Breadbaking chronicles

March 22, 2011

I have been to the mall, and the gym, and have ordered Chinese and am waiting for delivery. In the interim, I will drink red wine and entertain you with the weekend’s adventures in breadbaking.

We had oatmeal whole wheat bread.

These taste MUCH better than they look. And the looks are my fault.

We had hoagie rolls.

Now, THESE rolls will hold you a sammich, they will.

We had New England Anadama bread.

I was about to be damning Anna, along with her husband, myownself.

And that doesn’t count the loaf of Guinness Whole Wheat quick bread I made Saturday, because all of these were Sunday.

And we had the first time since I began the breadmaking adventures with Miz Scarlett that I stepped out on a recipe with really very little idea where I’d wind up. And despite a small mishap, the oatmeal whole wheat bread turned out quite well.

How it was, was, I had cooked steel-cut oats for breakfast and had about a cup of oatmeal left over. Having had the children-starving-in-China thing drummed into me as a child, I didn’t want to pitch it. So I hauled Miz Scarlett into the kitchen, with intentions of making buckwheat bread, and hung a sharp left. Or right. Or something.

OK, I figured. Oatmeal. Whole wheat flour. White flour. Salt. Honey. Water. Turbinado sugar. (It was good on my cooked oatmeal; should be good in the bread, yes? Yes.) Yeast. I upped the yeast a bit, figuring the oatmeal and whole wheat flour together might make it kinda heavy. Whirred that around for a few minutes, and determined the dough was too wet. Added more flour. Added more flour. Switched to the dough hook and kneaded for a while. Still pretty soft, but OK, we’ll go with it. Put it in an oiled bowl to rise, and rise it did, gloriously so. I ruthlessly punched it down.

As I had added considerable flour, I decided to break in my new bread pan, the big one — 11 x 5 x 4. It filled it within an inch and a half of the top, and I didn’t figure I’d get a huge rise out of it the second time, so that oughta work, right?

Wrong. I SO wish I’d taken photos of the rising process; will try to remember to do that next time. This baby rose up a good two inches above the sides of the pan and commenced to droop over the edges. A little of a muffin-top I could deal with; not one that bloops all the way down to the rack below! So I gritted my teeth, punched it down again, split it into two, and stuck it in two pans, really figuring it’d just sit there and look at me balefully and not do a damn thing.

It rose yet again, and I baked it, and it actually fell a bit in the middle, as you saw from the photos. But it had a glorious texture and taste, and I will SO do that again.

Here’s the details, as nearly as I can approximate them.

  • 2 cups King Arthur bread flour
  • 2 cups King Arthur whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup cooked steel-cut oats
  • 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 2 tbsp. yeast (or two packets)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar (I have just discovered turbinado sugar. I love it. I’m not real sure what it is, but I love it.)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cup warm water

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water to which you’ve added the honey and sugar. Let it sit for 5 minutes or so. Add the flours and the gluten and the salt and mix until well blended and gluten is starting to develop. Add more flour if needed; you want a finished dough that is sticky and soft.

Switch to the bread hook and knead on Speed 2 for about 10 minutes.

With wet hands, pull the dough out of the bowl and into an oiled bowl. In that bowl, use your hands to shape it into a ball by tucking edges underneath. Cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour.

Divide dough in half and put in two 9 x 5 loaf pans. Cover and let rise another 30-40 minutes, until dough is mounding out the tops of the pans. Bake at 375 until golden brown. Cool on a rack completely before slicing.

Loaves will be a bit soft, but you can handle them easily enough. The crumb is a lovely, silky, texture and makes to-die-for toast.

Then there were the hoagie rolls. I skipped down to the next hoagie roll recipe I’d found on the web, one that proclaimed it turned out nice soft rolls, as the others were significantly chewy. I used this recipe:

Hoagie rolls 2




  1. 1 In a mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water add 1 T. sugar and then let stand about 5 minutes.
  2. 2 Add remaining water and sugar. Beat in oil, salt and 4 cups flour until smooth. Stir in enough flour to form a soft dough.
  3. 3 Turn onto a floured board. Knead until smooth and elastic for about 6-8 minutes.
  4. 4 Place in a greased bowl turning once to grease the top.
  5. 5 Cover and let rise 45 minutes.
  6. 6 Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured board, divide into 18 pieces.
  7. 7 Shape into an oval.
  8. 8 Place 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheets.
  9. 9 With scissors cut a 1/4-inch slash across the top of each.
  10. 10 Cover and let rise 20 minutes.
  11. 11 Bake at 400° for 13-18 minutes until golden brown.

I halved it, and made four big rolls. I don’t know who these people are feeding these small hoagies to, but it is not my 6-foot-2, 230 pound NS. That boy wants him a SANDWICH, he does. These rolls were about 8 inches long, about 3 1/2 inches wide, and will comfortably hold a serving of meatballs or sliced steak topped with provolone cheese.  He has pronounced them good, so they’ll go in the lexicon.

Then there was the Anadama bread. I’ve wanted to try this for a good while, and Saturday was my attempt. I followed this recipe exactly:, and I am here to tell you, I thought I had probably followed my second KAF recipe to failure and was about to swear off all of ’em.

This made the thickest dough I’ve ever seen in my life. There would have been no way in hell to do this without Miz Scarlett, and even then, I had to hold the bowl onto its holder. It was thick enough it slowed her down a bit. I took it out of the bowl and held it upside down, and it kept its ball shape. You could have played fast-pitch softball with it, I do believe.  And it didn’t rise a helluva lot, but it DID rise, both in the bowl and in the pan. So I said WTF, and baked it.

It ain’t bad. It was significantly lighter than I would have imagined it would be. And it does have a very good flavor. But next time, I’ll put just a couple tablespoons more water in there.

So that’s the news from the baking front, and meanwhile, the Chinese has arrived. So I’ll bid you and y’mama ‘n ’em a very good evening, and we’ll bake again next weekend, maybe.


3 Responses to “Breadbaking chronicles”

  1. Whitney Reynolds Says:

    I have yet to try to make bread (and again, I have no Miz Scarlet), but I did located a lil of my yeast to do it. I misplaced it the other day (and I had a HUGE hankering to make yeast rolls), but found it today in the top cabinet behind something else. It really SUCKS to be short! 🙂

  2. Len Cleavelin Says:

    And despite a small mishap, the oatmeal whole wheat bread turned out quite well.

    And so it did, indeed.

    Speaking of which, the loaf (well, most of a loaf) you sent home with me didn’t last long. 🙂

  3. kate Says:

    Dang. You and Scarlett are gettin’ it on. Next time I come I want some kind of bread that has crunchy seeds or something inside of it. If that makes sense. I had some the other day that was a multi-grain bread like that, and it wasn’t home cooked.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: