Molasses Bread (Outback Knock-Off)
April 16, 2020
I thought with less events and gatherings for me to go to and/or volunteer, I'd get so much done around the house. Not so. I sigh and say "tomorrow." I find I can wear the same comfy clothes three days in a row, until Monday when I will once again have to put jeans on. I learned I can not blackmail, bribe, or sweet talk my hairdresser into breaking the rules-And so it goes!
Making bread, for me, helps the day go by. Since it's in steps, I can start it, and while letting it rise, go do my chores. Come back to it, punch it down, shape into loaves, go back to my chores until its ready to bake.
Once one has homemade bread, store bought bread doesn't seem to have a lot of flavor. The recipe Daniel shared last week, often called Artisan bread, is a good one to get comfortable using yeast if you haven't before. I believe we learned to cook with it in high school Home Economics. A few tips-most recipes say the temperature of the water should be 110 degrees. I find by the time you take the temperature, it's already starting to cool. I warm up the bowl with warm water, then pour it out. I turn on the warm water and run in on my wrist until very warm, but not so I pull it away. I have the yeast and about a teaspoon or so of sugar in the bowl, grab a whisk, and when I add the amount of warm water needed, I whisk rapidly to blend and activate the yeast. If it does not get foamy in 15 minutes, then toss it and try again. There is no sense in wasting flour and sugar, if the yeast isn't going to do its thing.
I had a yearning for molasses so Googled molasses bread and found this one. It's a keeper.
2 ½ c. warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 ½ Tbsp instant yeast
1/3 c. + 1 Tbsp unsulphured molasses
2 Tbsp unsweetened natural cocoa powder
3 Tbsp oil**
1/3 c. honey
2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp vital wheat gluten ***(optional)
3 c. white whole wheat flour
3 to 4 c. all-purpose flour
2 to 3 Tbsp butter, melted
Old fashioned oats for sprinkling
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook (or by hand), combine the water, yeast, molasses, cocoa powder, oil, honey, salt, gluten (if using) and 2 cups of the whole wheat flour. Mix until combined. (My notes-I dissolved the yeast + a bit of sugar in the warm water, let it rise, then added the rest.) **Author notes she has used several different kinds of oil.
With the mixer running, slowly add the rest of the whole wheat flour. Start adding the white flour gradually until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Knead about 5-7 minutes (about 10-15 if you are kneading by hand (My notes-that seems like a long time.) The dough should be soft and slightly tacky, but shouldn't leave a lot of residue on your fingers if you grab a piece.
Turn the dough into a large, lightly greased bowl, cover with greased plastic wrap or a light towel, and let rise until doubled, about 1-2 hours.
Lightly punch down the dough and divide into three equal pieces. Form into tight oval loaves and place on parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheets (My notes-you can make three loaves, but two fits better on the baking sheet.) Lightly cover with greased plastic wrap (or towel) and let rise again until doubled in size. If you would like, before baking, add a few deep slices across the top.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 25 minutes* (or 30 if you don't put the oats on). Remove from the oven and lightly brush with about a tablespoon of butter. Sprinkle with the oats and bake for another 5-7 minute (My notes-the oats will fall off when you slice the bread so it's a bit of a waste.)
AUTHOR'S NOTES: The vital wheat gluten is optional but I highly recommend it if you want a really soft, light, chewy loaf of bread. Another alternative is to use bread flour in place of the white flour (and omit the gluten)
MY NOTES: I used the bread flour as that is what I had along with unbleached white flour.
This makes a great, slightly sweet bread and delicious toast. I also added a cup of raisins.