There was a contest at my church this evening and a corn roast. There was also a chili contest that I didn't participate in. But this thread is about bread.
For the contest, I planned two loaves and a braid. I ended up with two good loaves as the braid was only suitable for eating with soup, but very good for that purpose.
The two good loaves were as follows, oh, and both loaves one their category
2 cups Robin Hood multi-grain bread flour with flax seed
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat gluten
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sour-dough starter (started a week before and made from 1 tsp. granulated, dry yeast, mixed with 1/4 cup AP Flour and 3 tbs. water. Placed in a clean canning jar and sealed. Let set in fridge door until needed.)
1/4 cup sugar
9 tbs. cooking oil
1/4 cup softened butter
Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix the sour-dough starter with 1 cup warm water. Stir until it's dissolved. Pour the water into the dry mix and add another 3/4 warm water. Add the oil to the water and stir everything together with a heavy wooden spoon. After everything is combined, continue kneading with your hands until the ball is smooth and elastic. If the dough is very sticky, add more flour in 1/8 cup increments and kneed in. The dough will form a smooth ball in the bowl when the moisture to flour content is correct.
Place the dough into a gallon-sized zipper style plastic bag and and let rest overnight in the fridge.
When you are ready to bake the bread, remove it from the fidge. Place in a large, clean bowl. Rub the butter over the dough ball and cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel. Place in a 130 degree pre-heated oven that ahs been turned off just before placing the dough in it, and let rise until doubled in bulk. REmove the dough from the oven and punch it down. Transfer it to a loaf pan and place back into the oven. Let rise until doubled. Remove from the oven and turn it on. Preheat it to 350' F. Put the bread in and cook for 50 minutes. When the time has elapsed, remove from the oven and lightly tap the top. The bread loaf should sound hollow. Remove from the pan and brush with cooking oil. Let cool and serve.
For the white bread, follow the same directions, but only use the all-purpose flour, quarter-cup gluten flour, and add 1/4 cup of non-dairy coffee creamer to add richness of flavor.
Both breads comes out so soft and tender and moist on the inside, but with that rich sour-dough flavor.
The keys to good bread making are giving the yeast time to do its work, letting it rest overnight to allow the protien to relax, resulting in a softer loaf, and getting the right amount of oil to keep everything moist. Of course, you must also get the dough flavor correct, not to sweet, and not to salty.
I would suspect that making a dryer dough, and kneading it more would result in the crusty, chewy loaves such as are found in artisan bread shops. I know longer use a recipe as I know that three tbs. of oil per cup of flour is correct. Also, three cups of flour are required for one standard home loaf pan. I also use 1/4 tsp. salt and about 2 tbs. sugar or sweetener, sometimes honey, per cup of flour as well. So I don't have a written recipe. I do know how the raw dough should feel and smell. And I know how much sour-dough, or dry yeast to use. Learn these things and you can make an amazing variety of breads without worrying about failure. Also, the amount of yeast used greatly affects the flavor of the bread.
So there you have it, the prize-winning recipe, or rather technique for both multi-grain, and white breads.
Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North