February 23, 2013

In Search of the Perfect Loaf #4

The saga continues. My last bread making attempt was a disaster. The whole darned loaf ended up in the trash. My aim is to end up with a loaf that has as much whole wheat flour as I can get into it. I researched bread making a little more last week and came across this Bread Experiment. The author is a registered dietitian and  experimented with increasing proportions of whole wheat flour in all-purpose flour and made 5 different loafs. Being a scientist myself this approach made sense to me and I was all set to attempt it when I realized that my food scale is not precise to measure to the gram, or even to the 10 grams. So I've put this experiment on the back burner and will return to it soon. Meanwhile, here's the recipe I attempted today. It is a variation of an earlier attempt, without the oats, sunflower seeds or maple syrup. The boys don't like seeds/nuts and so I decided to skip those. Since my pan is non-stick, I didn't think I needed to use apple sauce to replace oil which I've seen in the original recipe. 

Still a little dense, but pretty good overall!
Prep Time: 10 min + ~3.5 hours in a bread machine

Ingredients: (8 servings/slices):
  1. 1 cup + 3 tbsp water
  2. 3 cups All-purpose White Flour
  3. 2 tbsp Chia Seeds
  4. 1/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar
  5. 1.25 tsp Sea Salt
  6. 2.25 tsp Active Dry Yeast
Place all ingredients in the order they are listed into the baking pan of your bread machine. Start the machine using the menu selection for Basic White Bread. I had initially added only 1 cup water but the dough looked and felt a little hard so I added more water, one tbsp at a time, until I felt the right springy consistency to the dough and it didn't feel too dry. I set the crust to dark today. The basic white cycle on my bread machine, lasts about 3.5 hours. When the kneading was done, I could not even see the ball of dough from the top, without peering straight into the machine from the top. It was bigger than a baseball, but much smaller than a softball when it was done kneading.

Here's what the dough ball looked like after 1 hour of rising (about 3x its original size).

Here's what it looked like after another 40 minutes of rising - it grew at least another 2x at least.

And here's what it looked like just a few minutes before the cycle was completed.

I removed the bread from the pan onto a baking rack and allowed it to stand for only 5 minutes before slicing/cutting into the loaf. We were starving :)

My Assessment: It was pretty good. We ate almost all of it with dinner tonight. For being white bread, it was still pretty dense and I wonder if that had something to do with (a) Chia seeds or (b) brown sugar. It got a lot of rise and the original smaller than a softball size dough ball rose to be at least 4-5 times its original size.  I guess my experiments will have to go back to basic white bread (with no chia and no brown sugar) to see how fluffy I can make that, before I start adding seeds and whole wheat flour.  

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving): Calories 209 (Fat Calories 16)
Total Fat 1.8 g; Carbohydrates 42.1 g; Dietary Fiber 2.8 g; Sugars 4.5 g; Protein 6.0 g

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