This morning I slept in way late and woke to a wonderful smell. At first I thought my husband was cooking the left over pizza for breakfast, but no it was Homemade BREAD! Ahhh, the smell of home made bread is so wonderful. And the taste is just beautiful. The warm, steamy, and soft bread almost melts in your mouth, except for the slight crunch of the perfect crust. Please Sir, can I have some more? To the side here I have photos of the still warm and very beautiful bread Trent made this morning. Aren't the designs he cut into the dough just amazing? They look like artisan bread, straight from the bakery ovens of France. Here is a brief bread history lesson from Trent himself (who worked for awhile in a French-style artisan bakery in Colorado). He says that the traditional French (and other) bakeries would cut different patterns into the bread tops to indicate the different flavors (ie:, olive, garlic, rosemary, whole wheat, rye, etc. [with sourdough versions of each]). Each baker had his own special marks, some of which were quite complex and ornate.
By the way, here is the recipe for a basic half-wheat dough (enough to make these two loaves):
*2 cups very warm water
*2 Tblsp dry yeast
*3 Tblsp sugar
*1 tsp salt
*4-5 Cups flour (any mixture of white and wheat...for these ones Trent used 3 1/2 Cups white and about a Cup of wheat). Start with 4 Cups (total) of flour, and add more as needed...
Mix all the above ingredients together until dough forms (dough is good when it makes a ball that doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl...again, this is where you can add that extra flour if needed).
*Add 1/4 Cup (1/2 stick) softened butter to the dough and thoroughly mix it in (...Trent says "Use REAL BUTTER, NOT margarine!!!")
Mix with dough hook for about 2-3 minutes (or knead by hand for about 10 minutes). (Dough should be soft but not at all sticky).
Immediately divide in half and shape into oblong loaves and place on cookie sheet (not too close together). Let rise about 5-10 minutes, then use a very sharp knife to SOFTLY slice patterns into the tops of the loaves (Trent lightly dusted the loaves with white flour before cutting the designs to make the designs more visible). Let rise for another half an hour or so, until roughly double in size.
Bake in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.