Friday, December 31, 2010

Baby it's Cold Out There so Warm up With Fresh Baked Bread!

How do you warm up your house when there is a -34 celsius wind chill keeping the temperature down?  You huddle in the Little Kitchen with the oven on baking bread, that's how!  My son and I are both on holidays until the next week.  He has been working his way through a couple of novels for his English class ("To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, "April Raintree" by Beatrice Culleton, and "Day of the Triffids" by John Wyndham.  All great books but he has his work cut out for him.  What better way to take a quick reading break than to punch out or knead some bread dough with your mom?

Figured out the timer on the camera!
It has actually been way too long since the Boy and I have worked in the kitchen together so this was a fun day (Well for me anyway).  I found a recipe for French bread in my "Taste of Home" cookbook.  I think this should perhaps be called White bread baked without a loaf pan.  It was a tasty bread, but not the nice crusty loaf of French bread I was hoping for.  Oh well, c'est la vie!  We still had fun and made some wonderfully fresh bread for our New Year's dinner with our friends.

Oh, and guess what?  We doubled the recipe!!

Bread, Adapted from Taste of Home
  • 4 1/2 tsp dry active yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/ cup oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 5 -6 1/2 cups flour (depends on humidity)
In the bowl of your stand mixer, stir together the yeast, water, sugar, and oil.  Let the mixture get all foamy and lovely.
Measuring the oil

Add 2 cups of flour and the salt.  Mix with the dough hook to get it all combined.

Now start adding the flour one cup at a time.  Keep the machine kneading until the flour is incorporated.

Too sticky!
That's better!

After the 5th cup of flour, test the dough with your fingers.  If it is sticky, add another 1/2 cup of flour and knead until mixed.  The dough should be somewhat stiff but still workable and not sticky.  Knead for 5 minutes with the machine.

Kneading by hand build muscles!
Put the dough on the counter and knead by hand for couple of minutes.

He really liked this part.  (I told him it would help his 'baseball muscles'!
Place the dough ball into an oiled bowl and cover with a clean tea towel for 1 hour, until doubled in size.
So much fun!

Punch the dough down, cover, and let rise for another 1/2 hour.

Divide the dough into 2 equal parts.  Shape into two oval loaf shapes.

Place on a lined baking sheet, cover with a clean tea towel and let rise for a 1/2 hour.

In a small bowl, combine 1 egg white with 1 tsp cold water.  Brush the egg wash over the loaves.  This will give the crust a nice brown colour when baked.

Using a sharp knife, carefull cut some score marks across the top of the loaves.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and baked through.

One happy bread baker!
We actually made a couple of loaves last night as a trial run.  Today we put a small pan of boiling water on the bottom rack of the oven while preheating to up the moisture content in the oven.  The first thing we noticed was a crustier finish on the loaves we baked today.

While the French bread was rising, we also put together a batch of the Honey Seeded Buns, since we were out and to provide some variety for tonight's dinner.

He did a great job weighing out the dough!

A very happy new year to everyone from the Little Kitchen.  May the coming year be filled with family, friends, and food.  All the best!


  1. I love April Raintree, great book. I hope your son enjoys it.
    This bread also looks great, it looks like you had a lot of fun making it.
    Happy New Year!

  2. Thanks for visiting my little site since I brought me over here to this fantastic bread! Wow, it looks great. Since I love cooking with Dudette, I'm sure the two of you had a blast in the kitchen together.

    Tell your son that To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my all-time favorite books though it's a hard read emotionally. Once he's done, the two of you should watch the movie. Gregory Peck is amazing.

    Happy new year!

  3. hi Lori

    I'm not really sure what a -34 degree Celsius is, never been too good at the conversion, I do believe its got to be really really cold!!!
    What better way to warm up the house, then with warm bread and rolls...they do look delicious!


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