Sunday, February 19, 2012

Fresh Baked Bread!


I have always been intimidated by bread. I've had some disasters like the dough just turning to sand and not coming together in any recognizable dough consistency. I've also had bread just not rise and become rock hard. Through the years I've had to continue to try because in the Orthodox Christian Church each family who wishes to offer bread for Holy Communion bakes the special bread called Prosphora in Greek, or Alter Bread in English. It's a very simple yeast bread that has a special seal stamped on it before it is baked.

Lately I've been wishing to make more of our food from scratch in order to know exactly what's in it. No nasty preservatives and what-nots for me. I'm tired of guessing if the pre-made food is safe or not. So this weekend I decided to experiment and try bread based on the simple Prosphora recipe. Following is the Prosphora recipe followed by the alterations I made to it.

Prosphora (basic recipe)

5 cups white flour (sifted)
1-1/2 cups warm water
2 pkgs. dry yeast
1 tsp. salt

Dissolve yeast in warm water in a plastic container with a tight fitting lid. In a large bowl add sifted flour and salt and make a "well" in the center. Pour the yeast and water mixture into the well and knead until smooth. Cover the dough and let rise (about an hour). When double in size, knead again. Then divide dough in half and put in cake pans that have been floured only (no grease). Let rise for about an hour then place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes at 375 degrees. Wrap in a clean cloth while cooling so crust will be soft. Makes two loaves.

Alterations to the basic recipe (for home consumption, not for alter bread).

3-1/2 cups white flour (sifted)
1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour (sifted)
4 to 5 tbsp. roasted and salted sunflower seeds
1 to 2 tbsp. flax seed meal
1-1/2 cups warm water
2 pkgs. dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar

Follow directions as above. I did rub the two loaves with a bit of olive oil before letting them rise in the cake pans. I was hoping that would give the loaves a nicely browned top.

The resulting bread is very tasty with just enough texture and added flavor from the whole wheat flour. The sunflower seeds add a nice dimension as well. It was really difficult not to eat an entire loaf right out of the oven!!

Super yummy with a butter spread of your choice.

3 comments:

  1. Yay! Good stuff! Ok, I'm hungry! Can't wait to try, maybe tomorrow! While doing homeschool this Monday morning, I made my easy whole wheat recipe again! So rewarding! Bread is awesome! HOMEMADE bread is awesome!

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  2. I was sorely pressed not to eat this instead of the black bean chili I made! I followed the recipe but did 3 cups white and 2 cups whole wheat. Then I also added a few tablespoons of sesame seeds. MmmmmmHmmmmmm! Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Homemade bread IS awesome! I'm officially hooked! I'm glad the recipe worked out well for you. Next time I make it I'll be adding the sesame seeds and some oats too!

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