Saturday, April 4, 2009

{Adventures in Yeast} #11 - KA Pecan Wheat Bread

Making bread has gotten a bit complicated lately. My KA mixer has developed a gear problem, and I hesitate to use it for dough (although my appliance repair man told me it shouldn't make any difference). I've had a sore right elbow and now I'm sporting a sore left wrist, so I'm trying to not do lots of kneading (although the kneading motion doesn't hurt as badly as twisting kinds of movement.) This seemed like a perfect time to try out the food processor for making bread dough. The fp as a bread making tool has its champions - Rose Levy Beranbaum, for one - and its detractors. I wasn't in a position to worry about the detractors, and set forth to make King Arthur recipe for Pecan Wheat Bread, using the fp for the heavy mixing.

n.o.e.'s notes:

- I didn't read the fp manual before making this dough (but I did read it afterwards and learned some very useful info!) My machine struggled a bit, since I had just dumped all the ingredients in at the same time, as I would have in a mixer. What I didn't know, but do now, is that in a fp you mix the dry ingredients first, then leave the motor running and add the liquid slowly, letting it get incorporated before adding more. And it's FAST.

- Right when I was ready to transfer the dough to the counter for some hand kneading, I realized I'd forgotten the yeast! So I added it, processed briefly, and then kneaded on the counter for a short time. The dough was ready. Even though it wasn't pretty or elegant in execution, the fp really got the job done on bread dough kneading.

- For the bulk rise, the dough doubled in an hour in a warm spot.

- I shaped the loaf, put it in a bread pan and left it to proof. It rose 1"+ over the rim in about 45 minutes.

- The bread was golden and fully baked in 33 minutes at 350 degrees.

the verdict:

This bread has a wonderful texture and it slices beautifully. We loved it toasted, and it would be great for sandwiches. Although it rose nicely, each slice has a good bit of substance, moistness, and chewiness. I love the balance of whole grain and slight taste of sweet nuttiness from the pecans. It tastes great just by itself!

I love working with this dough. It is a pleasure to handle, rises very well, and produces a delicious loaf of bread. If you are looking for a straightforward yeast bread recipe that tastes delicious, this is a great candidate. It's certainly destined to be a regular in my kitchen. In fact I've already made the bread again. The 2nd time it rose like crazy:

I sent the loaf with my husband for a weekend of hiking with his brother. They loved it as toast and in sandwiches.

We go through a lot of bread, especially for toast in the morning. This is why, incidentally, you see so many of my yeast adventures featuring bread baked in standard loaf pans. For several months I've been baking a couple of loaves a week. I do repeat our favorites, but the allure of trying new bread recipes is quite strong. This is leaving me with a long backlog of yeast posts and right now I'm trying to figure out how to catch up in my bread posting!

The recipe says: "If you use the smaller pan, the bread will rise very high and a bit outwards, forming a slight "mushroom" shape."

16 comments:

Di said...

That looks great! I love the "mushroom" picture. =) I've had good luck with all of the KAF recipes I've tried. I just wish I had more time to try different bread recipes. I've been surviving with ABin5 dough, since life has been busy.

I hope your arm is feeling better! (and your mixer!)

Sara said...

This looks so good, I often make walnut bread, but have never thought to add pecans!

Audrey said...

It's gorgeous, Nancy! And it sounds delicious. I'm so glad you're enjoying your adventures in yeast, and I hope your sore parts get better soon!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Nuts are just always a wonderful addition for whole wheat breads.
You really got the rise with this one and great crumb.
Left the yeast out ;) just proves again how forgiving dough can be.

Elyse said...

A bread that is a pleasure to handle?! How could I not try this? It looks and sounds delicious. I love the idea of pecans in a bread. YUM!

dharmagirl said...

what a delicious loaf of bread--I love the over-the-top mushroom effect--so cheerful.

Reeni♥ said...

That's a beautiful loaf of bread! I bet the pecans add just a little bit of nuttiness that makes it perfect!

Pam said...

Wow! Look at the rise on that loaf!

Jude said...

Ooh great job on this. Love the perfectly shaped round tops. Sometimes my loaves burst out towards the sides...

mike said...

Toast..... that's a treat for me. I'd go crazy if I had it every morning. More like a loaf a day! That rise is incredible - bakery "worthy" bread!

burpandslurp said...

I've given up on baking bread after a few failures, but now I'm tempted to give this a try again. yumm....pecan lends such a great flavor to any bread!

pinkstripes said...

Both loaves look great! I love the mushroom shaped one.
I've only used the food processor to make pizza dough,never bread. I'll have to try it some day.

Pecan bread sounds very delicious. I've always had success with KA recipes.

Cathy said...

Holy rising! This is the Barry Bonds of yeast breads! If I could get half as much of a rise when I make this, I'll be thrilled. This is definitely the yeast bread I'm going to try next -- it sounds delicious and manageable (i.e., no crazy steps involving biga and whatnot). Very interesting to do this in the fp (sorry about the elbow/wrist woes, BTW). The bread looks perfect!

TeaLady said...

Way to go, Nancy! That looks so good. I love all the bread you have been doing. An inspiration. I am using the ABin5 and actually had one work out for me. I still like the old way, kneading is relaxing, but sometimes it needs to be convenient. Will have to try this one.

Elle said...

It really did rise quite a bit, didn't it? Sounds like a winner, especially with the pecans.

Kayte said...

That looks gorgeous...who would not feel like the most special person in the world being served a slice of that???? Great job! I have got to tackle bread baking someday...maybe when the boys are gone in two years...oh, wait, who will eat it all when they are gone? I better get started soon!