I have been taking a bit of a break from blogging the last few months, as I was working long exhausting hours in the restaurant and tied up completely with that part of my life. Catering large events during the Holiday season was brutal. I was spending my day with what I call, "froofie food"...You know...tiny fancy nibbles of heaven. Elegant, but not satisfying in the whole soul kind of way.
Don't get me wrong, the fabulous stuff definitely has a place.
I left the Bistro and Catering Kitchen.
I'm looking for something more balanced. I'm nervous about that. Simply because I've given so much of my heart and time to that dream, that I haven't thought of anything else.
In the last six months, I had completely stopped cooking dinner at home and baking bread was something I did at work. Usually I'd get home and simply collapse into bed, only to get up and repeat that scenario the following day. Physical exhaustion had stripped me of passion, and emotional distress had numbed me. I was giving so much to build someone else's business, that I felt like I was suffocating. I needed to spend more time with my family, and find some much needed rest. Everything hurt. I was so tired that part of me wanted to leave the food industry forever and never look back.
That being said, the part of me that will forever be passionate about food has won out. I'm just getting back to the basics of my life and simple truths are finding their way back to my everyday existence. This week has been remarkable.
So this week, I pulled out the flour. I opened up the 6 grain rolled cereal. I took off my chef coat and my meat thermometer and I just took time to remember what I loved about baking. In doing that, I've found the reason why I started baking in the first place. The simple, grounding, almost meditative reason why I started baking. It is the gentle rhythm that a fast paced stress-filled kitchen had taken away from me. This wad of fermenting dough has been sitting on my kitchen table in a bowl all week. I've baked 12 loaves of bread for my family. The smell has grounded me. The calm pace has lifted me.
The gasps of love and awe from my kids and husband when I pulled the bread from the oven was far more gratifying than all the pomp and circumstance that clamoring guests and customers could ever offer.
I'm not sure what is ahead for me as far as my career goes. I still need a job. That's for sure. I'm taking it one day at a time and I'm okay with that. I've sent out my resume to everyone I can think of over the last couple of days. Mostly however, I've just been satisfied to be home for a little while and bask in the warmth of my family. I am trusting that the Lord will hold us in His hands.
So...here's the recipe for the bread. Enjoy. It's a classic. It is one that I used countless times in the restaurant and that has now found it's way home...Just like me. I'm so glad.
My No Knead 5 Ingredient 6-Grain Bread
yield: 2 loaves
- 6 cups bread flour (measure exactly with a knife)
- 1 cup 6 Grain Rolled cereal OR Rolled Oats
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp instant yeast (or 1/2 tsp active dry yeast)
- 3 1/4 cup water (under 110 degrees)
Once it has raised overnight you have two options:
Option 1:Form into bread (or rolls, cinnamon rolls, whatever), raise and bake (see below).
Option 2: Dough can be kept in the fridge up to 7 days and warmed to room temperature to use for bread or pizza etc. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to get it up to room temperature (70 degrees).
- Form into 2 loaves (see detailed tutorial here) and place on a lightly oiled baking stone or in an 8 inch loaf pan that has been greased.
- Allow to raise in a warm room until doubled, about 2 hours.
- Bake at 375 degrees 35-40 minutes (meat thermometer will register 165 degrees or more).
There you go! Enjoy a simple way to make bread! For my gluten free bread that is quick and whole grain delicious...go here. It is just as quick and gets rave reviews! My other favorite no knead bread is Lisa's No Knead White Chocolate Pecan Bread. It is to die for.
A few factors on the overnight no-knead bread that can have an effect on the lightness of the bread would be:
Temperature: raising the bread during the winter months will take up to an hour longer for the second raise in the pan because our houses are cooler now. If you're like me, we keep it around 70 during the winter and a good ten degrees colder inside will make a difference in how fast it raises....exponentially. Solution would be to turn on the oven to "warm". Place the dough that is in the loaf (ready to bake) in the oven, covering it with a mist of water. TURN OFF THE OVEN. It should raise in an oven around 100 degrees or less so don't leave it on! Once it has risen, pull the loaf out of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 and then proceed to bake.
Loaf formation: The molding technique Chef Tess Bakeresse: Sandwhich Loaf Molding and baking is a factor in how well the loaf will raise because it is optimal in trapping the air produced by the yeast. The more air that is trapped inside the loaf, the lighter the final loaf will be.
Freshness of the yeast and type of yeast: It is always a good idea to check the freshness of the yeast as well. If you are using the regular active dry yeast, 1/2 tsp is the correct measure but if it is older, it will take more (up to 1 tsp). One may add up to 1/4 cup of sugar or honey to the recipe to help get the yeast active if there is still a problem (especially during the winter months).
Type and mill of Flour: Finer milled Higher protein white wheat bread flour, Kamut flour or Hard Red wheat flours are the best for this recipe. If you use whole wheat flour, you must increase the water to 4 cups, especially with the rolled oats or 6 grains. These flours have a stronger amount of protein and will always yield a higher loaf. The finer ground the flour, the better the gluten development will be. Large pieces of fiber in the flour will cut the strands of gluten, and shorter strands of gluten will not connect well enough to hold air in the loaf.
Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess