Thanksgiving–The Bread

Bread_24Nov11_DSCF0903I made one of my best and worst breads for Thanksgiving.  A sweet(ish) buttermilk bread, it sounded like a good fit for what was on the Thanksgiving menu.  The dough was a bit stiff, but rose well and was very light after it relaxed a bit.  Cooking was simple.  I formed non-uniform balls and placed them in two buttered spring form cake pans and a large buttered roasting pan. The breads were brushed with an egg wash, dusted with oat bran, and cooked in a 400 degree oven until done (internal temp of 185). 

So, what was bad?  They were very, very tough and dry when cool.  They were basically inedible unless you were starving.  I put some gravy on mine during dinner, and it was still not a pleasant experience.

What was good?  Toasted, these things were wonderful.  Not the best toasting bread I have made, but in the top two or three at least.  Put a bit of butter on them, or toast and soak in some of my home made canned chili, and they are superb.  The crust is nice and crunchy when toasted, and the crumb is wonderfully light.  There is a slight buttery taste also, which is probably due to using high quality cultured Bulgarian buttermilk, as there is no other fat in the bread.

I will make these again, but will definitely mess with the ingredients a bit to produce a different crumb.

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The recipe:

6 1/2 or so cups unbleached flour
1/2 tablespoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
2 cups buttermilk – I used a very thick cultured Bulgarian buttermilk
1 tablespoon honey

Proof yeast in 1/4 cup want water and a table spoon of flour.

Mix everything and knead until it passes windowpane test.  Rise once, gently form into balls and place in buttered pan, let rise again.  Brush with egg wash and sprinkle some stuff on them.  Bake at 400 degrees until done, which should be about 30 minutes, or an internal temp of about 185.  180 F may be sufficient for this bread, and I may stop there next time.  I may also bake at a lower temperature next time also. 

If you have not measured the internal temper, you use an instant read thermometer. Please do not use a thermometer you leave in the bread – it will not work  and will ruin the part of the bread it is stuck in.  Using the internal temperature takes the guess work out of the “does the thump should hollow” doneness test, which I have failed at a time or two.

Cake and ice cream:

Eggless-Milkless-Butterless Cake and Butter Pecan Ice Cream – recipes will never be posted, but here is a picture of the two together along with a rustic formed Pecan Pie:

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Good cooking day overall.

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