Winter is such a great time to bake bread. The kitchen is warm and the aroma of bread baking always gets a lot of attention, not only from family members but often neighbors will mention how delicious it smells. I enjoy baking in the winter because the days are shorter and I spend more time indoors.
For this instructable I will be sharing how to make a delicious bread recipe and how to use different methods to make it different.
I will be using the same recipe throughout this instructables with the exception of changing the bread color and the designs that give the bread a different appearance.
Follow through and let's bake some home-made bread from scratch ~
Step 1: Author's Notes
This bread recipe pretty much requires a stand mixer to make. I was determined to make this recipe by hand because I loved the beautiful dark golden color of the bread and had to play with the recipe. I proved it could be done, BUT I really don't recommend anyone doing it unless you are like me and just can't resist. It is labor intensive if making it by hand, I kid you not~ It was well worth my time though, I learned a lot and had fun making it.
When I experiment with recipes I usually choose a basic recipe that won't cost much to experiment with or use frozen bread dough loafs, depending on what I am trying to accomplish. For this experiment I had to taste and see what the original bread recipe was like, before making a decision about what ingredients I would like to substitute for the recipe and what methods I wanted to try to make changes.
The author of this recipe mentioned that this recipe absolutely must be made with a stand mixer. I knew I was up for a challenge when he mentioned this, but I decided to give it a try anyhow because this bread was gorgeous.
I had different plans for this particular recipe but could not find one important ingredient I wanted to use to alter the recipe ( regular pasteurized heavy cream that was not homogenized , because there are no substitutes for this except raw if you can find it). I could order online but my area was not available for shipment and I could not find a store that stocked it within 70 miles, so I had to come up with a different idea.
I was determined to find out what ingredient in the recipe or method created this beautiful dark almost burnt color. I searched online for the answer and did not find anything until after I made my first loaf, or at least I think I figured it out. I think the milk wash plays a part in it, the high heat, and the long retard. The bread usually has a bubble effect when baked at a high temperature but mine did not. I believe it was because my oven was not working right and I had to continually adjust the temperature and try to keep it at the 425 degrees it needed.
Understanding the ingredients in a recipe gives you the advantage of substituting ingredients to make it different. I decided for this recipe I would change the appearance of the bread and go from there. I did however want to achieve the same beautiful golden color of the crust.
Potato flour was used in this recipe because it makes yeast bread more moist and extends the shelf life. Potato flour is known to make the dough easier to handle and form a shape.
I loved the dark gold/ bronze looking color of the first loaf. My husband mentioned my pictures make it look burnt but it was not burnt. This loaf is meant to be very dark in color. My second loaf was lighter and it looked very dark in the pictures also.
I decided to color the inside of the loaf. I do not like to use store bought food coloring and I did not have charcoal to make black, so I opted with coco powder instead for a contrast. I had 1 beet and 2 small carrots in the fridge so I decided to blanch, slice, dry and grind them into powder and experiment with the colors. I read that other people had cut them into slices and dry them fresh but it took a few days for them dry. I did not have a few days so I decided to blanch them and then cut them into thin slices and dry them. It only took overnight to dry them so I was very happy. I had Turmeric and liquid Chlorophyll for options as well.
I wanted to see how flour stenciling worked so I tried it. I love the easy application and will be using the method for making personalized bread loafs and designing custom images made with plastic or parchment paper, for gift giving.
For this instructable, I made two loaves of this bread but am sharing 3 different methods to change the appearance. For the first loaf, I used cocoa to color half of the dough and layered the dough shapes to create a striped effect. For the the second loaf I shared how to use a stencil and flour to make a design on top of the bread loaf, but did not bake the bread ( because I only had 2 loafs to experiment with. I showed how to stencil it and brushed off the flour to make the scored bread. I used the bread lame to create a design on top of the second loaf to share how bread makers cut those beautiful designs in the bread they make.
Step 2: How to Make a Bread Lame
A bread Lame is a long stick with a curved blade used to score bread to control the expansion of the loaf.
You can easily make one using a long skewer and a double edge blade.
Slightly bend the two edge blade as shown and slip the skewer through the blade.
To cut a design in the bread use a sweeping motion and draw the design. The bread is usually scored just before baking the loaf.
As the bread rises and is baked it forms the shape.
Step 3: How to Stencil Bread Using a Stencil and Flour
Here is another easy technique to create a beautiful design for bread. Place the stencil where you want it and sprinkle a little flour in a mini sieve . It works the very best for controlling the amount of flour that is used, a larger one like I have is not the best to use for this though. The idea is to lightly sift a dust of flour over the stencil to leave a design. It may take some practice but you won't ruin the bread trying. Just make sure the top of the bread is free from moisture and oil. Use the pastry brush to sweep off the unwanted flour and try it again.
Place the stencil on the bread dough where you want the design, hold the sieve over the stencil and very carefully put a little flour in the sieve and carefully shake the sieve to disperse a light dusting of the flour and then very carefully lift the stencil off the dough to prevent the flour from shifting. Then bake according to the recipe instructions.
Step 4: How to Make Natural Food Coloring
I had planned on using fruit juice to make coloring for this bread but after thoughtful consideration I realized it would not work because of the unique method of making this type of bread. I decided to use cocoa powder instead. Coco powder adds a very light coco flavor but hardly noticeable at all.
I made a couple of dried versions of food coloring just to share what they looked like when added to a dough mixture. There are many different kinds of natural food coloring's that can be made easily, however, it is important to understand how the flavors of different ingredients might change the flavor profile of the food items and when an acid is needed to make them work properly. Carrot and beet powder do not alter the flavor much if any.
I stumbled across this website that has a lot of information on how to make natural food dyes and what to expect from each one and what brand has vibrant colors if you are looking to purchase. It is fabulous here .
I made the beet and carrot powder by removing the skins and blanching them in just enough water to cover them and cooked them for ten minutes. Then I sliced them very thin and placed them in a food dryer overnight. I did not keep track of the time but they did not take very long for them to dry completely. I used a coffee grinder to turn them into powder.
For the amount of dough I colored in the picture above, it seemed like I used a lot of powder to color them. Maybe making a paste would dissolve the granules and be more effective.
Step 5: Ingredients and Tools
Recipe Credit: Bon appetit / Eli Kulp
Makes ( 1 ) 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 loaf pan.
This recipe was slightly modified.
Bread Recipe Ingredients:
1 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
3 1/2 Cups All Purpose unbleached flour plus extra for dusting ( I used Bob's Red Mill )
1/3 Cup Organic Potato Flour if you can find it ( Please don't mistake this for potato starch )
1 Cup Buttermilk
3/4 Cup distilled water ( I used distilled because our tap water is very hard which can affect recipe)
2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Apple Cider vinegar ( or white vinegar)
1 Tablespoon Course Sea salt ( original recipe calls for 2 Tablespoons Kosher salt ) I used 2 Tablespoons fine sea salt and it was a little too salty so I reduced the recipe to 1 Tablespoon course sea salt, if you are sensitive to salt go with the Kosher. I understand it to be less salty.
7 Tablespoons unsalted butter (chopped / room temperature) adjust salt in recipe if using salted butter
2 Plus Tablespoons Whole Milk for brushing the top of the loaf
Optional: cocoa powder, beet powder, carrot powder,or Natural food coloring
Stand Mixer with a dough hook is strongly recommended if you have one ( This recipe can be made without a mixer, but kneading it by hand takes a very very long time.
Line 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pan with Parchment paper or use cooking spray.
Various size of mixing bowls, spatula, whisk, skewer,and pastry brush.
Plastic wrap or a lint free damp cloth.
Step 6: Mix Ingredients for Bread
These instructions are for a stand mixer, however, it is possible to make it by hand. It is not worth the effort to use a hand mixer because this dough gets very stiff and will bog down a hand mixer early on. I mixed and kneaded mine by hand and at times it took longer to knead and mix than the instructions say.
Place 3/4 cup water in stand mixer bowl or use a large mixing bowl and mix by hand; add the yeast to the water and mix on lowest speed; allow to sit about 5 minutes.
Combine potato flour with 3 1/2 cups AP flour and mix thoroughly with a whisk and set aside.
Add buttermilk to the yeast mixture and mix at low speed and slowly add the flour mixture increasing the speed to medium as needed when the dough begins to stiffen and combine; about 5 minutes.
Remove dough from the mixer and place on a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until a smooth ball is formed.
Please note: When I made the striped loaf of bread, I added unbleached flour for all the flour used because I added the wrong bowl to the flour mixture and did not use any potato flour. I decided to go ahead and try to redeem the recipe and use the remaining ingredients as listed. From this experience I can vouch that using potato flour improves the overall texture and moisture content of the recipe. In my opinion it also improved the flavor of the bread.
Step 7: Add Butter
Transfer dough ball to a large bowl and let set for about fifteen minutes to rest.
Pull off small sections of the dough and return dough pieces to stand mixer bowl and add the vinegar and salt to the dough mixture and mix on low speed until the dough is thoroughly mixed and does not stick to the bowl, approximately 5-8 minutes.
With the mixer on, add butter two or three pieces at a time, using a spatula to scrape the sides, mixing well, until thoroughly combined before adding more butter, (or mix by hand). This takes about 4 minutes between each butter addition.
Increase speed to medium and mix until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl forming a small ball. It takes about 5 minutes.
Transfer dough to lightly floured bowl, cover with plastic wrap or towel, and allow dough to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Please note if mixing by hand: Stand mixer users will probably not notice the dough transition, but, those who are making this dough by hand will notice a very wet oily stringy mixture, because of the butter addition. Fear not, it just takes longer to incorporate the mixture by hand to the consistency needed. Just mix longer until all the butter is completely and thoroughly mixed. The dough will loose the shiny appearance and will begin to feel like regular bread dough.
Step 8: Hand-Stretch the Dough
Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface.
Pat the dough into shape as shown in the pictures and stretch the dough up and over to the opposite side of the dough.
Repeat each side three times on all four sides of the dough.
Flip the dough over and return to the mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
Refrigerate for 18-24 hours to retard the loaf.
Step 9: Color the Dough and Form Layers
Proceed with this step if you will be making the colored striped loaf, otherwise go to step 11.
Divide the dough in half.
Slowly add the coloring of your choice to half of the dough mixture until you are happy with the color.
I used cocoa and did not add any color to the remaining half of the dough mixture.
Form 12 balls of dough about the same size (of the brown dough and 6 of the white dough), or use the colors of your choice.
Make a stack of layers alternating colors as shown.
Carefully pick up the bread dough and tilt the loaf on its side and lay it into the lined bread pan as shown.
Cover with a towel or oil one side of the plastic wrap and loosely cover the loaf and set aside in a warm place (away from drafts) allow to rise for 4-6 hours.
Step 10: Punch Holes and Bake
When bread has raised one inch above the pans rim, pre-heat oven to 500 degrees F.
Brush dough with the milk using a pastry brush.
Use the wooden skewer to carefully poke the loaf 8-10 times evenly across the top of the loaf and very carefully poke any large bubbles that are noticeable. This method allows the moisture to escape during the baking process.
Allow oven to reach 500 degrees F and place the loaf in the oven and turn down the oven temperature to 425 Degrees F.
Bake until the bread is dark golden brown, 50 to 60 minutes.
Carefully remove the loaf from the pan and return to the oven and place directly on the rack and bake another 10-15 minutes to brown the sides if necessary. I did not need to do this because I have to adjust my oven during the baking process and watch it closely because it runs hotter than the dial indicates.
My bread got a tad bit over browned.
Allow to completely cool before cutting into slices.
Step 11: Remove Air Bubbles and Place Dough in Pan
Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface and gently pat into shape and pat out any large air bubbles with floured hands.
Fold the sides of the dough to make a 7" long rectangle.
Pat and shape the dough into a loaf to fit the pan, while centering the bottom seam to avoid misshapen loaves or splits.
Place the dough seam side down, into the prepared pan.
Cover the pan with plastic wrap or a damp lint free cloth and place pan in a warm draft-free area to rise until the edges of the dough has risen above the pan, about 1 inch; 4-6 hours.
Step 12: Bake the Bread
Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees F.
Using a pastry brush, paint the milk on top of the bread dough. If using the stencil do not coat the area of the bread that will be stenciled because I don't think it will work with a wet surface, but I have never tried it that way before.
If using the lame, I would not poke holes in the bread because the loaf is already cut. If making the stencil bread, poke holes in the top of the bread around the design to allow the moisture to escape.
Using a skewer or tooth-pick carefully poke the bread dough 8-10 times evenly across the top of the surface, pop any large bubbles, to prevent misshapen loaves.
Place pan in the oven and bake until the bread is a very dark golden brown, 50-60 minutes and immediately reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees F.
Remove the loaf from the oven, and carefully remove the bread from the pan and return the loaf to the oven, placing it directly on the rack. Bake the edges of the bread until they are firm yet soft, about 10 to 15 minutes longer ( if needed). I did not have to do this with my first loaf although I did with the second one only because I wanted the top of the bread a little darker.
Transfer bread to a baking rack until the loaf is completely cool before slicing and serving.
Bread will last about 4 days if wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature.
Step 13: Sunshiine's Final Thoughts
The best part of making this recipe was creating the different designs and achieving the color I love so much. The bread was very moist and we loved how the potato flour created a moist soft bread crust even though it had been baked at a high temperature.
I hope you try this recipe and some of the methods I have shared. The slow rise of this recipe gave the bread a much deeper flavor profile which we enjoyed. My husband mentioned this bread will make a very good tasting Deli sandwich ~
Thanks for stopping by and do have a safe and happy holiday season~
Runner Up in the
Baking Contest 2017