I’m not the most social butterfly out there. I can be a bit of a hermit, preferring to stay at home and feed my children or sew. But sometimes I branch out. My friend Deborah was in from Texas last week and I decided to host a brunch for my group of girlfriends. It’s only 4 of us so it really wasn’t a big deal. And Brad was kind enough to take one child off my hands so it was a relatively relaxing morning!
It was a lovely day and since my scrapbooking junk was all over the dining room table, I decided to set up outside on the patio.
Elise brought baked oatmeal. I made baked eggs (I’ll have to work on that recipe…they have potential to be really tasty but I over-baked them!) and toast (recipe below!), blueberry muffins (I forgot to photograph these babies…I’ll make them again), and fruit salad. The food was great.
Now that toast I mentioned above. I must say, I am infatuated with my new bread recipe. And the girls thought the toast was awesome, too. It’s the only food we all kept going back and snitching. That could be because I put a generous portion of butter on each slice. It probably had nothing to do with the flavor of the bread. But I’m choosing to think it did.
It’s truly puffy. Sooo soft and light.
Adapted from The Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book, page 188
1 1/2 cups (12 oz) cottage cheese
1/2 cup (4 oz) milk
1/4 cup (3 oz) honey
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup (4 oz) warm water
4 t yeast
3 cups (13 1/2 oz) sprouted whole wheat bread flour
about 3 cups (15 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
3 T gluten
1 1/2 t salt
2 T softened butter
Heat the cottage cheese and milk until just a tiny bit bubbly. Let cool a bit. Stir in the honey and temper the eggs with the warm mixture. Pour into a big bowl.
Mix the yeast and warm water. Let sit a few minutes to get bubbly. When the cottage cheese mixture is no more than 120 degrees, stir the yeast mixture into it. Add the whole wheat flour and most of the white flour, reserving a bit of that for only if needed. Also add the gluten and salt. Knead this well, adding more white flour if necessary, until it’s good and smooth, at least 10 minutes. Then, smear the softened butter on the dough and knead that in as well. It will be very greasy at first but it will eventually work in.
Place the dough in a big bowl and cover with a towel or shower cap. I prefer the latter. Keeps out draft better.
Anyway, let the dough rise until doubled, gently punch it down, and let it rise again. After the second rising, form the loaves. I made two 8 x 4-inch loaves and they rose quite high. I prefer my bread loaves a little smaller so I might make 3 next time.
Cover the loaves and let them rise until a little more than doubled in volume. Stick them in a preheated 350 degree for about 35 minutes or until nicely golden and and hollow sounding when tapped on the bottom. Remove from the pans and cool on a wire rack. Laurel’s Kitchen says to let this bread cool completely before slicing or it will squash. I’d believe them. It’s so light!
Yield: 2 large loaves or 3 medium