Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Do we need to buy anything before the hurricane? With a bread machine in the house? No.

Hurricane Sandy closed down the Federal Government on Monday and Tuesday in Washington, D.C., as well as the bus and subway service.  Dear Husband and I stayed home those two days also.  DH asked me over the weekend if we should join the stampede to the grocery store but we decided not to--we had water, eggs, milk, toilet paper, and enough food to last a couple of days except bread.

I have mentioned in previous posts that I love my bread machine and with one in the house, as long as you have electricity you can have bread. Sunday I made half-whole wheat bread, which more than lasted us through yesterday, when we finally did lose power for 3 hours.  Today the power is back, and Sweet Potato Half-Whole Wheat Bread is kneading in the machine. BTW, we almost never bake the loaf in the machine because it's a funny shape and the crust is too hard.  We shape the dough, put it in a regular bread pan, then bake it in the oven.  You only need a basic model bread machine if you use it like this--essentially as a kneading machine.  (You can get one at WalMart for about $40.)

The whole wheat bread recipe is mine, from trial and error over many years.  The sweet potato bread is a recipe adapted from the Irish Potato Bread recipe in Bread Machine Magic by Linda Rehberg & Lois Conway.  I use (much) less salt, sometimes cut the water by 1/4 cup and put in an egg, substitute mashed sweet potato for the potato, and brown sugar for the white sugar.

The recipes for both breads follow:

Half-Whole Wheat Bread from the bread machine

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water (may need more later; see *note)
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (we like King Arthur brand)
1/4 cup dry milk powder
2 tablespoons canola oil or melted butter (see second **note)
2 tablespoons honey or molasses (can use more honey but decrease water by an equal amount)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt (depends on your taste)
1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast

Put all ingredients in the bread machine in the order specified in your manual.  Process on dough mode.  Grease (or spray with oil from a Misto sprayer) a 9" x 5" bread pan.  Flatten the dough to approximately 9" x 12" with your hands or a rolling pin, then roll it up like a jelly roll.  Place in pan and allow to rise until doubled (1/2 hour to 1 hour, depending on the weather and how warm your kitchen is).  Preheat oven to 375F.  Bake the bread 35 minutes.  Cool slightly (10 minutes?) then tip the loaf out of the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.  Try not to cut the loaf until it is cool, because it tears.

*note: You have to get used to looking at your dough in the machine to see if it needs more water or more flour.  Once the kneading really gets going, the dough should make a smooth ball.  If it is a rough ball (or won't cohere into a ball at all), you need more water.  Add it a tablespoon at a time until you get the ball shape.  You can also tell if there is not enough water if the bread machine sounds like it's working too hard.  If the dough is gooey and won't shape into more than a flattened ball, you need more flour.  Add it a tablespoon at a time until the dough looks right.

**note: It's very convenient to measure the oil first (a coffee measure is 2 tablespoons, or eyeball half a quarter-cup measure); then the honey slides right out.  If you want to use butter, and your butter is even a little soft, you can put it directly in the machine without melting it.  Just measure the 2 tablespoons then cut in smaller pieces before you add them. 

Sweet Potato Half-Whole Wheat Bread
(photo will be added when the bread is done)

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water OR
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water and one egg
1/3 cup mashed sweet potato
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (we like King Arthur brand)
1/4 cup dry milk powder
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp dry yeast

Follow the same instructions as above.

***note: if you want white bread from either of these recipes, you can just use all bread flour.  You will probably need to cut the water back by 2 tablespoons.


1 comment:

Unknown said...

Ohmigosh! I can't tell you how thrilled I am to have come across your blog today! After 4 yrs of gastrointestinal issues, we consulted an allergist, and yesterday my daughter was found to be highly allergic to soy. I wish I'd found your blog BEFORE embarking on my very first soy free grocery trip (3 1/2 hrs!). Thanks so much for sharing all of your knowledge!