Monday, April 15, 2013

Fluffy Sandwich/Snacking Bread (Vegan actually) - for your tax day woes

Happy Tax Day, Pay Day and Spring Turkey Season Opening Day!

So we are back to the bread, yes I love my homemade bread. Of course this time it was not an attempt at my favorite sandwich shops bread. Of course, I still wish I knew the recipe. If only I could bribe the man that owns the place. Maybe with my super secret Gooey Butter Cupcake recipe. Who knows, I probably won't ever find it or figure it out just on the basis that I'm not a food chemist, of course I'm sure I could buy the bread and find a laboratory to break it down for me, I do know people that probably know people who could get this done.

Who knows.

I digress - back to fluffy sandwich bread, or in my case, snack bread. I really should go out and buy a full size loaf pan. I had one that my mother had given me but the coating was flaking off and causing my bread to have flecks of non stick goodness ick on them. Not cool, not cool at all. So I even tried using foil and anything else I could to line the pan - honestly if it's not needed it's a pain.

So, I tossed the pan, I shall buy a new one sometime. But I had to buy running shoes first and so I did.

This bread was appealing in the fact that the ingredient list is not terribly long and the process is straight forward. I also liked that it had oats in it instead of just flour. This recipe also does not require that you use bread flour. SCORE!!

I would love to be able to spend all my money buying different flours and spices and doo-dads for the kitchen but alas, I'm not a millionaire. Probably never will be, working on it. Of course I doubt that I will ever be famous either - not that I want to be, I really to like my privacy and I just can't see paparazzi swarming to my humble one bedroom brownstone apartment in the suburbs of Kansas. Just doesn't seem to fit the area. So I will work hard and live happy.

Speaking of happy, this weekend was one of those, how Mike and I say, "off" weekends. A weekend where we do not see each other. Of course there are many reasons to why this weekend was that way. 1. He has Spring turkey season starting today. 2. I had a race this weekend, Color Me Rad 5k for Special Olympics. 3. I had a family friend coming to my home town, and I have to see her when I can, she lives in Minnesota.

So 9 AM I was off running a 5k by myself, because my friends don't seem to like to run races. Even fun ones where you get pelted with colored powder and sprayed with colored liquid, which is sooooo not cool on a 35 degree morning. But I have done worse on a 35 degree morning, like plunge myself through a giant mud pit. 

I took the shirt off after the race and found that my stomach looked as if I had been beaten with a baseball bat, it took a shower and a washcloth of rubbing alcohol to get all the color staining off my legs, stomach and armpit. Yes in my armpit, on my left side because that's mostly where the color hit. Left lane was for the faster folks like me. 

Even though the race wasn't time I ran it in about 27 minutes, would have been faster if I had not had to wade through about 300 people to finally get to the starting line itself. Then dodging people who thought they were fast but weren't. I felt like a super fast runner with all the people I was passing, but in reality I know I'm around average when it comes to time. 

So back to bread right? I'm sure you really don't care about my running.

So this bread, starts off like any other bread. Flour, yeast, salt, water, oats, oil, and a touch of sugar.

Bring it all together in the mixer until you get a dough to come together, or in my case, cling to the hook.

Then you have to let this baby rise - twice. The recipe gave a trick to this, turn your oven to 400 degrees F for about 2 minutes. Then turn off. Stick your dough in, covered with plastic wrap in your greased bowl and let rise for about 1 - 1 1/2 hours until doubled. Then you take it out, knead it again and then repeat this for 1 hour.

Then you bake this loveliness. And it comes out with a beautiful golden crust and a soft texture. It's marvelous. The brown sugar just accents the bread perfectly.

I turned this into about 10 servings, I'm sure in an actual loaf pan it would be more like 12. But seeing as I'm the odd ball, I used a 10 inch cake pan, much like I do for corn bread, and baked. Turned out great for what I do since sandwiches are not something I'm totally keen on every day. I like them but I generally don't make a lot of them at home actually. Strange since it's such an easy meal. Oh well, I would just as soon eat bread toasted with a little butter or fresh out of the oven with a little jam.

Soft and Fluffy Sandwich Bread (Vegan) - From Averie Cooks
Prep Time: 15 min          Cook Time: 30 min          Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Makes: One 8x4-inch loaf pan

1 cup boiling water
1 cup old-fashioned whole rolled oats (not quick or instant)
2 cups all-purpose flour (bread flour may be used and will create a heartier, chewier bread)
1/4 cup water (from tap, not hot, not cold)
2 to 3 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil (I used 2 myself)
2 Tbsp light brown sugar, packed
2 1/3 tsp instant dry yeast (one 1/4 oz package - Averie and I both use Red Star Platinum)
pinch of salt, optional and to taste

1. In a small bowl, pour boiling water over oatmeal, stir to combine. Set aside and let cool until temperature reaches around 130 degrees F, about 15 minutes. (The yeast Averie and I use necessitates this temperature; allow mixture to cool to the 100 degree F range for other types of instant dry yeast, or to package directions)

2. To the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook, (or a large mixing bowl and knead by hand for about 10 minutes) combine flour, 1/4 cup water, oil, brown sugar, yeast, and cooled oatmeal. Knead 5 to 7 minutes on low speed, or until a moist, shaggy dough forms. The dough is fairly moist and sticky, but resist adding additional flour, unless it's so moist that it won't combine. Conversely, if it is too dry, add up to 1/4 cup water. Erring on the side of too moist is always preferable to dry in bread making.

3. After kneading, turn the dough out into a large, greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 90 minutes, or until doubled in size. Create a warm environment by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F for 1 to 2 minutes, then shutting off. This creates a 90 degree F -ish warm spot. Slide the bowl in and wait while the yeast works. Just make sure your oven is off.

4. After the dough has doubled, punch it down, turn it out onto a floured surface, or silpat and knead it for about 3 minutes. With your fingers, shape it into a 10-inch by 6-inch rectangle, just eyeball it. The long side should be slightly longer than the baking pan. Then, fold the short sides in so that the dough is about 8 inches in length. Roll to form a tight cylinder. There's not much to roll, about 3 turns. Optionally, when rolling, sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger. Or go savory with dill, chives or thyme.

5. Spray an 8x4-inch loaf pan with floured cooking spray, or spray with non-stick spray and add flour to pan and shake out extra, and place the cylinder in the pan, seam side down. Cover with plastic wrap, and allow dough to rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled, about 60 to 75 minutes.

6. In the last minutes of rising, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until domed, golden, and puffy. When tapped, it should sound hollow. The internal temperature should reach 210 degrees F. Let bread cool in pan for 5 to 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing (of course if your name is Sarah or Mike, you can't help but eat bread when it's fresh out of the oven with some delicious butter.)

Store bread by wrapping in plastic wrap, be sure the bread is completely cooled. Then place in a zip lock bag and it will keep fresh for 5 days. Bread freezes well and can be stored similarly in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Now go out and cook and bake. Have to cook something to eat with this bread. Like eggs and bacon.