Entirely From Scratch..Bread & Butter

Sorry for the post delay everyone.  I've had to shoot four homes in a week and a half.  It's been exhausting, but it's over now.
So, continuing on my journey of making food from scratch, I've been baking bread.  Have you ever looked at the ingredients list of bread..it's a bit shocking.  Homemade bread has four things - flour, yeast, water and salt.
My first attempt was..well, not great.  It was good bread, but nothing to brag about. 

I followed the steps, but something was missing.

We kneaded and kneaded till we were parched with thirst.
Dull bread.

Failure makes me determined, so I hit the book store and brought this home.  A French bread maker, living in England, with his own technique of kneading and mixing the dough. Very different from our style of bread making in North America.  That is my loaf of bread on top of the book - isn't it pretty!

This is clearly something that takes practice.  But I'm hooked.  I love making bread and using my hands over the mixer and bread making machines. 
I went on a quest for fresh yeast - not easy to find!  But Whole Foods came through.

You can't expect me to place store bought butter on my homemade bread!  Yes, dammit, I made the butter too!
if you want the recipe please read on..

1/3 ounce fresh yeast (found at the Whole Foods Bakery Department) or 1 1/2 tsp dry yeast
18 ounces bread flour about 3 3/4 - 4 cups flour
2 tsp salt
12 ounces water or 13 fl. ounces

The measurements are a bit vague, because it's really by texture and feel of the dough.  You want it to be sticky but not overly so.  Like slightly dry feeling oatmeal?  Make sense?

Measure out your flour and yeast, crumble the yeast into the flour and mix with your hands or plastic bread scraper.  Add the salt, mix, then add the water and mix with your scraper.  You will then have fairly sticky dough - you may need to add more water or more flour - but it shouldn't be dry in feel.

 Do not flour your board.  Your dough should be sticky so it can cling to the board.  Slap it down and then pull and stretch it up towards yourself.  You want to fold it up and back over onto itself - this makes it full of air.  Stetch it up and then slap it back over onto the dough clinging to the board.  This is called the stretch and fold - the dough will start to elasticize and become less tacky.  
I found this video of Richard making sweet dough (with eggs and butter) - it shows the texture and kneading technique - this will help explain:

Form a ball and lightly flour the dough.  Place in a bowl that is lightly floured, cover with cling wrap or a tea towel and let sit/rest for one hour.  

It will double in size.  Using your rubber scraper, remove the dough from the bowl gently - don't pull or tear it.  It will feel very light and delicate.  Hard to explain, but you will see.
This is now the time to shape it.  One batch can make four baguettes or two calibrese style loaves. 

divide into the quantities you have selected.  The calabrese style is easy - just form two rectangular shapes then let rest for another hour covered in cling wrap or lint free towels.  Make a pleat in between the loaves so the dough doesn't stick to each other. 
To make the baguettes, divide into four balls and let rest for five minutes.  Take a ball, flatten it into an oval.  Take the outside edges and fold into the middle of the dough, and press with your fingers. Do this with the other edge and this will give you the bottom of your baguette. You can gently roll it to lengthen the dough.  Place on your floured cloth board to rise for another hour.

Preheat oven to 450.  Cut slits in the top of your baguettes.  Bake for about 10 - 12 minutes - you will see they are golden brown and lovely. 

Butter is easy - take one cup of whip cream and place in your mixer for 10 - 12 minutes.  Beat on high.  It will get lumpy and wet looking.  Scrape into cheesecloth and strain out the liquid.  Voila!
Note - some use the liquid to cook with - it's like butter milk.  I haven't done this.

sharing is not an option.


mise said...

Well done, it looks delicious. I like the smell of yeast, so I tend to leave it to rise for ages. This also gives me more opportunity to eat the dough, which I also love. (Does anyone sell bread dough ice cream?) And extra points for making your own butter. Maybe homemade tapenade as well to impress guests?

Old Centennial Farmhouse said...

Beautiful! What a wonderful skill....to make artisan breads...I admire your determination and your bread and photos are just beautiful, as is your daughter!

mimi charmante said...

okay, seriously - this might be my very favorite post EVER. I LOVED the video of M. Bertinet kneading the dough - I am a totally video girl as I am incredibly visual. And then there is the butter. Seriously - going to try it right this minute for our dinner tonight!
merci, merci, merci mon amie!
Bonne weekend,

Pure Mod Life said...

i've been on my own bread quest as well..not yummy french loafs but organic whole wheat...and last week was my first peak at success. it feels great to have success, altho my presentation needs help. Ur bread is gorgeous looking!

country girl said...

Isn't it like an epiphany when you knead your own bread dough for the first time? Congratulations, I'm so glad you didn't give up after your initial disappointment. Your bread and butter look delicious!

Erin Wallace said...

I like making bread and would do it all the time if it didn't take all day. But there is nothing like a freshly made loaf of bread. Just divine!

Tom Stephenson said...

Next - Bread & Butter Pudding with the stale left-overs...?

Grace said...

Man you really are going back to the roots of food. You're going to be milling your own wheat soon.

My father used to make all our bread and my mother all our jam, when we were growing up - nothing like warm freshly baked bread with strawberry-rhubarb jam on it. Yum yum!!!

Pinecone Camp said...

I haven't made butter in about a century....and I used a butter churn ;)
Your bread looks delicious, H! Rob makes bread, as I don't have a very long attention span. Nothing like fresh bread. Yum.

koralee said...

Now I get the comment you left at Pinecone Camp...you have really been making bread and butter? Wow...you are now in my totally impressed book...next batch please send over to my home. xo

Barbara said...

Heather, I am so impressed with your bread! I don't make it nearly so much anymore but I used to. I make mostly rolls now. You are encouraging me to start making bread again. And you're right- the ingredient list on store bought it frightening!
I've never tried butter, but if you say it's simple, I'll try it!

Mona Lisa said...

Great post... And I will try this for sure.

jan said...

oh i still haven't conquered the bread making - and it pains me so....must look into this book.

Gigi said...

I love to make bread. Few things give me more sensory pleasure. Just the smell alone is enough to drive me wild, but then there's the feel of the dough in your hands--and don't get me started on tasting the final product.

Your bread looks divine, and I am duly impressed that you made your own butter. That I have never done, but you have made me want to try it!! Thanks for the inspiration.

I was just at Pinecone Camp, so now I understand your comment over there! ; )

Ellen said...

That looked so yummy!!! And homemade butter...why not? I have never thought of doing it myself...I also will look for fresh yeast. I just went back to making homemade yogurt for the same reason as bread. Too many unnecessary ingredients. Tastes worlds better!

WhiteWhispers2u said...

Looks great! I have been sick and for weeks and that's all I want to eat is amazing bread.~Kim

DesignTies said...

Mmmmmmm!!!! I LOVE bread!! Especially hot-from-the-over homemade bread :-) Your bread looks absolutely scrumptious!!

I wonder if the same recipe & technique would work for pizza dough. I still haven't found the perfect pizza dough recipe, and I've tried a lot of them!!


WhiteWhispers2u said...

G'Day~I think I am on the mend now.I had to go see the Doc. and get meds.Thanks!

I was looking at your old posts and I see you may like Indian food? If so I have some amazing recipes.I have had 2 very special Indian friends that have taught me how to cook Indian food.It's simple to do.A very healthy way to eat.~Kim

AK-Magnolia House said...

Your bread looks perfect!! Now you MUST go out and buy the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day Book. Written by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. I am NOT a baker. In fact, until last week I had never tried to bake bread before. Then we moved to Grand Cayman and I decided to give it a try and save some money on my grocery bill. Well, I have baked 3 recipes from the book so far. You just drop the ingredients into a bowl. Mix together. Then wait. No kneading and all the other steps usually needed. You will thank me and you will be so happy that it is so easy.

Vintage Simple said...

Heather..! You are wonder woman! You shoot four homes, bake your own bread (more than once, I might add) *and* make your own butter *and* take lovely photos to then post here and share with us..? I'm in awe. Amazing. Maybe some of your energy will rub off on me. :)


Beach Vintage said...

Oh Heather I would love to make my own bread like this....I am reading on.

Firefly Hill said...

I think I'll make some today! Thanks for inspiring...


gigiandoliver said...

Wow! I'm impressed! Your bread looks gorgeous and yummy!

If you want to have a little extra fun with your daughter, make your butter in a Mason jar. Just fill the jar half way with whipping cream, add a pinch of salt if you like, secure the lid, and then shake away! Just when you think all the shaking was for nothing...you start to see the cream magically turn into to butter. Drain and serve. It is yummy!

I did this with my son's class for a Colonial Christmas Party and all the kids completely enjoyed making it. We even impressed the Prinicipal!

Tracey said...

WOW Heather, I'm so impressed...seriously, you made your own butter??!! We did that in Girl Scouts when I was little and it was a lot of work! Your family must feel so spoiled :)

:) T

MaryBeth Hughes said...

wow, butter? now that's impressive. i love baking and have experimented with a couple bread recipes but it never dawned on me to try my hand at butter. looks like i may have a busy weekend ahead of myself. :)

gracielynn's said...

LOL. we Love to make butter too, if more knew how truly easy it is they would do it too,
we take a cup of heavy cream, pour into a glass jar.let sit on counter until room temp.
then , here's the easy part: have youngest dd : Gracie, shake until the cream separates from the buttermilk.. ( Use buttermilk for Buttermilk Biscuits , what-else ) . scoop butter into air tight container.. Easy( since Grace does the shakin' )