Welcome to our October Bakealong challenge. Each month we’ll announce a new recipe for you to try, along with helpful tips and step-by-step instructions here in our blog. We invite you to bake, then share a photo of your creation, tagging it with #bakealong. Enjoy!
King Arthur Flour has proclaimed October as Bake for Good Month. In recognition of this, October’s Bakealong challenge features Everyday Whole-Grain Bread, a recipe that’s been baked and the loaves donated to hundreds of thousands of needy families around the country.
Our Bake for Good: Kids program teaches middle school kids how to bake bread — and how to share with those less fortunate, as well. Thus far, we’ve reached over 300,000 kids (and their families) with this program.
If you’re inspired to make the pledge to bake for good with us this month, this simple recipe’s the perfect candidate. Keep one loaf for yourself; give the other away. A friend, a neighbor, a local firefighter, or one of your community’s countless volunteers will enjoy bread that’s ideal for sandwiches, toast, French toast, grilled cheese, or …
If you’ve never baked yeast bread before, now’s your chance. For the perfect loaf, check out our bread technique tip videos.
And if you’re a more seasoned baker, don’t feel you have to limit yourself to just a plain loaf. Make the dough, then shape, fill, and top it as you like; it’s the perfect blank canvas, ready and waiting for your most imaginative treatment.
Make the dough
Combine the following in a large bowl:
2 cups warm water
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast or instant yeast (1 packet yeast)
3 cups (12 ounces) King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Mix everything together, and then knead until smooth. The dough will be a bit sticky; it’ll cling just a bit to the kneading surface, or sides of the bowl (above).
Place the kneaded dough into an oiled bowl. If you’ve prepared the dough by hand, go ahead and use the same bowl you mixed it in.
Let the dough rise
Cover the dough with plastic wrap (or a clear shower cap, as I’ve done here).
Place the dough somewhere warm (65°F to 75° is ideal) to rise until it’s doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
I guess maybe I should have used a larger bowl!
Gently deflate the dough, and shape it into a smooth round. This makes it easier to divide in half — which is your next step.
Shape the loaves; let them rise
Divide the dough in half, and shape each piece into an 8″ to 10″ log, or even longer if you like. If you’re using a bread pan, make it 8″; if you’re going freeform, the loaf can be whatever length you want. For more shaping ideas, see the end of this post.
Tent the loaves with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let them rise for 30 minutes.
While the loaves are rising, preheat your oven to 375°F.
See how both loaves have expanded after just 30 minutes?
Bake the bread
Bake the risen loaves for about 30 minutes, until they’re golden brown. If you have a digital thermometer, the internal temperature at the center of each will be about 190°F.
Remove the sandwich loaf from its pan, brushing its crust with melted butter, if desired. Transfer both loaves to a rack to cool completely.
So you’re already a good bread baker, and would like to spread your wings a bit?
Try some interesting variations
Make a couple of seeded braids. For two loaves, divide each half of the dough into three pieces, and braid. Brush with water and sprinkle with seeds, if desired. Bake as directed in the recipe above.
Or a nice big batch of dinner rolls. This recipe will make 32 small rolls. Place the rolls in lightly greased pans (8″ or 9″ round, 8″ or 9″ square, or 9″ x 13″), let them rise, and bake for about 20 minutes in a preheated 350°F oven.
Or cinnamon buns. Of course.
Make a filling of a generous 1 cup brown sugar + 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon. Divide the dough in half, roll each half into a 16″ x 8″ rectangle, and sprinkle with the filling. Roll up the long way, and cut each log into 16 buns. Place them in the pans of your choice, leaving a bit of space among them for the dough to rise. Let the buns rise, then bake for about 20 minutes in a preheated 350°F oven. When lukewarm, ice with confectioners’ sugar mixed with enough milk or cream to make a smooth, spreadable frosting.
And remember to #bakealong!
Note: For all of you gluten-free bakers out there, our Gluten-Free Whole-Grain Bread recipe is a good choice for this month’s Challenge.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this Bakealong Challenge; once you’ve baked your masterpiece, remember to post its picture, hashtag: #bakealong. And be sure to check back on Nov. 1 for our next challenge. Hint: You absolutely positively can’t get through the month of November without baking THIS…