Thursday, February 18, 2016
SHREDDED WHEAT MOLASSES BREAD
As you regular readers probably know, making bread is one of my favorite things to do in my kitchen. It's relaxation for me.....I just love every part of it from the kneading by hand to the shaping of the loaves or rolls, right down to the baking. Somehow that bread baking aroma beats any expensive perfume in my book. I wish someone could bottle that scent and sell it as room spray. Bread baking in the oven just makes the house smell like home to me. It brings me back to when my Nana would make homemade rolls. My neighbor and I couldn't WAIT to have one of those rolls warm from the oven with melted butter-they were SO good.
I don't buy bread when I grocery shop any more-I prefer to make it. I set aside a day and make a few loaves, then package the finished bread up into 4 slice packets and tuck them in the freezer. Homemade bread doesn't last like store bought bread without all those preservatives, so this method gives us just enough to use for what we need. I do like to vary the kinds of bread I make-I'm all about trying a new recipe for bread that would be perfect for sandwiches or a sweeter loaf that would be perfect toasted for breakfast.
I don't eat shredded wheat as cereal-my Dad used to...with boiling water.....no thank you. I've been wanting to try making Shredded Wheat Bread for a long time. I had it years ago and loved the stuff. I finally remembered to buy the cereal, so all I needed to do was to find a good sounding recipe. That gave me a good excuse to go rummaging through my collection of bread books. There it was....the perfect sounding recipe to try.
This bread goes together in no time at all. The first time I made it, I used butter flavored vegetable shortening in it, the second time I used butter....both gave me fantastic results. I don't even use my mixer when I make this. I have a Danish Dough Whisk that does a slick job when mixing bread dough. I saw it on the King Arthur Video in the series of videos about bread making (one of the links is below in the recipe) and when I saw how slick it worked, I invested in one. Best 10 bucks I've spent in a long time-the tool has already paid for itself. By all means, go ahead and use a stand mixer and dough hook to make this bread, if you prefer.
I usually bake this bread in two 9x5 inch bread pans. They yield nice size loaves. Years ago, I saw a set of loaf pans at, of ALL places, Publisher's Clearing House, that were sizes of which I'd not seen anywhere before, so I ordered them. The largest one is an odd size....about 12x8x3. I used it the last time I made this bread to make one big loaf...and when I say big I MEAN big! Naturally, it took longer to bake and produced a beautiful loaf of bread that was so big it wouldn't fit into my bread slicing guide-YIKES! I had to try getting even slices by hand with my electric knife. THAT was a trip...some didn't look too bad-others-not so much. Needless to say I think I'll stick with the 9x5 inch pans. I really do like using my slicing guide. :)
I can't say enough good things about this bread. If you're looking for a heavy sort of traditional whole wheat bread, this one isn't for you. This bread is soft and light with a fine crumb. The molasses adds a subtle sweetness while the shredded wheat cereal gives you a slight "whole wheat" taste. I absolutely LOVE a slice toasted. Bob likes taking a half sandwich with a cup of soup to work and said this bread actually fills him up where store bought bread usually doesn't-he would be taking a whole sandwich if he used that.
Shredded Wheat Molasses Bread is a favorite in this house. If you love making bread, I hope you'll give this a try-maybe it will become a keeper in your house too.
SHREDDED WHEAT MOLASSES BREAD
Source:slightly adapted from Judy Gorman's Breads of New England cookbook
3 shredded wheat biscuits
1 3/4 c. boiling water
1/3 c. molasses
3 Tbsp. butter OR vegetable shortening (regular or butter flavored)
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 c. milk
1 (1/4 oz.) pkg. active dry yeast dissolved in 1/4 c. warm water (100-110 degrees) with a pinch of granulated sugar added
5 1/4-6 c. bread flour
1/2-1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, for brushing over top crust of breads after baking (optional)
Crumble the shredded wheat biscuits into a large mixing bowl. Pour the boiling water over the top of the cereal. Stir in the molasses, butter, sugar and salt. Mix well. Stir in the milk and let the mixture stand until it's barely warm to the touch.
Add the dissolved yeast and 2 cups of the bread flour. Stir with a wooden spoon or Danish dough whisk until the batter is smooth. Gradually stir in enough of the remaining flour until a soft dough forms that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. I measure out the full amount of flour called for in the recipe and set it aside in a bowl. That's what I use to stir into the dough, then knead and shape the rolls. I usually have flour left over.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead in as much of the remaining flour as necessary to make a soft, elastic dough that isn't sticky and springs back when lightly touched. This takes me about 8-10 minutes. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, turning to grease the top of the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a linen kitchen towel and set it aside in a draft-free warm place to rise until the dough is doubled, about 45-60 minutes.
Grease (2) 9x5-inch loaf pans.
Gently punch down the dough while it's in the bowl, turn it onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it in half. Pat one half of the dough into a rectangular shape. Fold one short end of the dough toward the center and gently press the seam with the side of your hand. Repeat with the other short side of the dough, bringing the short side to the center and pressing. Fold the dough in half and lightly press, then press each end of the dough and tuck them under. Place the dough, seam side down, into the prepared pan and gently press down the dough with your hand to make it even all the way across. A great video from King Arthur Flour that takes you step by step through the process can be found HERE.
Repeat with the remaining half of the dough.
Cover the pans lightly with plastic wrap or a linen kitchen towel and let the dough rise until you see it start to rise a little above the rim of the pan-don't let it go more than 1" above the edge or it will collapse on you when it bakes.
When the dough has almost finished rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. I usually start the oven when I see the dough almost to the top edge of the bread pan.
Uncover the pans and bake @ 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until the bread is light golden brown and the bottom of each loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
If desired, brush a little melted butter over the top crust of the each loaf of bread until it's lightly coated-you might not need all of what you melted for this.
Remove from the pan to a wire rack and cool completely before slicing. Makes (2) 9x5-inch loaves, about 16 slices each.
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