Monday, February 19, 2007

Everyday Bread

Recently my husband and I had a dreadful experience in the bread aisle of the supermarket. We were looking for a loaf of bread to take to my son's house. My requirements for the bread was that it should be baked as locally as possible, and should list whole grains as far up the ingredient list as possible. A lesser requirement was that it should not horribly offend my son and his wife, who like white sandwich bread. While reading the ingredients, we found out that every loaf of bread contained High Fructose Corn Syrup.
This was a shock to me, since I try to avoid HFCS. I guess it is used in baked products to create a loaf that stays moister, longer. I've read information both pro and con HFCS, and I'm not interested in promoting or prohibiting it's use. However, I decided to take the same approach to HFCS as I do with margarine- I don't want to eat anything that is made with ingredients that don't occur naturally. I feel that our bodies have evolved over the years to digest certain things, and most of those things don't come from a laboratory.

Having taken that stand, I have been looking for a good all purpose yeast bread recipe. (In a perfect world, I would make all the bread we eat, but in reality, at this point I only make rolls and pizza crusts; I haven't yet figured out how to slice home-made bread to make nice sandwiches and toast. If my husband would build me some sort of device to help slice the bread uniformly, we'd be on the way!)

This recipe may not be the ultimate perfect bread recipe, but it is pretty close. It is not a high rising bread, but has a lovely texture. I adapted it from a recipe in The Bread Machine Cookbook, by Donna Rathmell German. The original recipe calls for sour cream- I have substituted non fat plain yogurt. I've also changed the flours since I like to add oatmeal to as many baked goods as I can; the original recipe called for white bread flour.

We had these rolls for dinner last night, along with lamb chops, baked butternut squash, and apple slices with cinnamon.

Yogurt Bread
1 TBS yeast
3 TBS water
1 and 1/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt
2/3 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 TBS sugar *

1 cup rolled oats (or oat bran)
1 and 1/3 cup whole wheat flour**
1 cup unbleached bread flour.

If using a bread machine, follow the machine instructions. I like to use the dough cycle and then remove the dough for pizza or rolls. I discovered a really nice way to pre-make individual pizza shells is to pat them out and then cook them on the griddle, like pancakes. I've never made this without a bread machine, so I can't offer steps for doing that.

*I use Sucanat, because it is less refined than other sugars. Whether or not it is better than refined sugar, I don't know. Somewhere I read that it had a lower glycemic index that refined white sugar, but I can't find the reference now.

**I like to use white whole wheat flour, made from hard white wheat instead of hard red wheat. Sometimes red wheat has a slightly bitter taste that I don't care for.

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