This is how my bread dough likes to rise on a sunny summer day.
I put it in my favorite glass bowl, cover it with saran wrap, and set it outside on my favorite tiled table on the back porch.
This is were I get the happiest dough that gives me the best and strongest rise.
And this is also where I like sit . . . in an over-sized teak rocking chair with a glass of orange-mint tea.
Do you notice the color of this dough? It isn't white. It isn't even off-white. Using the table tiles as a comparison, you can see that this dough is a soft, creamy tan color. It has a woodsy aroma and produces bread with a rich, complex flavor.
Since I am making my husband's favorite Kirkhaven Farm No Knead Artisan Bread today, using my favorite flour mixture, I thought I would share it with everyone. The bread recipe is a simple, no-frill one. And the flour is as "homemade goodness" as you can get.
First, let me explain that I grind my own grain to make my flour. I buy wheat, barley, lentils, beans, etc in bulk. I store them in special containers, and I grind them on the day I am baking. However, you don't need to do that yourself to make this special bread flour mixture. You can buy different types of flour, at specialty stores and even on Amazon, and then just custom-mix them.
Second, this is a flour that contains both grains and legumes. The mixture of different grains brings depth of flavor to breads. And the addition of ground legumes to the flour offers additional protein, minerals, and vitamins that grains alone cannot provide. So I create my own flour mixtures with different grains and various legumes to enhance both the flavor and the nutrition of the breads I bake.
Third, bread-making is a creative outlet for me. I build different recipes from the ingredients I have collected, but I am also just as likely to stray from that recipe by adding something different or trying a different technique. So I share this recipe with hopes that you will stray from it too! Go ahead and try the recipe "as is." Then change it. Add your own flair. Figure out what you and your household like and don't like.
I believe bread-making should be a very personal, very individual experience. It is something you make, with your own hands, using ingredients you have purposefully and thoughtfully chosen. When you slice into a warm loaf of homemade bread, it should smell and taste like home. Your home.
Favorite Kirkhaven Farm Flour Blend
1/4 c dried lentils
1/4 c oats
1/4 c barley
1/4 c millet
1 c hard white wheat
1 c hard red wheat
Gently mix all the ingredients together in a bowl with your hands. Then grind them into a fine flour. Store the flour in an air-tight container. Use this flour within 2 weeks of grinding to assure the best freshness.
Favorite Kirkhaven Farm No-Knead Artisan Bread
You will need:
Cast iron dutch oven
Olive oil to oil the bowl
Saran Wrap or other water-proof covering
Warm place for the bread to rise
Your favorite flour
2 c Favorite Kirkhaven Farm Flour Blend
1 c bread flour
1/4 generous teaspoon yeast
1 generous teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of vital wheat gluten (this helps the gluten build a strong matrix around the non-glutenous flour ingredients)
1 1/2 c hot tap water (not boiling)
Hand mix all ingredients in a bowl with a spoon or spatula.
Pour the dough onto a slightly floured surface. Form it into a mound, turning it over a couple of times so all sides are covered in a dusting of flour. The dough will be a little shaggy and wet-ish. That's okay. You may want to put a little flour on your hands so it doesn't stick to your fingers too much.
Carefully place the dough mound in an oiled glass bowl.
Cover the bowl with saran wrap or other water-proof covering.
Place the covered bowl in a warm spot for the dough to rise. It should rise at least 3 hours, but even longer is fine too.
When you determine that the dough is finished rising, pour the dough onto a slightly floured surface. Turn it a couple of times and form it into a mound again. Place the dough mount in a parchment-lined bowl. Let it rest there for 35 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees with the dutch oven inside.
When the oven reaches 450 degrees, place the parchment (with dough) in the dutch oven and return it to the oven with the lid on.
Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on.
Remove the lid and bake for 10 more minutes.
Remove from oven and allow the bread to cool a bit before cutting. I typically take the bread from the dutch oven and place it on a cooling rack. The crust is very hard when it comes straight from the oven, but it will soften a little as it cools. This bread, however, should have a crunchier crust than sandwich-type bread.
I hope you enjoy this bread as much as we do. And if you stray from this recipe with especially yummy results, I'd love to hear about it!