Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Organic Cooking: Fresh Raw Milk Bread

Of the several yeast bread recipes I've tried out over the past two weeks, this recipe from the Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book has been the biggest success. It's not as time intensive as some of the other recipes out there, and the results are wonderful. Best of all, it's designed around fresh raw milk, and you know where you can get that!

Fresh Raw Milk Bread

2 cups fresh whole milk, preferably raw milk
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
6 cups fresh ground whole wheat flour
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup more water
2 tablespoons cool butter

1. Scald the milk and cool to lukewarm. Stir the honey into the milk.
2. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water.
3. Measure the flour and salt into a large bowl and stir lightly. Make a well in the flour and pour the milk and the dissolved yeast into it. Stir from the center outward until all the flour is mixed in.
4. Knead vigorously for about 15 minutes. Use the extra water if necessary to keep your hands from sticking to the dough or directly to the dough until you have a soft, elastic dough.
5. Knead in the butter in bits, continuing to work the dough until it is silky.
6. Form the dough into a ball and place it smooth side up in the bowl. Cover and keep in a warm draft-free place for about an hour and a half. After the time is up, gently poke your finger about half an inch into the dough. If the hole doesn't fill in at all or the dough sighs, go on to the next step.
7. Press the dough flat, form into a smooth round, and let the dough rise once more as before, but this time only for half as long.
8. After the second rising, press the dough flat and divide it in two. Round each piece and let the dough relax, covered, for about 10 minutes (this keeps the gluten from breaking down too much).
9. Deflate the rounds and press flat to about one inch, then fold over slowly, pressing gently to remove air bubbles, and fold over again twice gradually shaping a loaf (the book has detailed drawings showing how to shape a loaf - we may need some pictures of this step for a future post!).
10. Place the loaves in greased loaf pans and let rise in a wam place until dough slowly returns a gently made fingerprint. The loaves should arch up over the pans, but not be falling out of the pan.
11. Place the loaves in an oven preheated to 350 degrees. After 15 minutes reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and continue to cook another 35 to 45 minutes.
12. Allow the bread to cool before you slice it.

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