About a year ago I had theory, I’m a decent baker, I’m SURE I could bake bread. I hadn’t attempted bread previously because I’d always assumed it takes too long or is too difficult. You can go ahead and read that as: I really had no interest in kneading the dough by hand. Fortunately, one day my eyes were opened to a fun little fact: I can use my Kitchen Aid stand mixer to knead the dough! That’s right, I love to bake and I was unaware of that fact.
Moment of vulnerability here; I really had no idea what I was to do with my dough hook until I opened my Company’s Coming Bread cookbook and read the glossary. More specifically, the definition of heavy mixer. I knew the hook was for bread, I’m not that naive, but I had never really stopped to think about when and how it was used in the bread making process. The few times I’d made 2 hour buns, sticky buns, or cinnamon buns I had broke down and kneaded by hand. Now remember, I said I’m a decent baker, I didn’t say I knew all the tricks.
All excuses aside, I really feel it shouldn’t have take me 4 years of owning a stand mixer to have that revelation. Had I realized sooner, I’m sure I would have began baking my own bread sooner, it’s just that good! However, I am no longer unaware of that particular trick and have since nearly worn my mixer out making bread. I kid you not, I have probably used my mixer more in the last year than in the previous four.
I LOVE my fresh bread. Soooo much better than the store’s. For real.
My favourite bread recipe so far is probably the Five Grain bread recipe from the Company’s Coming Breads cookbook; but with a few modifications. I’ll share my adaptation below if you stick with me just a little longer, but the biggest change is that I do not use any all-purpose flour.
I’ve recently gotten to the point in my bread-venture where I am trying to not buy store bread at all. It’s been around 2 weeks since I’ve had to buy bread, which is great! As much as I’ve enjoyed baking all our bread, I don’t enjoy how long the entire process takes. Sometimes I’d love to just be able to toss some dough in the oven, without committing what feels like half my day to babysitting it. So, for some time now I’ve really wanted to experiment with freezing my dough. Today, I finally tried it!
There it is, a frozen lump of what I hope will be another great bread! Before I froze the dough, I wanted to confirm the best point in the process to freeze it. My thought was that after allowing it to rise once, and shaping it into loaves, you would freeze it. That way, when you’re ready to use it you just have to thaw, rise again, and bake. Well, I hate to waste a good dough so I searched the web and found this page, which confirmed my guess and gave me some timelines for how to handle the thaw/rise process. http://dontwastethecrumbs.com/2015/02/ultimate-guide-freezing-bread-dough-baked-goods/ This page has great tips on freezing your baking, batters, and doughs, and on other posts she discusses eating clean on a budget, so I REALLY doubt this will be the only time I visit her page!
Anyway, back to my point! This morning in the midst of at least five other things,
(a trip to: the school for preschool/kindergarten/grade school drop-off ->the vet for a kitty spay->back home for my coffee->home for a sip of coffee->back to school for Roots of Empathy with the baby->to the hospital to book an appointment->back home for lunch with Dylan->back to school for preschool pickup) never mind the details, but somewhere in my mess of a morning I prepped my bread dough.
I really feel like I should take a bow. When on EARTH did I fit it in? I thiiiink I mixed it up before I left for school the first time, then froze it when I was home for a quick coffee before Roots of Empathy. I think, but I’m not sure. The morning was for some reason a bit of a blur….
See what I did there? The paddle is blurry, punny right? :P Can you tell I'm feeling a little sleep-deprived?
Now, if only I could say that I handled that big bundle of hectic with grace and joy, I’d say I deserve a medal. But, today was a challenge! Finding peace during my chaotic day was challenging, but the alone time to write has actually been therapeutic. Thank you Dylan for getting the babe down for a sleep! And thank you for sticking with me so far.
One final side-note, my kitty is back home and on the mend, post-spay. 😀
Alright, without further ado here’s what you came here for: my take on Five Grain Bread: Fresh and From Frozen.
Five Grain Bread: Fresh
Adapted from Company’s Coming: Breads pg 133
Yields 2 loaves
Preparation time: 30 minutes Inactive time: 2 hrs Baking time: 30 min Total time: approximately 3 hours
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup slow rolled oats
- 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1/4 cup natural bran (not cereal)
- 1/4 cup wheat germ
- 1/4 cup dark rye flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 2 1/4 tsp (1x8g) active dry yeast
- 2 1/4 (550mL) cups very warm milk
- 3 tbsp (50mL) honey
- 3 tbsp (50mL) molasses
- 1/4 cup (60mL) cooking oil (I use extra virgin olive oil)
- 4-5.5 cups Whole wheat flour
- Stir sugar into warm water, sprinkle yeast on top. Set a timer for 10 minutes
- While your yeast is proofing, measure grains and salt into your mixer bowl and whisk to combine
- Warm the milk and add honey, molasses, and oil. Tip: I find the easiest way for me to do this step is to use the metric side of my 4 cup pyrex measuring cup. Pour milk to 550mL, and microwave to warm. Add honey until liquid level reaches 600mL, add molasses until liquid level reaches 650mL, then add a 1/4 cup of oil.
- When the yeast has sat about 10 minutes stir to dissolve and add it to your other liquid ingredients. Mix well and add to your flour mixture.
- Mix the dough well, and then add whole wheat flour 0.5-1 cup at a time, allowing it to stir a bit after each addition. Only add enough flour for the dough to start pulling away from the bowl (for me this is usually around 4-4.5cups).
- If you have a stand mixer, replace your paddle mixer with the dough hook and beat the dough on the highest setting for 2-3 minutes. If you aren’t fortunate enough to have a stand mixer, knead by hand for 8-10 minutes.
- Place dough in a LARGE greased bowl, turn the dough once to coat it with oil. I use coconut oil or butter to grease my bowl. Cover the bowl with a tea towel or a sheet of parchment paper and place it in a warm, well-lit area for 75 minutes, or until it has doubled in size. Tip: I usually hit the keep warm button on my oven while I’m mixing the dough. When I’m ready to rise my dough I put it in the oven, but turn the keep warm function off and turn the oven light on.
- Punch the dough down, divide it in half, and shape it into loaves. Place each loaf in a greased 9x5x3 inch (22x12x7cm) loaf pan. I also use coconut oil or butter to grease the pans.
- Place the loaf pans back in your nice, warm oven with the light on and a tea towel or parchment paper covering it. Allow it to rise about 45 minutes, or until doubled in size. Tip: I set my timer for 40 minutes, then take my loaves out, preheat my oven. By the time my oven has preheated they have risen for a total of about 45 minutes.
- Bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes. Let cool at least 5 minutes and then turn out onto racks to finish cooling.
- ENJOY! Word of warning though: it is a little hard to cut bread nicely when it is super warm and fresh. I often can’t resist trying to cut at least one piece though!
Five Grain Bread: From Frozen
- Follow the instructions for Five Grain Bread: Fresh up to step 7.
- Punch the dough down, divide it in half, and shape it into loaves. Place each loaf in a saran-wrap lined 9x5x3 inch (22x12x7cm) loaf pan. Make sure you cut your wrap a bit longer than the pan.
- Wrap the loaf with the remainder of the saran-wrap and freeze for several hours, or overnight.
- Once the dough is frozen through, place it in a large freezer bag. I recommend writing what type of dough it is on the bag. If you’re really keen you could even write the final baking instructions.
- Freeze until ready to use.
- When you’re ready to bake the bread, take a loaf (or loaves) out of the freezer, unwrap, and place in a greased 9x5x3 inch (22x12x7cm) loaf pan to thaw and rise.
- Cover the dough with a tea towel or parchment paper and allow it to rise in a warm, well-lit place for 4-6 hours. You will need to monitor this a bit as the time may vary. On my first attempt, today, it seemed to be done rising in less than 3 hours, but I waited until 3.5 hours or so to bake it.
- When the dough has approximately doubled, preheat oven to 350ºF and bake for 30 minutes.
Some frozen mounds of goodness right there!
Alright, so I began working on this post on Wednesday, today is Friday, and I am finally ready to share this. It didn’t feel right posting until I could share how baking bread from frozen went for me. This being my first attempt at freezing, thawing, and then baking; I needed to make sure I was giving good, reliable advice! Today is the day I finally needed some fresh bread, I was finally able to finish the process and let you know how it went! Here’s the final product. I think it did not rise quite as high as it normally does, I may try thawing the next loaf in the fridge prior to rising it in the oven. I’ve since read on other sites that you should double your yeast because some may die in the freezer. I may do this for subsequent attempts, but in the meantime I have one more Five Grain loaf and two 100% Whole Wheat loaves to thaw and freeze another day. As for the taste, it was still delicious!
"Good. It's good mom. Your -read is 'licious" Heath
What’s YOUR favourite bread recipe? Have you froze your own bread dough before, and if so, do you have any other great pointers for me? I’m always up for sharing what I’ve learned, and learning from others! Now I think I’ll go try my hand at making strawberry chia jam, to go with my fresh bread. Another first! Wish me luck and have a marvellous weekend!