28. April 2013

A Perfect Bread

O my, oh my. I just made the best bread I could probably smear butter and jelly on.
Seriously, I am so excited because I used to hate to make yeast doughs.
Yeast was my worst enemy and I avoided baking with it at all costs. Streusel cake for anyones birthday? Ehm, let’s make muffins instead. Homemade pizza? Mum, could you..?
But with the years I realized that baking with yeast wasn’t actually that difficult if you sticked to certain rules:

1. Only use warm, never HOT water, since it would kill the yeast
2. Only use ingredients at room temperature (never take anything straight out of the fridge)
3. Don’t let the yeast come near the salt
4. Activate the yeast by mixing it with warm water and a little sugar
5. Be patient enough to let the dough sit for a looong time
6. Be patient anough to knead the dough very well

Oh well. To be honest point #5 isn’t my strenghth. Although I create recipes myself, I find it very hard to follow a recipe my own. I always improvise while cooking and most of the time end up adding or omitting ingredients to my liking.
But today, I almost followed this recipe precisely. I guess it was the yeast that intimidated me.
By “followed almost” I mean that I used spelt instead of wheat flour. And I kind of dismissed rule #5, because I let the dough rise only half the time the recipe suggested.
But since recipes are only suggestions, the bread still turned out wonderfully.

The recipe:
Making a good bread can be something very intimidating. It’s not only the yeast that needs to be conquered, but also the memory of homemade bread that is hard as a stone and as tasty as a sponge. I am ashamed to admit, that I know what I am talking about. Ehem.
But when you stick to the above mentioned rules, there shouldn’t be too much left that could make you cry over your dough. Although I let the bread rise for “only” an hour total, it still turned out very fluffy and moist. The key to the fluffiness is the kneading! Don’t omit the 10 minutes of kneading the dough very well with your mixer.
I think this bread has everything that one wishes for. It is fluffy on the insight and crunchy on the outside. The oats get slighty toasty and add a great nutty flavor to it.
I prefer to eat it with a generous smear of strawberry jam and goat’s cheese but feel free to eat it with anything you like.

Last but not least, let my say thank you to Jenna for this amazing recipe. She is a genious and I love her blog.


Oat and Spelt Breakfast Bread
(Inspired by Jenna Weber)

(makes one loaf)

370g spelt flour (type 630)
48g rolled oats
14g sugar
8g salt
7g active dry yeast (1 package)
1 1/3 cups (330ml)water, luke warm
15g (vegan) butter, at room temperature

In a small bowl mix water and active dry yeast. Let sit on the counter for a few minutes until the mixture gets bubbly.

In a larger bowl mix flour, oats, sugar and salt. Add water-yeast mixture and knead with a handmixer (dough hooks!) for 10 minutes on high speed. I do not recommend to knead by hand, since the dough is very sticky! At the end of the kneading time, the dough should be less sticky and smooth. Cover the bowl with a table cloth and let sit in a warm place for 45 minutes or until the dough has about doubled in size.

When the dough has doubled, put it on a slightly floured surface and sprinkle with additional oats (as many as you like). Slightly roll the dough to make the oats stick to the dough slightly. Add the dough into a greased  loaf pan. Cover with a table cloth and let sit in a warm spot for 15 minutes.

In the meantime preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
After 15 minutes add bread to the oven ande reduce heat to 175°C. Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown. And crunchy. Do not open the oven while the bread is still baking.
Remove the bread from the pan and let cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing.

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