"chadwick" Bread



Camy Potter called the bread she ate at our house, "chadwick" bread. There is not a specific recipe but kind of a style and proportions.

For one loaf (and this can be multiplied.)

A cup of liquid, water, milk, eggs, pumpkin puree, or some other liquid use a scant tablespoon of yeast and salt. I measure it in my hand.

Flour of some sort: whole wheat, white whole wheat, bread flour, rye flour, rolled oats. Often I add gluten when using flours that have low gluten. (Lots of great flour out there—King Arthur, Bob's Red Mill, Arrow and there's nothing wrong with Pillsbury or Gold Medal.)

You can add lots of other stuff: caraway, dried onion, dill, Zante currents, cardamom, etc.

Fats of various kinds are also good but it's better to add them after the gluten is well developed as they reduce the strength of the gluten. (Add butter from the beginning to make soft dinner rolls, for example.)

In a large bowl, mix the yeast with an equal amount of sugar.

Add a quarter to a half cup of 110° (warmer than body temperature) and allow the yeast to start to bubble—15-20 minutes. (Buy yeast in some quantity bigger than the three foil packets offered in the flour section of most grocery stores. It's way too expensive. You can get one or two pound packages of yeast at restaurant supply store. Keep a small bottle in the fridge and freeze the rest. It lasts a long time.)

Add the salt to the liquid and warm to body temperature, i.e., about 95°. Stir to dissolve the salt. Add to proofed yeast.

Add flour to make the mixture about the consistency of pancake batter. Cover and set aside until the yeast is obviously working—usually less than an hour. This is the sponge.

Stir the sponge vigorously. Add flour is small amounts and stir vigorously until the dough begins to put away from the bowl.

Remove the dough onto a floured surface and knead, adding flour as necessary to keep it from sticking. (This is an excellent way to clean your hands so you might want to be sure they're clean before you start.) Continue to knead the dough until it's sticks to your hands but pulls away without leaving dough behind.

Put butter or oil in the bowl. Return the dough to the bowl and roll it to cover with oil. Cover and allow to rise until about double in size.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Remove from the bowl, gently knead and form a loaf. Put into a loaf pan, make a round loaf or a long narrow loaf. (Dust a stone or sheet with cornmeal to bake free-form loaves.)

Cover and allow to rise until about double in size.

Bake until crust is brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. (You can have an aluminum pan in the oven into which you can pour boiling water just before putting the loaf into the oven then spray water against the walls of the oven several time while the bread is baking. This helps make the crust crustier.)