Make a simple meal seem special with a full-bodied loaf of home-baked yeast bread. Whole wheat, rye, enriched raisin and mixed grain loaves are all easier than you might think, when you use recipes that require little kneading and only basic ingredients.
What's more, they are high in nutrition as well as taste appeal. Whole grain breads you bake yourself contain no chemical additives and are a good way to add extra protein and fiber to the family diet at minimal cost.
Making wholesome breads is not difficult, even for the novice baker, but it is important to handle the yeast carefully.Ingredients that are either too hot or too cold will inhibit yeast growth and keep the dough from rising properly, so for best results always follow recipe directions explicity. A cooking or candy thermometer is a very helpful though not absolutely essential tool in baking bread.
In three of the recipes that follow some kneading of the dough is required.Simply grasp one side of the dough with floured fingers, pull up and into the center of the mass, and then press down and out with the heels of the hands. Turn the ball slightly so a different section can be worked and repeat the process.
Each of the following recipes yields two loaves of bread.If desired, wrap and freeze one for later use. EASY MIXED GRAINS BREAD (Makes 2 loaves)
This produces evenly shaped, delicately flavored loaves. The bread is excellent sliced for toast or sandwiches. 2 cups whole wheat flour 1/4 cup sugar 2 teaspoons salt 2 packets active dry yeast 2 1/4 cups milk 3 tablespoons salad oil 1 egg 3/4 cup quick oats, uncooked 1/3 cup white or yellow corn meal 3 to 4 cups unbleached flour
Combined whole wheat flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Heat milk and salad oil in saucepan over low heat until liquid is almost hot to the touch (120 to 130 degrees). Gradually add the milk mixture to dry ingredients, beating at low speed, add the egg. Beat mixture 3 minutes at medium speed.
By hand, stir in oats and corn meal. Begin adding white flour, stirring, until a soft dough is formed. Knead on a very lightly floured board for about 1 minute. When the dough is smooth and pliable, put in a well-greased 2 1/2- or 3-quart bowl. Grease surface of dough, cover with a damp cloth and set in a warm place (80 to 85 degrees).
Let rise until light and doubled in bulk, about 50 to 60 minutes. Punch dough down and divide in half. Shape the portions into loaves and place each in a well-greased 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 35 to 45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes, or until loaves sound hollow when lightly tapped and are well browned. Remove from pans immediately and cool on racks. NO KNEAD RAISIN BREAD (Makes 2 loaves)
Serve this soft-textured, spiced bread warm with butter. 1 cup whole wheat flour 3 to 4 cups unbleached flour 1/2 cup sugar 1 teaspoon salt 2 packets active dry yeast 1 cup milk 1/3 cup water 2 tablespoons honey 1/4 cup butter or margarine 1 egg 1 1/4 cup seedless raisins 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
In a large mixing bowl, combine whole wheat flour, 1 cup of white flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Put milk, water, honey and butter in a saucepan. Place over low heat, stirring. When liquid is almost hot to the touch (120 to 130 degrees), remove from heat. Gradually add milk mixture to dry ingredients, beating at low speed. Add egg and beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of white flour, stir in well and beat batter at high speed for 2 minutes. Stir in enough additional flour to produce a stiff batter. Cover, let rise in a warm place (80 to 85 degrees) until double in bulk, about 1 hour. Stir batter down. With a spoon beat in raisins and spices. Turn batter into two greased 1-quart casseroles. Bake immediately at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes. Remove loaves from casseroles and serve immediately. SEEDED LIGHT RYE BREAD (Makes 2 loaves)
A light rye, enlived with caraway seeds. This makes a good sandwich bread. 2 1/2 cups medium rye flour 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed 2 teaspoons salt 2 packets active dry yeast 2 cups water 1/4 cup light molasses 3 tablespoons margarine 2 tablespoons caraway seeds 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups white all-purpose flour
Place rye flour, brown sugar, salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Combine water, molasses and margarine in saucepan over low heat, stirring. When mixture is almost hot to the touch (120 to 130 degrees), remove from heat. Gradually add liquid to dry ingredients, beating at low speed. Beat mixture at medium speed for 2 minutes. By hand, stir in caraway seeds. Gradually stir in enough white flour to form a workable, but still sticky, dough. Begin kneading, adding small amounts of flour, until dough becomes smooth, pliable and no longer sticky (5 to 6 minutes).
Put dough in a greased bowl, cover with a damp cloth and set in a warm place (80 to 85 degrees). Let rise until almost doubled in bulk, 50 to 60 minutes. Punch dough down and divide in half. Shape into oval loaves and place on a well-greased cookie sheet. Let loaves rise in a warm place for 35-45 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees; if break tops become very brown, turn down heat slightly. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until loaves are firm and sound hollow when lightly tapped. Remove from sheet and cool on racks. WHOLE WHEAT HONEY BREAD (Makes 2 loaves)
Serve this crusty, full-flavored bread hot with butter. 2/3 cup milk 1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed 3 tablespoons honey 3 tablespoons granulated sugar 5 tablespoons butter or margarine 2 teaspoons salt 1 1/2 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees) 2 packets active dry yeast 2 cups whole wheat flour 5 to 6 cups white all-purpose flour
Place milk in saucepan and cook over medium heat until scalded (150 degrees). Add brown sugar, honey, granulated sugar, butter and salt to milk. Remove from burner, stir and set aside to cool. Measure very warm water (105 to 115 degrees) into large bowl and sprinkle on yeast. Stir until all particles dissolve. When milk mixture feels warm to the touch (90 to 100 degrees), stir into the yeast. Add whole wheat flour, stirring. Gradually add white flour, stirring, until dough becomes smooth and stiff, but not completely dry.
Cover dough with a damp cloth and set aside 5 minutes. Turn out and knead on a lightly floured board for 10 minutes. Place dough back in large greased bowl, grease dough top, and cover with a damp cloty. Set aside in a warm plce (80 to 85 degrees) and let rise until double in bulk, about 55 to 65 minutes. Divide dough in half and shape each portion into a loaf.Place in well-greased 9-by-5-inch loaf pans. Grease the tops of the loaves, cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk, about 45 to 55 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from pans and serve.