Friday, June 22, 2012

New and Improved How to Make Bread for a Crowd

My last post talked about bread making, but I realized did not give very good job of actually describing "how to make bread for a crowd", though it did have some lovely pictures of Shaun kneading bread with his feet (which is the key). I figured most people only want to make one or two loaves at a time, but just in case... I spoke with Andrea, the farmer at Kings Valley Gardens, about posting her recipe on my blog and she was OK with it (she's awesome). So here it is:

Basic Whole Wheat Bread
Makes about 10 loaves

5 cups luke warm water (about the 103 degrees, or baby's bath water)
1/4 cup active fry yeast
5 Tbsp Sugar

Combine above ingredients in a medium sized bowl, cover with a towel and allow to sit for 10 minutes in a warm spot. We leave ours in the hoop house, but you could also set it beside a heater, or just turn the oven on for a couple of minutes (2) and then turn it off. This is the "proof"

After you have your proof combine the following ingredients in a large, clean container (we used a 5 gallon bucket)

1 cup sugar
10 cups lukewarm water
1 cup canola oil
3 Tbsp salt
1 quart millet
1 quart buckwheat
1 quart sunflower seeds
the "proof"

Once you have mixed the above ingredients begin adding 26 to 32 cups of flour. Add the flour a couple of cups at a time and mix until it is combined. It is helpful to have one person mixing and one person adding flour as you eventually have to use your hands to mix and they will quickly become covered in dough. When you can no longer stir the additional flour in with a spoon, begin using your hands to incorporate it. You want the dough to reach a consistency where it no longer seems wet and does not cling to your hands as readily.

Turn the dough onto a clean lightly floured board and knead (with your feet!) for 15 minutes. To knead with your feet it is helpful to have someone help you. First, wash your feet very well. Second stomp the dough out until it is flat. The person helping should then fold it back into a tight square and you can stomp it down again. Repeat for 15 minutes.

Coat the bucket, or other large container, with oil and place the dough back in it. The person with clean feet should stomp the dough down in the bucket for a minute or so. Cover the bucket with a towel and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (about an hour).

Dump the dough back onto the clean, floured board (add some more flour) and begin cutting off chunks that are about the size of a loaf of bread. Knead each chunk for a couple of minutes and then shape it into a loaf. Place each "loaf" into a greased loaf pan, or if you are making round loaves, onto a greased cookie tray. Place all of the loaves (about 10) into the oven and turn it on warm for 2 minutes then turn the oven off. Allow the bread to rise for about 30 minutes and then...

Turn the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. You may want to switch the loaves between the bottom and top racks about half way through.

At Kings Valley Gardens 10 loaves of bread seems to last for two weeks to a month (depending on how many WWOOFers are here and how much they like bread). We freeze the bread in two layers of plastic (trash can bags work well) and then take a loaf out to thaw when we are running low. Fresh bread goes bad kind of quickly in my experience so it is important to eat it quickly (and usually not that difficult)

mmm, I can actually smell fresh bread baking right now! and it is one of the most wonderful scents in the world.

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