Introduction: Good Healthy Every-day Bread

Making bread is easy. Only three ingredients are necessary – flour,
water and yeast - so if you can cook scramble eggs you can make bread.

This is my regular every-day bread. Nothing fancy though I add ground flax and sunflower seeds to make it more tasty. The method includes an overnight fermentation that increases the complexity of the flavors and develops the gluten all by itself, saving all that kneading.

I use this bread making method for all my bread and though similar to other methods, I like to call it “almost no-knead”. You can see my other Instructable that is on Spicy English Tea Bread here: https://www.instructables.com/id/Spicy-English-Tea-Bread/

I use 50/50 white flour/whole wheat as 100% whole wheat flour makes a loaf that is too heavy for my preference.

Step 1: Ingredients:

Makes 2 large loaves.

3 cups all purpose flour

3 cups whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons instant dried yeast

3 cups warm water

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup ground flax seeds

½ cup raw sunflower seeds

Notes:

1. For the benefit of anyone not familiar with North American cups, 1 cup is 250ml, 1 tablespoon is 15ml and 1 teaspoon is 5ml.

2. You will probably need up to ½ cup of extra flour to get a good dough.

3. You will notice there is no sugar of any kind partly because we have too much sugar in our diets already but mostly because it is totally unnecessary. When the flour is wet, an enzyme called diastase that is naturally present in flour, converts the starch to sugar that the yeast can use.

4. You will notice too that there is no oil or fat of any kind. As I often say, we don’t need fat IN our bread as well as butter ON our bread.

Step 2: Method:

(this is what I do for all my bread)

1. Before going to bed get a BIG bowl and add:

3 cups white flour

2 tsp yeast

3 cups warm water (body temperature)

and stir to a thin batter, called a poolish. Cover well and put in a warm place overnight.

A friend once put the batter up on top of the kitchen cupboards overnight but he didn’t use a big enough bowl. In the morning there was batter dripping down the cupboards and spreading out all over the counter! What a mess to clean up! So a big bowl.

2. Also before going to bed, in a second bowl pre-mix:

3 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp salt

½ cup ground flax seeds

½ cup raw sunflower seeds

Step 3: Next Morning:

Next morning you will find the gluten has developed all by itself and you will have a lump of gooey gluten sitting in a very watery fluid.

Now add the contents of the second bowl and stir until you can’t stir any more. Then get your hands in it to make an even ball of dough. You will probably need about ½ cup more flour depending on humidity etc. You may work it on the kitchen counter, or not as you choose, and then put the dough ball back in the bowl, covered, in its warm place for about 30 minutes. The gluten will develop during this time without, needless to say, the need to knead.

It’s a good idea to butter your bread tins at this time.

Step 4: Shaping the Loaves:

Shaping the loaves. During the 30 minutes in your warm place the
gluten develops nicely. Tip & scrape the dough onto your work surface and knead it a few times. Stretch and fold, turn, stretch and fold again. Then divide the dough into 2 pieces. This recipe will make 4½ pounds of dough, so for 2 large tins use 2¼ lbs (1 kg) for each tin. Stretch and fold each piece of the dough to make a sausage shape that will go into your tins.

Switch on your oven and set it for 450 degrees F (230 deg C).

Allow the dough to rise in your warm place for about 60 minutes or until well risen.

Step 5: Baking the Loaves:

When well risen, bake at 450 degrees F (230 C) for 15 minutes and then turn the oven down to 375 F (190 C) for a further 30 minutes.

This high temperature and then cooling down over time simulates the traditional way of baking in a wood fired oven. And it makes a nice crisp crust.

Step 6: Last Words:

If you have got this far (and I hope you have) you may be interested in a few comments about ageing, staling and storage.

We all know that bread goes stale and dry over time. If you store your bread in a plastic bag it doesn’t really go dry but it certainly seems like it. The reason is that the gluten that we take so much trouble to make elastic goes hard over time so it loses its flexibility and hence its chewiness. It seems dry and stale.

We also all know that when we lightly toast dry bread a lot of its chewiness is restored. That is because the heat from the toaster restores some of the flexibility to the gluten. As this indicates the warmer the temperature the slower the hardening of the gluten, or to put it the other way around, the cooler you go, the faster the hardening. Room temperature is the best temperature for short-term storage. The WORST temperature is around 40 degrees F (5 deg C), which by coincidence, is the temperature of most refrigerators.

For long-term storage freezing is best and it is a lot easier if the bread is pre-sliced before being frozen - though to be honest I rarely do so myself.

Comments

author
Dacoco (author)2017-03-10

add some lemon juice will prevent it going stale rapidly.

author
Beekeeper (author)Dacoco2017-03-10

Thanks for raising this issue, though to be honest I am not convinced that lemon juice will slow the staling process in bread. I have never heard or read of it before and I can’t find anything on google about it. Can you give your source? It is often suggested that lemon juice or vinegar be added to pastry to stop the gluten developing which seems to have the opposite effect of what you are saying – not sure though. One can add a very small amount of lemon juice or ascorbic acid (vitamin C) more or less as a fertilizer for the yeast.
Commercial bakeries, probably including supermarket in-store bakeries, add enzymes to slow down the loss of flexibility in the gluten which gives them more time to sell their loaves. If lemon juice slows down the staling process it would seem that bakeries would use that instead of enzymes that are a lot more expensive than lemon juice.
Maybe someone else knows the real answer.

author
Dacoco (author)Beekeeper2017-03-11

I don't have a source other than my dad ......who was told by a local baker.
I use it in my bread and I think it helps. but maybe just like the added enzimes it helps in staying flexible.

author
Beekeeper (author)Dacoco2017-03-12

Maybe next time I make bread I'll experiment and see if it really makes any difference. One loaf with lemon juice and one without, then store them side-by-side and see if there is any difference. How much per loaf did your dad say to add? Give me a couple of weeks and then check here for the answer.

As a matter of interest previously I have tried to make bread using Heinz Tomato Sauce that according to the label contains red ripe tomatoes, salt, citric acid, red bell pepper powder, dextrose, natural flavouring and spice. The idea was to get a pink spicy peppery bread, but the yeast didn't like it and it wouldn't rise. I think it was too acidic with the citric acid and tomatoes.

author
Dacoco (author)Beekeeper2017-03-13

I add less than a teaspoon to one bread. don't overdue it, it will prevent the rising.

author
Beekeeper (author)Dacoco2017-03-13

OK, I'll try it so keep tuned. Maybe later this week. Where are you? I'm in Canada.

David

author
Beekeeper (author)Beekeeper2017-03-21

hi Dacoco.

Here are the results of my experiment:

Lemon Juice Staling Test.

I made two identical separate batches of
bread using, in each batch, a total of 3 cups of flour and 1½ cups of water
plus 1 tsp yeast, ½ tsp salt, ¼ cup sunflower seeds and ¼ cup ground flax. I did my usual overnight poolish with half of
the flour and all the water + the yeast.
In the morning I added 1 tsp of lemon juice to one of the batches, then the
rest of the ingredients and worked them minimally to a decent even ball of
dough.

Then I returned the dough to their respective
bowls and put them in my warm place for 30 minutes to let the gluten
develop. Both batches appeared
identical. Then I shaped the loaves and
put them to rise. After roughly an hour
both again appeared identical so I baked them – side-by-side in the centre of
the oven.

Visually there was no difference between
the two loaves after baking.

When cooled down I cut the loaves in half
and at this time I tasted a thin slice of each to see if there were any obvious
differences in taste or texture. There
didn’t seem to be any difference in the flavour as they were both the same to
me and certainly there was no taste of lemon.

Then I put the two halves in separate
plastic bags in my bread drawer in the kitchen and left them for a couple of
days before beginning a daily test.

After 48 hours a test of a thin slice of
each loaf showed no difference between the two.

After 3 days – no discernable difference.

After 4 days – again, no discernable
difference. The mouth feel of both is
getting quite dry, but some chewiness was restored in both after toasting.

After 5 days – same again: no discernable
difference.

After 6 days - same again: no discernable
difference.

At this time I decided to end the test as
it was clear to me that adding lemon juice did not slow the staling process.

author
Dacoco (author)Beekeeper2017-03-21

Hi Beekeeper.
Thanks for this elaborate test!
I will leave the lemon out in the future if i notice a difference i will reply.

author
TheGunNut44 (author)2017-03-10

This is probably the best breadmaking instructable I have seen so far, keep up the good work. :)

author
Beekeeper (author)TheGunNut442017-03-10

Thank you for your kind words. My aim is to spread the word on how easy it can be to make your own bread. Did you also check my other bread Instructable? - here -
https://www.instructables.com/id/Spicy-English-Tea-Bread/
David

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