Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Since I'm Procrastinating, I Might As Well Bake!
I'm supposed to be studying for my Chinese and Second Language Acquisition finals, but I was suddenly seized with a longing to bake bread. I know at least one other person who does this form of procrastination (and she managed to finish a PhD, so it can't be all bad!). My baked good of choice was whole wheat bread, specifically King Arthur Flour's No-Knead 100% Whole Wheat Bread. This is a nice website with lots of recipes; I've made their pizza dough and now this bread. The bread is very very easy to make and the only kneading you do is 3 minutes in the mixer. (I don't have a stand mixer so I used my electric mixer and it really put it to the limit. Next time I will try the food processor with the dough blade.) I love sites like this with user comments, so I can see what worked for other people and what didn't or whether to even bother. Thanks to the comments I let the dough rise a lot longer than recommended. I let it rise for 1 hour at room temperature, then 6 hours in the fridge, then another hour at room temperature. Next time I will try overnight in the fridge, which several bakers said gave it a richer flavor. I had to bake it for a total of 55 minutes, which is 10 minutes longer than recommended (since it was still cool from the fridge).
The flavor: Excellent toasted with cheese, divine toasted with butter and honey. We ate the whole loaf in less than 24 hours. My youngest son--the one who likes to cook--came into my office that night and wanted to bake another loaf right then and there! He doesn't really know about yeast bread and rising, so now's the time to teach him. We were out of white whole wheat flour (this gives the bread a lighter texture than regular whole wheat flour) so I managed to stave him off till later this week. Now I've procrastinated some more by writing my blog. Back to studying.
(Addition, Thursday Dec. 10: My son baked this bread, and we left it overnight in the fridge for about 14 hours and then 1 hour at room temp. before baking. The texture was better this time and the mixing went better with the food processor. We like the molasses sweetener best.)
I just had to add this photo of the BLT sandwich I made from our second loaf of this bread. It was really really good.