Laments of the Organic Bread Baking Biz

Laments in order of current thought progression:

1) Organic baking ingredients are difficult to come by in a small town.

2) Baking bread takes a minimum of 4 hours from measuring the flour to bagging a cooled loaf.

3) Gluten free Danae cannot partake of the bounty.

Advantages of the Organic Bread Baking Biz:

1) I gorge myself weekly on delicious homemade bread made from ingredients that I trust!

2) My husband’s coworkers are consistently jealous and awed by his daily lunch assortment, often including Organic PB&J on mouth-watering slices of homemade bread.  (This month’s flavor is Nash Brothers Organic Blueberry Jelly found at Bag N Save.  Look for coupons at: www.nashbrotherstrading.com.)

3) My house smells awesome, the day and few days after my bread baking extravaganza.

4) I no longer spend hours standing in the bread aisle at the supermarket reading ingredient labels.

How am I able to accomplish such a task? Well, let me tell you all about it.

Firstly, I must purchase organic ingredients, some at Harvest Health on 6th Street in York, some I find in Lincoln, and some I order online from Azure Standard.

Secondly, I put all the ingredients together, mush them around, and cook it.

Thirdly, eat and enjoy.  Fairly simply, yes?

If you would like to keep reading, here is the story in picture form:

First I clean my kitchen. I choose to never begin baking without a clean kitchen.

I mix together some dry ingredients:

2 Cups Bob’s Red Mill Organic White Flour

1 Cup Bob’s Red Mill Wheat Germ

1/2 Cup Organic Rolled Oats

1/4 Cup Organic Instant Non-Fat Dry Milk

1/4 Bob’s Red Mill Wheat Bran

5 tsp Active Dry Yeast

4 Tbsp Organic Cane Sugar (Or Organic Maple Syrup, mmm)

1 tsp Sea Salt

When the dry ingredients are mixed I add:

2 1/4 Cups HOT water

1/4 Cup Organic Sunflower Oil (or any kind of oil)

Mix at medium speed for 2 minutes, add:

1 Cage-free organic egg

1 Cup white flour

Mix on high for one minute

Then I switch my batter mixer out for the dough hook and slowly add:

2 more cups of white flour, and 1 cup of wheat flour

As the hook kneads the dough I end up adding about another cup of flour. When it gets doughy, I dump it out and knead for about 10 minutes… I don’t really have a system. I just kinda knead til I’m bored with it. Some people say you can tell when the dough is ready. I haven’t really been able to tell. So I just knead for a while. When you think you’ve kneaded enough and you’re needing to stop kneading, then knead some more. You need to knead for quite some time to have the yummiest of breads.  Btw, if you’re short like me, then get yourself a stool to stand on. Your kneading counter should be waist-high so you can really get your back into it.

Now comes the fun part. Smush it all out like you’re making biscuits, then fold the edges in around the circle–like curling in flower petals. Go around again, pulling in the dough.

Pick up the dough, flip it upside down, so the smooth side is facing you. Rock it back and forth in your hands pulling the smooth side tighter. As you tighten the top dough, just keep tucking it up under the ball. This is called Rounding the Dough. I think. I don’t suppose it’s super important, but it allows the dough to rise evenly and eagerly.

Dust your counter with flour, and put a big bowl on top. Isn’t she a cute ball of dough?

Leave her for about 20-30. My clue is when she’s huge enough to stick to the bowl all the way around. And this is a big bowl, mind you.  While she was sleeping I sliced up some organic oranges to dehydrate. Like so:

I was planning to simply do something crafty with them because they’re so pretty. But they turned out to be really yummy. So I ate them instead.

Wow! Look how big that dough is!

Gently roll her out. Knead the air out. Since I was making 5 baby loaves, I cut her into 5 sections. But she will make two big loaves or three mostly big loaves.

I oil my pan with coconut oil. Roll out the dough.

Fold up one side. So she’s frowning at you.

Fold in the edges.

Roll the dough!

Place dough seam down in pan. Slice the top if you care to. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.

Cover with a light damp cloth. Let rise for 45-60 minutes or until she looks good. If you let the dough rise too long then she might sink in the oven, and that’s no good. When she’s done rising, you should be able to poke her and she won’t bounce back up.  Bake at 400* for 20 minutes. When you knock on the crust she should sound hollow.

I regret that I was so excited to eat this lovely loaf that I neglected to take a picture. Your loss really, because eating her is much better than looking at her.  With that, thanks for reading!

I’ll be selling these beauties at the Farmer’s Market in York, Thursday’s 5-7.

See ya ’round,

Tasha