Sunday, November 13, 2011

Coconut Bread, and White Bread

I love fresh bread. I love the process of creating it, whether its in a stand mixer, or kneading it by hand. I love to feel the dough change under my hands, and feel the warmth after the first rise. I love the smell of it baking - that intoxicating smell somehow makes your home feel more like home. It is just relaxing.

Yea, you normally don't hear me waxing poetic about things. I feel like I always have to add to what is being said in order for my voice to be heard. And, I'm just a reserved person. Blogging is a pretty big stretch for me. But, I love to share my cooking, so its time to overcome those obstacles.
I have been baking a lot of bread lately - at least once a week. When I bake bread, I usually make 2 loaves - one for me, and one for one of my brothers families. I know Fawn loves fresh bread, and I think Kristie does too. I know my mom does.

The first bread I made is a new recipe to me. I was looking for a great bread recipe, and I found it - if you haven't been there before, I love King Arthur Bread recipes. I followed this recipe pretty much exactly, except I added wheat gluten to my flour. And, I changed the method. I like to let my bread sit for a few minutes before I knead it. I think it gives me a nicer bread. Give it a try, you won't be disappointed.

This bread is just everything you would want in a sandwich bread. It was perfect with nutella and frozen raspberry curd for breakfast, and it toasts perfectly. You can tell from the picture that I didn't let it rise enough - forgive me, I was impatient.

This second bread was a revelation to me. I have been seeing organic coconut oil all over lately. So, I did some research on it. Turns out, as long as its not super processed for you, it may not be as bad for us as we were told. And, it tastes amazing. Better than cheesecake amazing. I love that rich, tropical taste of coconut milk. Paired with coconut oil makes it even better.

Now I'm going back to my luscious coconut bread. For a printable recipe, click here.

Coconut Bread

Adapted from an already awesome recipe for white bread here

3 cups all purpose unbleached flour, or if you want more texture, 2 ½ cups flour and ½ c. wheat gluten

½ cup coconut milk

½ cup warm water

4 tablespoons melted organic coconut oil

1 T. sugar

1 T. active dry yeast (that’s about 1 packet)

1 t. kosher salt

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in ½ c. warm water with your sugar. Set aside and see if it bubbles up. If it doesn’t get at least foamy within about 20 minutes, toss and get more yeast. Once it bubbles, you are ready to go.

Add 2 cups flour (or 1 ½ cups and your wheat gluten) to a mixing bowl. Add coconut milk, yeast mixture, and coconut oil. Stir until well incorporated. Add salt, stir again. Let rest 15-20 minutes in your kitchen.

After the dough has rested, add as much remaining flour that dough will take. If you are using a stand mixer, attach your dough hook and begin on low medium speed. Your dough has had enough flour when it stops sticking to the bowl and starts forming a smooth mass. Knead in the mixer for 3-5 minutes until dough is very smooth and elastic.

If you are kneading by hand, after the first rest, turn dough out onto a floured board and begin kneading. Your dough may need up to an additional cup of flour, so be generous with your flour until your dough can take no more. Knead 5-6 minutes until smooth.

Place in an oiled dish, turning the dough once so surface is lightly oiled. Cover and let rise in warm place for up to 2 hours, until double in size.

Deflate dough and shape into a rectangle with one side of your rectangle the same size as your loaf pan, about 8”. Gently roll dough to form a loaf. Place in a lightly oiled (or sprayed) loaf pan. Cover again and let rise about 1 hour.

After your dough has risen to double again, preheat oven to 350. Bake bread for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and top sounds hollow when lightly tapped. Let cool before slicing.

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