You may be admiring these loaves of bread, thinking, "OOohhh...how did she make those cute little loaves of bread--not too big, not too small-- perfect for sandwiches!!" :)
I am a beginning bread maker, learning as I go. I plan to show what I do know! :)
First of all, using freshly ground flour makes the best 100% whole wheat bread. The topic of wheat berries is quite comprehensive, requiring its own blog page [another day]...but I will tell you that you need to use "hard" wheat berries for yeast breads. The photo below shows what hard, spring wheat berries look like [not much different than what other wheat berries look like. lol!].
We purchased this Nutrimill wheat grinder a few months ago, and it's performance is wonderful! The only thing I don't like about it is that it is very loud. I have a feeling, however, that grinding wheat berries is supposed to be a deafening activity. I usually pour the wheat berries in, then walk away until I hear the familiar "revving up" sound that nothing is left in the "hopper" [place where you pour in the berries]. Filling the hopper full with wheat berries, by the way, means that I have enough flour (12-14 cups) to make my bread, plus approx. 6 cups (could be more) to save in the fridge for that week. Filling the Nutrimill once (w wheat berries) is sufficient for our family for at least five days. This photo makes it look like I had a ton of flour left over, but I had ground a different wheat berry later on (when I took this pic). Like I said, I'll talk about the variety of wheat berries in another post.
The next step, is to gather together all of your bread recipe ingredients. There are a variety of recipes out there...and if you would like the one I make, feel free to ask for the recipe!! A kind lady from church gave it to me, and I love how it holds together well with very little crumble when cut (delicious, too).
Ok...you have all your ingredients on the counter, right? I failed to take a picture of the ingredients in my Bosch mixer...but you simply follow your bread recipe instructions, mixing the water with yeast, then add the other liquid ingredients...then the flour and dry ingredients. You mix dough with the bread mixer just as you would by hand, the difference is you don't have to get your hands so "dirty". See the beautiful dough hook?? :) :)
Oh--I nearly forgot to talk about the yeast!! I know you're going to laugh...but I was very scared over the block of yeast I had purchased, and wondered how on earth I was going to cut it into chunks to dissolve. Well, as soon as I opened it, I realized yeast is vacuumed shut when packaged...so when you open it up, the air escapes, and it's a SOFT package of yeast! LOL! Yes,that's right! My point: don't feel intimidated by large, hard packages of yeast. :) :)
I've been told I can store the yeast in the freezer (taking out amount needed beforehand so it can be room temp.). Also, the temperature of water is very important when you add the yeast. I love the bread recipe I have because you add boiling hot water and cold water prior to adding the yeast. I don't ever have to guess at the temperature this way!! It's great!! :) :)
Here's that big, bad bag of yeast:
After you have mixed the ingredients in your Bosch mixer, let the mixer knead the dough for about 9 minutes (set the timer). You then take out the dough hook, covering with lid (supposed to keep lid on during the mixing, btw) and let the dough sit for about 45 minutes. Here's how much the dough will rise!
Incredible! : ) I chuckle to myself every time I see this. The smallest things in life tickle my funny bone...
actually, I'm chuckling because I'm relieved the dough rose [like I said, I'm still new at this... though I must admit there hasn't been a time the dough hasn't risen. lol].
The next step is to punch the dough down with your fist, and then pull it out of the mixer, onto the counter (oiled with olive oil)!
You will have greased your 8" bread pans with olive oil, by the way, before shaping the dough into 5 separate loaves! :) :)
Lather olive oil on your hands and spread over the tops of the loaves. Then cover with kitchen towels and let the loaves rest for about 45 minutes, or until they look something like this!!!:
I giggle out loud every time I see this sight, as well! :) :)
Hopefully, you will have remembered to turn on the oven a few minutes before this so that it's already pre-heated! Bake your bread for about 25 minutes (depends how brown you like it), and enjoy your fresh bread!!! :) :) :) Note: After bagging the loaves, I place them in the freezer and then use one at a time! :)
As I experiment with other bread recipes, I'll add the things I've learned.
Thanks for reading...and let me know if you want this recipe! :)
Also, if you are wondering where I found the cute 8" bread pans and bread bags, I discovered them on this site at the recommendation of a friend (the same one who gave me this bread recipe!):
We purchased our Bosch mixer and Nutrimill grinder from the following comany(before hearing about the link above--I think they are the same price. No complaints with either company...they are both reputable):