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Old Fashioned Buttermilk Bread with Your Ankarsrum Assistent Mixer

Buttermilk bread and dandelion jelly

Get ready to bake a BIG batch of bread with the help of your Ankarsrum Assistent mixer! This bread is soft and slices beautifully for toast and sandwiches. 

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 3 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon yeast dissolved in 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 3/4 cups melted butter
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons honey
  • 7 cups cultured buttermilk, shaken
  • 7 cups whole wheat flour
  • scant 1 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon salt
  • 14 cups all-purpose (plain) flour or bread flour

Instructions

Set the Ankarsrum up for bread dough with roller and scraper. 

Proof yeast in lukewarm water in the mixing bowl. If your kitchen is cool, rinse the bowl with warm water to warm it up first. Activate the mixer briefly to combine. Set aside for 5-10 minutes to allow the yeast to bloom. 

Melt butter in a saucepan. Shake the buttermilk and stir it into the melted butter to bring the butter down to a temperature that is safe for yeast. Test it with a finger, it should just feel warm, if you use a thermometer, 110°F. Add butter mixture to the mixing bowl and then add the honey.

Turn the mixer on low speed, 1:00. Add the first 4 cups of whole wheat flour, then add 2 cups at a time until you have added all the whole wheat. Sprinkle in baking soda and salt. Once those are nicely incorporated, add the white flour a cup at a time until you have a soft dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Hold back some of the flour, you may not need it all! In fact, with the Ankarsrum Assistent, most home bakers find they need less flour than most recipes call for. 

Cover the bowl. Let rest for 5 – 10 minutes. This gives the bran in the whole wheat flour time to hydrate which softens the edges making the dough more elastic.

Set the mixer on low speed again, 1-2:00, and let it knead for 12-15 minutes. Bread dough made with whole grain flour will retain a certain amount of stickiness, like the sticky side of a Post It note. This is okay and does not need to be eliminated. 

When you think you are done kneading, let the dough rest 5 minutes and then perform the windowpane test. Use clean scissors to cut off a walnut-size piece of dough. Slowly pull and stretch the dough to see if it will hold a thin membrane. Hold it up to a window; if you can see light through it, you are done kneading; if not, knead another minute or two, rest 5 minutes, and re-check.

Give the dough a few turns by hand on a lightly greased counter and shape it into a smooth ball. You will need 1-2 extra-large mixing bowls because this amount of dough will climb out of the stainless-steel bowl. 

OPTIONAL: If you have a scale, weigh the bowl, and mark the weight on a piece of tape on the bowl. Grease it well and place dough in the bowl, smooth side up. Now weigh the bowl again. Subtract the weight of the bowl, from the total to determine the weight of the dough. 

Cover the bowl of dough with a clean, lint-free cotton towel or plastic wrap. Allow it to rise in a protected spot until almost doubled, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, grease 7 loaf pans and set aside.

To check if it is done rising, do the poke test: take 2 fingers and gently press the dough. When you withdraw them, the indentation should remain, but the dough should not “sigh” or deflate.

Turn the dough onto the work surface and gently but firmly flatten the entire surface to remove large air bubbles. Use a bench knife or a chef’s knife to divide the dough into 5 equal portions. This is where your scale comes in handy. By weighing the portions, you will have an easier time making even-sized loaves. Each loaf should weigh 800-850 grams. The total weight of your dough can vary, depending on the amount of flour used. If you don’t have a scale, that’s fine. You can eyeball it. 

Shaping: pat a piece of dough into an 8×12-inch rectangle. Fold in thirds like an envelope. Pat it out into a rectangle again, then roll it up from one narrow side. Pinch bottom seam to seal. Place seam side down in prepared loaf pan. 

Cover the pans and let the bread rise until dough curves nicely over the top of the pan, about 45 minutes. Set the oven to 350°F (175°C) to preheat. Most ovens will fit 3 to 4 loaves at one time. Cover the extra loaves with oiled plastic wrap and e them in the fridge to slowly rise and wait their turn in the oven. 

The touch test will help you determine if your bread is ready to bake. Instead of poking your fingers into the dough, this time simply touch the dough. It should barely show your fingerprint.

Bake 35-40 minutes, until each loaf is well-browned and done. To test for doneness, carefully tip the loaf out of the pan and inspect the bottom. The crust should be evenly browned and sound hollow when thumped with a finger. A food thermometer will read 195-200°F (90-93°C). You will want to check each loaf individually to be sure it is baked completely. And if your oven heat doesn’t circulate properly, you may need to rotate the loaves on the rack about 15 minutes before the end of baking time. 

Cool baked loaves on a wire rack for a crisp crust or on a wooden breadboard for a softer crust. If desired, brush warm loaf with melted butter. Wait at least an hour before slicing to allow the crumb to set.

Notes

When making the transition to whole wheat flour one-third whole wheat to two-thirds white flour is a good place to begin. As your and your family’s tastes adapt to appreciate the nutty flavor, you can increase the proportion incrementally until you reach your nutritional goal. You will find that you need to slightly increase the amount of water as you increase the ratio of whole grain flour as the bran is absorbent. 

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