Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Little Bitty Bread

Today is World Bread Day and I made the tiniest little loaf to celebrate. This is my first bread of the season, which I always think of as kind of special. I chose a small bread, because I wanted to try something new and only needed a little taste.

I adapted a recipe for Sweet Orange Bread that I found in the bread machine section of Fleischmann's Yeast Best-Ever Breads. It's one of those small paperback cookbooks that I sent away for years ago. It was a very good purchase.

What was very different about adapting this recipe is that I turned it from a bread machine recipe into one that is made by hand. I don't like the idea of bread machines. They take the heart and soul out of bread baking. Bread baking is about connecting with your food. It's about getting your hands in the dough and kneading it. Having to wait for it to rise. Punching it down. Shaping it. Letting it rise again. Then baking it and having that wonderful fresh bread aroma envelop you and linger.

Making bread is about feeling the transformation of flour into dough. I know there's science behind it, but it feels like magic to me every time. Maybe that feeling of magic is the difference between those of us who bake from scratch with no machine and those that don't. I wonder. If there were no magic for me, I don't think it would make a difference either way. Any bread machine supporters out there who beg to differ?

Maybe part of the magic is remembering as a child watching my mother making bread. I was already in awe of her and when I saw that she could transform all these different things into something so good. I was even more in awe. When I discovered that I could do this myself, I loved it immediately. There's also just something wonderful about bread. It has sustained humans for thousands of years. And think of the word companion. It literally means someone with whom you would break bread.

I made several changes to the recipe in terms of ingredients as well, and the next time I'll use a full packet of yeast instead of just one and a half teaspoons. I'll also add a little more orange juice. Here's the recipe. I really like this bread. Enjoy!

Small Orange Honey Bread
Adapted from Fleischmann's Yeast Best-Ever Breads.

1 large egg (beaten)
1/3 cup vanilla rice milk (warm)
1/4 cup honey (warm)
1 T butter (melted)
juice and pulp of one orange
1 1/2 tsp. yeast
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt

In small bowl in microwave, heat milk, honey, and butter until it melts. The liquid should not be too hot, just very warm. Add yeast to warm mixture and use a small whisk to combine. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt. Add yeast mixture to flour. Add orange juice and egg. Mix well with wooden spoon until you can longer stir it. Place dough on a floured surface and knead until very easy to handle. About 10 minutes.

Place dough back in bowl and cover loosely. Let rise for about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down bread and shape into small loaf. Place on greased baking sheet and let rise for about 45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.

** And I have a small request. If any of you could complete a short BlogHerAds survey here, I would really appreciate it. It's the same survey advertised on the upper portion of the left sidebar that says, "If you love this blogger, take this survey." Thank you! **

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Asha said...

I am loving this bread event. Orange and honey sounds yum Anali. Great entry!:))

Tera said...

This reminds me of the bread we made in Spanish class to celebrate El Dia de Los Muertos!

suttonhoo said...

mmmm -- looks so good!

hey -- looks like something's up with the survey link -- it pulls up a "thanks for taking our survey" page, and it's not possible to get to the beginning of the survey. :(

Anali said...

asha - Thanks! Hopefully I'll be in the round up. My entry might have been too late.

tera - Very interesting. Was there a significance to the bread with the holiday?

suttonhoo - Thanks! That's odd about the survey. I'll have to email someone.

Nance said...

I like my bread machine because it allows me to have fresh bread more often. I don't have to have a lot of time set aside, nor do I have to remember to come back and do the punching after the proofing. I can set it and forget it. I can still offer fresh variety breads to my family without being held to my kitchen.

My machine was a gift from my students in my creative writing class one year!

Big Boys Oven said...

such a adorable loaf of bread. although small but it's enough for one!

So Simple said...

I love the sound of that bread Anali...I guess it has a bit of brioche texture with the egg.
Going to make that.

amisha said...

while i definitely agree that making bread by hand has a much more magical feel than the machine, i have to say that the machine is nice in a pinch :) it's quite the treat to wake up to a freshly baked loaf first thing in the morning with the timer function! but for an afternoon when you can do it... well. nothing beats kneading by hand. it truly is wonderful.

Anali said...

nance - Such sweet students!

big boys oven - Thank you! It was gone pretty fast!

so simple - It did have that texture. It was nice and sweet!

amisha - I hadn't thought about the waking up to the bread part! That would be nice. Hmmmm. Something to think about.

Nupur said...

Anali, the "little" bread looks delicious...and the perfect size for my small family! I feel the same way as you about bread machines...recently, a relative offered to buy me a bread machine as a gift, and I literally begged her not to. I don't make bread often, but when I do, I want to make it with my own two hands, and savor the joy of making it.

Lotus Reads said...

I have to agree with you Anali, while the bread maker makes it convenient to bake bread it sure takes the fun out of the process. Also, using your hands to knead the dough is oh so therapeutic!

Anali said...

nupur - Welcome! I'm so glad you liked my mini loaf! ; ) A bread machine is a thoughtful gift, but I would do the same as you!

lotus reads - Kneading dough really helped keep my sanity while I was studying for the Bar Exam. I never baked so much bread!

Chocolate Cardamom Cappuccino said...

Thank you for visiting Chocolate Cardamom Cappuccino
Great bread recipe, as to by hand or machine, my answer is both, fresh home made bread is too adorable to miss.

Anali said...

chocolate cardamom cappucino - Welcome! And I love the name of your blog. It could not possibly sound more delicious! Both ways sounds like a good plan too! ; )

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