Daily Bread

This bread has evolved over the last 6 months, ever since we realized that since every trip to the grocery store cost $40, buying bread every other day was pretty pricey. It started out as white bread following a Cooks Illustrated recipe for rustic Italian bread, then evolved to half whole wheat, then some of the whole wheat got replaced by wheat germ. This makes something like a reduced bran whole wheat bread, with more of the flavor and less of the bitter or grittiness of the bran. Less fiber too, oh well. Eat veggies or something too, you can’t live on bread alone.

This makes good toast or snacking bread, but hasn’t been making tall enough loaves to make a proper sandwich.

To Start:

  • About 8-10 oz of whole wheat flour, and white flour to make up the rest to 22oz. (so that’s 12-14 oz. Depending).
  • 1/2 teaspoon yeast
  • 16 oz (2 cups) water.

Early in the morning, or the night before mix, cover, and let sit for 3 hours. Refrigerate or use immediately in the next stage. It will be a rough dough, and rise a little before adding to the next stage. If the flour is rather dry and doesn’t form into a dough from just the 2 cups, another 1/2 oz or so can help.

Later — Do this twice. I use a Kitchenaid mixer which can only hold 1/2 of the full batch at a time. Mix:

  • 1 to 1 1/2 oz of wheat germ
  • White flour to get up to 16.5 oz
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 10.75 oz water

Mix till combined, then cover and set aside for 20 minutes. Next, combine this, 1/2 of the first stage dough and 2 teaspoons salt and knead in the mixer for 5 minutes or so until the dough is nicely elastic. Turn into a large greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Repeat for the other half of the first stage.

When the dough has risen some, fold over. It should take an hour or two per rise, but that really depends on the temperature. When it’s risen some more, split it into loaves. I use 4 9″x5″ loaves, but they aren’t terribly full. It would probably fill 8″ pans a bit better.

Preheat the oven to 450. I use a baking stone under the loaf pans, and it seems to bake nice and evenly. Let the bread rise in the loaf pans until there is a good shape to the loaves, then mist the tops with water, and put them in the oven.

After baking for 10 minutes, rotate the loaves and turn it down to 350. Bake for 25 more minutes or until the tops are nicely browned.

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