Monday, November 16, 2009

Thanksgiving Recipes Not Found on Internet: Wheat Sheaf Bread

Williams Sonoma Wheat Sheaf Bread

The recipe below is my Auntie Pam's, but the techniques are from Williams Sonoma Bread Cookbook.

Makes: 30 Rolls
½ C sugar
½ C oil
2 eggs
2 Tbsp yeast
1 Tbsp salt
2 ½ C water
6-7 C flour

Beat sugar and oil together. Add eggs and beat again. Add yeast, salt, and water. Add 3 C flour and beat until smooth. Add flour until it pulls away easily from bowl. Knead for 10 minutes by hand/6-7 minutes with a mixer using a kneading hook. Let rise 35-45 minutes.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and press flat. Divide into thirds and form each portion into a ball. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes. Grease and flour a heavy baking sheet (can be used upside down if not large enough).
To Make the Wheat Sheaf Base: Roll out 1 ball of dough into an oval, 12 inches long and 9 inches wide. Cut away a small rectangle 2 by 3 inches at the base of the oval, forming a tall mushroom shape. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
Placing the “stalks”: Cut the second ball of dough in half. Set aside one-half to use for the “tie/braid” and roll out the other half into a rectangle ¼ inch thick. Cut into thin strands and roll them into thin ropes (like you're making worms with playdough). Arrange the dough strands on top like stalks of wheat, pressing gently into the base to secure the stalks.
Cutting the “ears”: Roll out the third ball of dough about ¼ inch thick and cut out 1-inch diamonds. I just cut the whole thing in a grid-like fashion, so you have a lot of squares and then turn them diamond-like. They don't need to be perfect - the bread will rise and hide small mistakes. Arrange the ears in rows starting at the top, overlapping the edges of the base slightly. Press each diamond in gently to ensure they will be secure after rising and baking.
“Tying” the sheaf: Cut the reserved ball of dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 10 inches long and braid tightly. Place the braid across the stalks at the narrowest part of the base. Tuck the ends underneath the base to secure.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise until puffy, about 10 minutes.
Brush loaf with egg glaze or spray with cooking spray. Watch closely so as not to over-bake. Bake until well risen and golden brown, 35-45 minutes. Brush with butter. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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