “cracked corn.” It’s the same type of corn as cornmeal, but it’s never been run through a mill, so the pieces are much larger and very irregular.

While the (very liquid) mush is cooling, in a different bowl, (I used the bowl of my stand mixer) use a whisk to mix together:

5 cups whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon Kosher salt

1/2 cup powdered milk (optional – but the bread will rise a bit better if you add it.)

1 Tablespoon (or one packet) store bought yeast.

When the liquid is completely cool, make a well in the center of your flour mixture, and add all of the liquid “mush” to the bowl of flour.  Using a bread hook, turn the mixer on low, scrapping the sides of the bowl as often as necessary to incorporate all of the flour.  If the mixture is too moist, add more flour, 1/4 cup at a time.  If the mixture is too dry add a tablespoon of water at a time.

This is what it looks like when it’s ready to switch to the “knead” setting. All of the flour is at least firmly stuck to the dough and the dough is starting to pull away from the edges of the bowl.

When the dough is pulling away from the sides of the bowl, turn the mixer up to “knead” and let it run for 5 minutes.  Then add 1/4 cup of vegetable oil.  Let the mixer knead the dough another 5 minutes, and turn it off.  The dough will feel gritty, but elastic.  If you firmly press a finger into it, the dough will resist you, but not have the usual “bounce back.”

I’ve already put the dough into my lightly oiled bowl. As you can see, while there was a lot of resistance inserting fingers into the dough, the indentations remain instead of bouncing back.

Oil a large bowl in which the bread will rise, and, with your hands still lightly covered in oil, remove the dough from the mixing bowl, form it into a rough ball, and put it in the oiled bowl. The dough should not stick to your hands, nor should it feel oily.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise in a cool, shaded location until doubled in size. (This takes longer than usual, even using our modern yeast — about 2 hours.)

When the dough has doubled in size, gently press it down, and divide it in half.  Still using your fingers, on a well floured counter or breadboard,  press each half of the dough into a rectangle, such that the long side will fit in your bread pan, and fold it in thirds, making sure to press firmly enough to avoid trapping any air while sealing the seams.  If necessary, fold the ends towards the center so the loaf will fit in your bread pan, again avoiding trapping any air.

Only press it down enough to be able to divide it and shape it. Treat this dough roughly and you end up with a rock.

Only press it down enough to be able to divide it and shape it. Treat this dough roughly and you end up with a rock.  It’s still in the bowl here, ready to be divided in half.  Just press, fold, and pinch edges — don’t knead it again.

Put each loaf, seam side down in lightly oiled bread pans, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise again for about 45 minutes or until the dough has risen slightly above the top of the bread pan.  Slash the top of the bread, and place in a cold oven.  Turn the oven to 400°F and bake for 15 minutes.  Then turn the oven down to 350°F and bake until the bread tests done (about another 35 -40 minutes.)

Happy Eating!

2 Hour Bread

Made in a stand mixer with a dough hook, or in a bread machine, it’s crusty on the outside, moist on the inside. Just do everything wrong, and it still comes out bread.

I’m still struggling with a broken arm and an almost unusable hand, but I’ve gotten a bit bored with the endless potato or herbed bread, plus it’s spring (almost summer-like) so my husband isn’t in the mood to do anything inside… With spaghetti for dinner, and dinner 2 hours away, I wanted bread, and didn’t have any. So how to make bread rise faster? Add too much sugar and too much yeast, and let the mixer do it’s thing…

2 Hour Bread – makes 2 loaves

Mix together:

1 1/4 cups very hot water
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon white cane sugar

Stir well, to completely dissolve the sugar and salt.

Combine in the mixer’s bowl and attach the dough hook:
1 packet of yeast
3 1/2 cups whole wheat bread flour

As soon as the water is lukewarm, turn the stand mixer on low, and add the water mixture to the flour mixture. Let the machine run for 10 minutes, scraping the sides down at least once to be sure all the flour is incorporated.

With the mixer still running on low, add:
1 tablespoon olive oil
Let the mixer work on low for another 5 minutes

Turn the mixer off, remove the dough hook, Divide the dough in half and put on a a well floured cookie sheet, shaping the dough using your fingers only — remember it’s going to spread out rather than rise, so keep it in two rather narrow stripes. Stipple the top of the stripes with your fingertips and spritz the dough with enough water to almost fill the indentations.

Cover it loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise for 45 minutes. Lightly spritz the dough with water every 15 minutes, and cover it back up.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F.

When the 45 minutes are up, spritz the dough and the cookie sheet with water, and put it into your very hot oven for 30 minutes.

Happy Eating!