Easy to make comfort food

Nothing beats the aroma of fresh baked bread wafting through the house. Bread machines may be convenient but it isn’t difficult to make breads from scratch either.

The four main ingredients are flour, yeast, salt and water. Bread flour makes a superior loaf because it is higher in the protein, gluten.

When water is added to the flour, the gluten forms a web capturing the air bubbles formed as the yeast ferments. If the gluten strands are not strong, then as the bread rises and air bubbles get larger, the dough will collapse, forming a heavy, dense texture.

All-purpose flour will be fine in most bread recipes but do not use cake flour because there isn’t enough protein.

Whole grain flours and other types of flour add colour, texture and flavour to breads. However, these flour types don’t have enough gluten to make a light and airy loaf on their own, so all-purpose or bread flour is almost always added to provide structure.

Salt is essential to every bread recipe. It helps control yeast development and prevents the bread from over rising, which contributes to good texture.

Fresh yeast is imperative. Don’t even think about using a packet of yeast that is past the best before date. Yeast works well when it is warm but not too hot. A temperature of 100 to 110 F (37-43 C) is ideal for the liquid being used to hydrate it. Adding butter, milk and eggs makes enriched breads.

This is a faux sourdough style bread. The addition of yogurt adds sourness to the flavour.

  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil 30 mL
  • 3/4 c. chopped onion 175 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar 1 mL
  • 1 pkg. dry yeast 11 mL
  • 2 tbsp. warm water 30 mL
  • 1 1/4 c. plain low-fat yogurt 310 mL
  • 1 tbsp. caraway seeds 15 mL
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt 7 mL
  • 3/4 tsp. white pepper
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 1/4 c. bread flour, divided 560 mL
  • 1 1/4 c. stone-ground rye flour 310 mL
  • cooking spray
  • 1 tbsp. water 15 mL
  • 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt 2 mL

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, cover and cook 10 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water in large bowl. Let stand five minutes. Stir in yogurt, caraway seeds, salt and pepper. Add egg and stir well with a whisk.

Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups and level with a knife. Add two cups (500 mL) bread flour and rye flour to yeast mixture, one cup (250 mL) at a time, stirring until a soft dough forms. Stir in chopped onion.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about eight minutes. Add enough of remaining flour, one tablespoon (15 mL) at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands. The dough will feel tacky.

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat dough completely. Cover and let rise in a warm place, 45 minutes or until doubled in size. Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough. Punch dough down. Cover and let rest five minutes.

With floured hands, knead dough five times. Shape into a round seven-inch (cm) loaf. Place loaf on a large baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in size. Make three diagonal slashes 1/4-inch (6 mm) deep across top of loaf using a sharp knife.

Heat oven to 350 F (180 C).

Combine one tablespoon (15 mL) water and egg yolk. Gently brush over dough. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) coarse kosher salt. Bake for 35 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack. Source: Adapted from Cooking Light.

Creative Gifts for the Holidays Contest

Share your innovative, homemade gift ideas and photos with us to be entered in a holiday gift draw Nov. 15. Submit entries to: TEAM Resources at team@producer.com or Box 2500, Saskatoon, Sask. S7K 2C4.

Sarah Galvin is a home economist, teacher and farmers’ market vendor at Swift Current, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. She writes a blog at allourfingersinthepie.blogspot.ca. Contact: team@producer.com.

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