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(As with the recipe for Pecan Pie, this is my wife's recipe, not my own.)
I really like variety breads — sour dough, rye, onion, etc. Because I have Type 2 diabetes, however, my wife decided to bake bread from scratch so that she could minimize the sugar and include the whole grain flours that provide the complex carbohydrates my doctor recommended.
These recipes are all for a single loaf, even where the original recipes might have specified two loaves. For all of these recipes, my wife thus uses a 5"×10" loaf pan (top measurements) that is extra-deep (4" instead of the usual 3"). The extra depth allows for a tall loaf of bread that does not overflow the pan. The interior of the pan prepared by greasing with olive oil. The bottom of the pan is then lined with a piece of parchment paper that is also greased with olive oil.
When buying yeast, always check the package date. Stale yeast will not make the dough rise.
Some recipe steps require the use of a cooking thermometer. This should NOT be merely a roasting thermometer since moderately warm temperatures — cooler than a roasting thermometer is designed to show — may be required. All of these recipes require a stand mixer with a dough hook.
After the dough in the loaf pan has risen in the warm oven, place the loaf pan in a larger pan that has about 1" or 2" of warm water. A roasting pan is suitable for this. Be sure the water is NOT hot, which might kill the yeast before baking starts. Cover the pans with a large, clean dish towel to keep the dough from cooling and collapsing. Where the instructions indicate working quickly, the intent is to avoid allowing the dough to cool and lose its rise. That is also the purpose of the large pan of warm water while the oven is pre-heated for baking.
While the dough is rising in the warm oven, DO NOT OPEN the oven until the rising is done.
2-1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup warm water (110°F to 115°F)
3 tbs butter
5 cups white flour (bread or general purpose)
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 packages active dry yeast
2 tbs + 1 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 cups shredded cheese
2 tsp garlic powder
Combine the flours, 2 tbs sugar, salt, cheese, and garlic in a bowl (NOT the mixer bowl). Stir together.
Put the warm water into the mixer bowl. Add 1 tsp sugar, and stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in the yeast and allow to stand for 15 minutes. The mixture should bubble.
Pre-heat the oven to 200°F and then turn the oven off.
Heat the milk and butter to 120°F. When the butter is completely melted, allow the mixture to cool slightly and then add it to the mixer bowl. With the mixer bowl on the mixer and the mixer running at a low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients 1 cup at a time. After all the dry ingredients are added, run the mixer an additional 3 minutes.
Put the dough into a large bowl that has been greased with olive oil. Lightly oil the top of the dough. When the oven has been off for 10 minutes, place the bowl — covered with a damp (not wet) dish towel — in the oven for 2 hours for the dough to rise.
After the dough has risen, remove the bowl from the oven and transfer the dough to the prepared loaf pan, working quickly. Place the loaf pan — again covered with a damp dish towel — in the still warm oven to rise another 2 hours.
When the second rising is done, remove the loaf pan from the oven, place it in the large pan of warm water, and cover the pans.
Pre-heat the oven to 375°F. When that temperature is reached, quickly place the loaf pan in the oven (without the pan of water or the dish towel). Bake for 10 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 350°F. Bake for another 35 minutes.
At the end of baking, remove the loaf pan from the oven and place it on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Then remove the bread from the loaf pan and allow it to cool another 10 minutes.
The ratio of white and wheat flours can be changed to any ratio between 5:1 and 3:3 depending on taste preferences. However, at least half of the flour should be white.
The original recipe specified that the two risings be only one hour each. For a tall, light loaf, two hours each is better. Just make sure the pre-heated oven for the rising is not too hot.
The original recipe also called for shredded cheddar cheese. That can be replaced by other cheeses. A good combination is 1 cup cheddar and 1 cup Swiss.
For a slight tang, include 2 tbs finely chopped fresh rosemary or basil in the dry ingredients.
5 February 2019
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