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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Basic Bread Recipe - Low Sodium

Here is a very basic bread recipe. It has very little salt, and you can make it with white flour or wheat flour or any combination. I usually use about half white and half wheat. Some times I sweeten it with a healthy dose of molasses.

The recipe starts by making a sponge. You mix about half of the flour for the recipe with all of water and the yeast and the sweetening and let that mixture rise for a while before adding the salt and kneading in the rest of the flour. This first step lets the yeast get to work in the absence of salt, which inhibits the yeast’s functioning.

  • 3 C lukewarm water (85°-105°F - not hot or cold on your fingertips)
  • 1 1⁄2 T dry yeast (2 packages)
  • 1⁄4 C sweetening (honey, molasses, or brown sugar)
  • 6 C approx. flour (whatever kind you like or have on hand)
  • 1/4 C veg. oil
  • 1 t salt

Measure the water into a big bowl. Sprinkle in the yeast and stir to dissolve. Add the sweetening. Then gradually stir in about 3 cups of the flour. Beat about a 100 times until the batter is very smooth. Cover and let it rise in a warm place for 45 minutes (more or less). Warm is better, but our place right now is about 65° and the bread is rising nicely. Altitude probably helps. Not being in a hurry helps most of all.

When the sponge has increased in size and shows some small bubbles, stir in the salt and the oil.

Now add about three more cups of flour. Gradually stir as much of the flour as you can into the sponge. When the batter is too stiff to continue stirring, turn the bread out onto a floured surface and knead the mixture until it is smooth and elastic. If the mixture sticks to your hands work in more flour.

Cover the dough and let it rise until doubled. Knead again, let it rise again. When it has doubled again or is close to double, knead one more time and then split the dough into two equal portions. Shape the dough into loaves and place in 5x9 loaf pans that have been oiled lightly. With a sharp knife make 3 diagonal slashes in the top of each loaf. Let the dough rise in the pans until it is above the top edges of the pans.

Bake in a preheated 350° F oven for 50-60 minutes. Bread is done when it is golden brown. Remove from pans immediately, cool on wire racks.

Yield is 2 loaves. 12 slices per loaf, 100 mg sodium per slice.

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