Among the pluses of more-sensible eating is an emphasis on fiber and complex carbohydrates. And that, to many, translates into the guilt-free enjoyment of the wonderful fragrances and flavors of home-baked breads--earthy, peasant-type breads that are loaded with real texture. Dark breads, light breads, breads made with whole wheat, rye or other sturdy grains. Breads that get additional flavor from caraway or cornmeal or a tad of sour cream.
There's more to baking bread at home than merely savoring the first slice. Most bakers find tactile satisfaction in the simple, hands-on kneading of bread dough. And when the scent of the baking bread begins to permeate the house, chances are that everyone in the vicinity will immediately gravitate to the kitchen.
If you've never baked bread, don't hesitate to try. As long as your yeast is fresh, your spirit willing and your hands strong enough to knead the dough until it is visibly satiny and elastic, you'll have no problems--other than that of keeping hungry hangers-on at bay until your bread has had a chance to cool. Bread-baking is like that, exuding an almost irresistible invitation to sample "at once." PUMPERNICKEL BREAD
9 cups all-purpose flour 3 cups rye flour 2 tablespoons salt 1 cup whole bran cereal 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal 2 packages dry yeast 3 1/2 cups water cup dark molasses 2 1-ounce squares unsweetened chocolate 1 tablespoon butter or margarine 2 cups mashed potatoes at room temperature 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
Combine all-purpose and rye flours. Mix 2 cups flour mixture, salt, cereal, cornmeal and yeast in large bowl. Combine water, molasses, chocolate and melt. Gradually add to flour mixture and beat 2 minutes at medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Add potatoes and 1 cup flour mixture or enough flour to make a thick batter. Beat at high speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in caraway seeds and enough additional flour mixture to make a soft dough.
Turn out onto a lightly floured board. Cover dough with bowl and let rest 15 minutes. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 15 minutes. Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease all sides. Cover and let rise in warm place, free from drafts until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch dough down and let rise again 30 minutes.
Punch dough down again and turn out onto lightly floured board. Divide into 3 equal parts and shape into round balls. Place balls in 3 greased 8- or 9-inch round cake pans. Cover and let rise in warm place free from drafts until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees 50 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks. Makes 3 loaves. REFRIGERATOR FRENCH BREAD 6 cups flour, about 2 tablespoons sugar 1 tablespoon salt 2 envelopes dry yeast 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened 2 cups very hot tap water Cornmeal Oil 1 egg white 1 tablespoon cold water
Thoroughly combine 2 cups flour, sugar, salt and undissolved yeast in large bowl. Add softened butter and gradually add hot water. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in enough flour to make soft dough. Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Cover and let rest 20 minutes. Punch dough down and divide into halves. Shape each portion into 10x15-inch rectangle.
Beginning at long side, roll up tightly, pinching edges to seal. Taper ends by rolling loaf back and forth. Sprinkle a large greased baking sheet with cornmeal and place loaves on pan. Brush tops with oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 to 24 hours.
When ready to bake, remove loaves from refrigerator and carefully remove plastic wrap. Let stand 10 minutes at room temperature. Puncture any air bubbles that have formed with wood pick or skewer. Make four diagonal cuts across top of each loaf with sharp knife. Bake loaves at 450 degrees 25 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with egg white mixed with cold water. Bake 5 minutes longer. Makes 2 loaves. PAIN DE FROMAGE 1 package dry yeast cup lukewarm water 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon sugar 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened cup brandy 5 eggs 5 cups flour, about 1/2 cup shredded Bonbel cheese 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese Kosher salt Caraway seeds
Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water. Stir in salt, sugar, butter, brandy and 4 well-beaten eggs. Beat in half of flour. Stir in cheeses and beat in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead dough on lightly floured board until smooth and elastic. Place in bowl and let rise, covered, in warm place until doubled in bulk. Punch dough down. Knead again on floured board, then cut into 3 equal pieces.
Roll each piece into 12-inch long rope. Braid three ropes together. Pinch ends together and place braid into well-greased 13x4-inch loaf pan. Beat remaining egg and use to brush loaf. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and caraway seeds. Let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk. Bake at 350 degrees 30 to 40 minutes or until richly browned and loaf sounds hollow when thumped. Unmold and cool on rack before cutting. Makes 1 loaf. CHEESE MONKEY BREAD 1 1/2 packages dry yeast cup warm water 1 tablespoon sugar 1 cup milk 1 cup butter or margarine 1 teaspoon salt 3 eggs, beaten 3 to 4 cups flour 3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Soften yeast in warm water and stir in sugar. Scald milk and add 1/2 cup butter and salt. Cool to lukewarm. Stir beaten eggs and yeast mixture into lukewarm milk mixture. Gradually beat in flour and cheese with a wooden spoon to make a soft dough. Transfer dough to greased bowl and turn to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm place free from drafts until doubled in bulk.
Divide dough in half and roll each portion out on floured surface into rectangle -inch thick. Melt remaining butter. Cut dough into 3-inch diamond shapes. Dip each piece of dough into melted butter and layer in greased 10-inch ring mold, overlapping points of dough pieces. There should be about 3 layers, but pan should be no more than 3/4 full or pieces of dough will pop off while baking. Let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Bake at 400 degrees 35 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 1 loaf. LIMPA BREAD 1 package dry yeast 1 cup warm water 1 cup lukewarm beer cup melted shortening cup dark brown sugar, packed 1 tablespoon molasses 2 teaspoons grated orange peel 2 cups rye flour 1 tablespoon salt 3 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
Stir yeast into warm water in mixing bowl and let stand until dissolved. Add beer, shortening, brown sugar, molasses and orange peel. Beat in rye flour and salt. Stir in enough all-purpose flour to make stiff dough. Knead dough on lightly floured board until smooth and elastic. Place in greased mixing bowl, cover and let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk.
Roll dough into 12x15-inch rectangle on floured board. Starting at one long side, roll dough tightly, jellyroll fashion. Place on greased baking sheet. With sharp knife, cut diagonal slashes at 2 1/2-inch intervals. Cover with towels and let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk. Bake at 350 degrees 50 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow. Makes 1 large loaf. SHEEPHERDER'S BREAD
3 1/2 cups warm water 3 tablespoons sugar 3 packages dry yeast 8 cups flour, about 1 tablespoon salt
Combine 1/2 cup warm water, sugar and yeast in small bowl. Stir and let stand in warm place until bubbly, 10 to 15 minutes. Mix flour and salt, then add yeast mixture and remaining 3 cups warm water. Mix thoroughly, then knead until smooth, satiny and elastic, about 10 minutes. (Knead in enough flour to make a stiff dough.) Place in greased bowl, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk.
A Dutch oven 10-inches in diameter and 3-inches deep with tight fitting lid is needed for this recipe. Grease inside of Dutch oven and lid thoroughly. Punch dough down, shape into round and place in greased Dutch oven. Cover with lid and let rise until dough just begins to lift lid, 20 to 25 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees 1 hour 5 minutes. Check several times while baking to see if lid has tilted off bread. Replace lid squarely on top of bread, if tilted. Remove lid and bake 10 minutes longer to allow top to brown. Makes 1 huge loaf. CORNELL BREAD 3 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees) 2 tablespoons dry yeast 2 tablespoons honey or sugar 6 to 7 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 3 tablespoons wheat germ 1/2 cup soya flour 3/4 cup nonfat dry milk 3 teaspoons salt 2 tablespoons oil
Combine water, yeast and honey in mixer bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Measure and combine flour, wheat germ, soya flour, dry milk and salt. Add 3 cups flour mixture to dissolved yeast in bowl. Beat 2 minutes at low speed or 75 strokes by hand. Add oil and 3 more cups flour mixture gradually. Turn dough out onto floured board and knead thoroughly 5 to 6 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Place in buttered bowl, turning to coat top. Let rise in warm place free of drafts (60 to 85 degrees), until doubled in bulk. Punch dough down and allow to rise again 15 to 20 minutes. Turn onto lightly floured board and shape into 2 loaves. Place in buttered 8x4-inch pans. Cover and let rise until doubled. Bake at 350 degrees 45 to 50 minutes or until loaves test done. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks. Makes 2 loaves. BLACK RUSSIAN BREAD 4 cups unsifted rye flour 3 cups unsifted all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon sugar 2 teaspoons salt 2 cups whole bran cereal 2 tablespoons caraway seeds, crushed 2 teaspoons instant coffee powder 2 teaspoons onion powder 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed 2 packages dry yeast 2 1/2 cups water cup vinegar cup dark molasses 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate cup butter or margarine 1 teaspoon cornstarch 1/2 cup cold water
Combine rye and all-purpose flours. In large bowl thoroughly mix 2 cups flour mixture, sugar, salt, cereal, caraway seeds, coffee and onion powders, fennel seeds and yeast. Combine 2 1/2 cups water, vinegar, molasses, chocolate and butter in saucepan. Heat over low heat until liquids are very warm (120 to 130 degrees). Butter and chocolate do not need to melt. Gradually add to dry ingredients and beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add 1/2 cup flour mixture. Beat at high speed 2 minutes. Stir in enough additional flour mixture to make a soft dough. Turn out onto lightly floured board. Cover and let rest 15 minutes. Then knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 to 15 minutes. Dough may be sticky. Place in greased bowl, turning to greased top. Cover and let rise in warm place free from draft until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down and turn out onto lightly floured board. Divide in half. Shape each half into ball about 5 inches in diameter. Place each ball in center of greased 8-inch round cake pan. Cover and let rise in warm place, free from draft until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Bake at 350 degrees 45 to 50 minutes or until done.
Meanwhile, combine cornstarch and water and brush mixture over top of loaves. Return bread to oven and bake 2 to 3 minutes longer until glaze is set. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks. Makes 2 round loaves. SOUR CREAM BREAD 1/2 cup warm water 2 envelopes dry yeast 1 cup sour cream, warm 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened cup sugar 2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon oregano 1/2 teaspoon thyme 2 eggs, at room temperature 3 3/4 to 4 3/4 cups unsifted flour
Measure warm water into large bowl and sprinkle in yeast. Stir until dissolved. Add sour cream, margarine, sugar, salt, oregano, thyme and eggs. Beat in 3 cups flour until well-blended, about 1 minute. Stir in enough additional flour to make soft dough. Cover and let rise in warm place free from drafts until doubled in bulk, about 50 minutes. Punch dough down and turn into 2 greased 1-quart casseroles, cover and let rise in warm place free from drafts until doubled in bulk, about 50 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees 35 minutes or until done. Remove from casseroles and cool on wire racks. Makes 2 loaves.