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Whey Tasty: Italian Feather Bread!

March 27, 2012

Well, after the epic cheese success, I decided to forge ahead with another new recipe, Italian Feather Bread-made with whey. PERFECT. Not only do I get to use up a little bit of the leftover whey from the Mozzarella Experiment, I also get some nice warm bread to enjoy with my cheese! Mmmm, it reminds me all over again of those picnic lunches we enjoyed during the Great Ireland Adventure.

I started making this bread the minute I put my cheese in the refrigerator, in fact, my whey was still hot enough to melt the butter without being reheated. Yeh, I was speedy, but don’t worry, I didn’t rush the rising time.

I have to say, there was a time at which I have to admit, I was a little terrified of yeasted bread. And now, while I have a ways to go to feel like I know all of the ins and outs, I definitely feel much more confident in my ability to create the right dough consistency, judge the kneading time and know when it is through rising and finished baking. Success!

So, if you have any worries of your own on the yeasty side of baking, try this bread, it’s actually pretty simple. The knead time is relatively short (saving you the fear of under or over kneading) and the shaping is easy..just roll it up! But it’s a little fancier than a round loaf that is simply shaped into a ball. Go on, you’ll impress people.

Italian Feather Bread:

2.5 tsp yeast

1Tbsp sugar

1 cup warm water

1/3 cup butter

¾ cup hot whey (you can sub in milk)

1 tsp salt

5 ½ – 6 cups flour (I used 3 cups AP and 2.5 cups WW)

Directions:

Mix warm water, sugar and yeast together in a large bowl, stir once or twice and let sit for 8-10min for the yeast to bloom. Meanwhile, if your whey isn’t already hot, toss it in the microwave for 45seconds or until it is hot enough to melt the butter. Cut butter into small pieces and drop into the hot whey, wait for butter to melt and the mixture to cool off a bit then add salt. Once the yeast is bloomed, add whey mixture to the yeast, stir vigorously for a few seconds. Add flour one cup at a time, stirring constantly. The dough will still be a little sticky, but starting to come away from the bowl. Turn out on floured surface and knead for 4-5min or until smooth and soft. Form into a ball and let sit for 10min. Meanwhile, grease a large cookie sheet and sprinkle liberally with cornmeal. Cut the ball of dough in half and roll each piece into a 12×8” rectangle. Roll each one up tightly from the wide side (so you get two 12” loafs), place them on the cookie sheet and let them rise for 50-60min or until doubled. (I usually do this in the cool oven with the light on and remove them when I start the preheat).

Preheat oven to 400F. Bake bread for 20-30min or until a hollow sound happens when you tap on the bottom of the loaf.

Yum! I got the recipe out of the back of the book that came with the cheese making kit. It was nice to see that Ricki (the cheese queen) is just as worried as me about the excessive amounts of whey that comes with making cheese..so shes gives us a great alternative to throwing it out by throwing it into this recipe. The bread came out as a cross between denser sandwich bread and lighter, fluffier brioche types of bread. An excellent consistency, slightly sweet (maybe the whey?) and super yummy with some jelly spread on it right out of the oven!

An update on my search for uses of leftover whey:

I found that you can sub whey for almost any bread/baked good calling for milk (alternately, you can sub milk for the whey in the recipe above). You can use it in soups and stews to add protein AND you can cook grains and pastas in it in lieu of water. All very interesting. I think I am most interested to try using it in lieu of milk for baking. I also read that it is good for watering some plants and also for adding to your compost…I will do a bit more research on that before I feed Cameron (our verm-bin) any whey.

Enjoy!

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