Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes: Cracked wheat bread~

29 01 2011

It’s been foggy here throughout January.  That’s not unusual.  It happens here anytime there’s been reasonably close to “normal” rainfall and can last the entire month…I can remember 21 straight days without seeing the sun one year.  There’s something about the limited visibility, the constant damp chill, and the droplets of water that drip from the trees that makes me crave comfort foods and freshly made bread.  So…I pulled out Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes again, and thumbed through to see what would work with the ingredients I had on hand.  I had some cracked wheat, also known as Bulgar, that I’d just cooked…and plenty of flour and yeast.  And I had enough time to let the dough complete its first cycle.  Bingo!!

I love these recipes.  This is truly a way to have freshly baked bread as often as you want it.  Since I had cooked the bulgar already, I cut back some of the liquid in the recipe…say about 1/3 cup, and I added 1 Tbsp. of sugar.   Even with that, I had to add a lot of extra flour to the recipe.  I think it’s because of the more humid environment.  The flour can’t take on that much more liquid before we start.  I quit adding flour trying to make sure I didn’t get too much flour into the dough a little bit too soon.  That wasn’t totally bad though.  The bread is well structured with a dense, moist interior.  The camera really messed with me this week, or I’d have a picture.  I got 3 loaves out of the recipe and found that 1) cold dough just handles more easily, and 2) slightly wet hands make it easier to handle the dough too.  This really came out too wet to handle with floured hands.  Just remember…I put in cooked cereal, and that added a lot of moisture to the mix.

Tasting Notes~
Oh my goodness!  This is nothing but goodness!  The fact that the cereal was cooked did give us a really moist texture, but that wasn’t at all bad.  It had great flavor and marvelous crust crunch.  I used a baking stone in the oven, and let the dough rest on a polenta covered square of parchment.  The parchment slides easily onto the stone, and then out of the oven.  The parchment isn’t in the oven long enough to completely char (read Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit: 451) before the bread is done.  I put a small pan of water in the oven while the bread baked to crisp up that crunchy crust.  Even though it was moist and dense, the bread cut cleanly and evenly, and went very well with almond butter and jelly, cheese, tuna salad, and hot with butter.  I felt a lot better about the bread we were eating this week.  I knew what grains were in there, and what preservatives aren’t.  I’m going to give the 1o grain bread another try…I found some of the 10 grain cereal.  The fact that a loaf bakes in about 30 minutes (at 450°F) means I can serve it fresh from the oven at supper.  If I’d used a slightly smaller amount of dough, I bet we could have had a fresh loaf every night.  What a concept!  I found the recipe to be just about right for a week’s worth of bread, eaten at lunch and supper, for 2 people.


HB in 5 – Round 3~

15 05 2010

This time I decided to cozy up to a recipe that’s had me intrigued…the 10 Grain Bread.  There is, however, 1 crucial ingredient in this recipe, and that’s Bob’s 10 Grain Cereal…therefore we have an adaptation here.  We have, ahem…5 Grain Bread.  Bob didn’t send all 10 grains to my local market.  Seriously, you can find Bob’s Red Mill products just about everywhere, but you may have to encourage your local market to carry the single product you want (or need).  Not being one to be put off by details, I grabbed the 5 grain cereal, wondering which other 5 grains I was losing out on, and went forth with a passion!

Although I didn’t measure accurately, I measured reasonably accurately, but once again, had a liquid to flour ratio problem.  The dough was extremely wet this time, and didn’t even try to clean the edges of the bowl with all the ingredients added in.   Mulling it over in my mind, and looking at the ingredients, I saw a lot of raw grains that, given 24 hours, would take up a lot of the liquid…but how much?  Back to the mixer, I turned it back up and added whole wheat flour and unbleached bread flour alternately by the handful until the dough suddenly cleaned the edges of the mixer.   While it was still a bit stickier than I’d ordinarily like, there are still all those whole rolled grains in there to take up the extra liquid.  Keeping that in mind, I turned the dough into a container so it could rise and wait until the following day.  This is definitely a wait-until-the-next-day recipe, because the dough was much drier by Day 3, and being cold, handled well.  It shaped relatively easily, and was one of the easiest to move from rising surface to stone.

This particular loaf was scored and sprinkled with chernushka seed.   I haven’t quite gotten acclimated to the flavor of these little seeds yet, but they have an amazing reputation among the Eastern cultures.   The crust had an amazing crunch that was really delightful.  The bread itself, however, is heavy and not prone to the large, open bubble structure found in some artisan breads.  Remember, all that cereal is inside the dough now.  Although it’s one of the heavier loaves, it’s also got a huge amount of fiber and nutrition packed into a small footprint.   It really holds together so making a very thin slice is possible.  It made a lovely grilled cheese filled with muenster.  Of course, a big ol’ hunk dipped in olive oil and herbs is pretty delightful too.  Served toasted with peanut butter and apples (ok, or bananas…), it’s a breakfast on the go…what a bread!  It’ll do until we find the 10 grain cereal!

HB in 5 – Round 2~

13 04 2010

This is my 2nd batch of the basic recipe of Healthy Bread in 5 minutes.   I didn’t measure carefully this time.  I didn’t fluff the flour trying to get a nice airy cup with a perfectly level top.  I scooped with my half cup measure very rustically.  That’s a half cup…well almost; next one needs to be more full.  One cup.  One and a half cups…better short the next half cup a little.   2 cups…generous cups!  You get the idea.   I didn’t quite add all the water either.  I added 2 cups, then 1 cup and a bit more.  I think I had about 3-1/2 cups of liquid in when the sides of the bowl were cleaning nicely.  This loaf formed easily and held it’s shape nicely during rising.  It’s about 8 inches long and 4-5 inches tall, 5-6 inches from side to side at the widest.  Its got a wonderfully crunchy crust…ok…the grains help, I know that, but still.  Baking on a stone with hot water added to a pan a couple of times doesn’t hurt either!  *Ü*

There is a flaw in the bread however.  *sigh*  I confess…the crumb is inappropriate.  It isn’t the holey, tunnel riddled loaf it should be.  Instead it has a more delicate crumb with the slightly moist character anticipated.   It slices beautifully though, and makes excellent toast.  I was able to slice it as thin as 3/8 inch while still warm with a crunchy crust.  Cutting through THAT was a challenge!

I think I know why the bread doesn’t have the right texture…I let it rise in the bowl it mixed in, then turned it into another bowl to go into the fridge, and had to move it one more time.  That much handling may have broken up the action…and without additional fed yeast to grow…that could be a problem.  I’m sure we’re trying another version of this.  I picked up some 5 grain cereal to work with for a recipe.  I couldn’t get the 10 gr. cereal…you know what I tell you about shopping here!  LOL!  It doesn’t always go according to plan…sometimes you have to change the plan a little!

I’m not unhappy with the bread.  It tastes good.  It’s got a bit of the fermented thing going on in the flavor.  It’s got the nuttiness of the whole grains, and I love that.  It’s certainly costing me less than $4.50 to make a loaf…it’s costing maybe $4.50 for the whole batch of 4-5 loaves.  Even if I never get the hang of doing it “right,” I can at least throw a loaf of decent bread together that I’m comfortable serving to friends or family and that holds in the fridge for up to 10 days.  That works for me!

Healthy Bread in 5~Sandwich Rolls

3 04 2010

Round 2 with the basic recipe from HR in 5.  The dough was a little easier to handle today.  There’s a little more flour in it from what I added yesterday as I poured it into the fridge container, and what got sprinkled on it during loaf acquisition.  I think the big thing is that now it’s cold…and timid.  I took dough from opposite corners to try to get 2 similar sized rolls for dinner size sandwiches.  That was the plan.  Again, the dough spread very wide as it rose…part of that was me attempting to slash it, part of it is that it needs more flour.   That dough was just too soft.  Got it.  The seeds on top are amaranth seeds, which are another complete protein grain, smaller even than quinoa.   I let these rise a full 90 minutes, though 60 was plenty.  I set the oven to bake for 30 minutes, but set a timer for 15 minutes to remove the parchment paper, and realized the bread was done.

As it worked out, just one of these huge crusty rolls was enough for both of us to share.  The roll sliced horizontally quite easily once cooled.   We were having them filled with pulled pork slathered with barbecue sauce, so the roll went into the toaster briefly.  The bottom of the roll was covered with 2 slices of provolone cheese and the top was left to toast ever so slightly.  Once the cheese melted, out the roll came.  The cheese was smothered in pulled pork and barbecue sauce and topped with cole slaw.

It’s ok.  You can admit you want a bite.  The two tangy tastes against each other is so good!  I’d always wondered why they put their slaw on their pulled pork in the Carolinas, and now I have an idea.  The only way I’ll really get it is to go there and try the real thing.  Some day.  Until then…I’ll have to settle.  I think I can manage….for now.  And yes…the roll held up to all the getting soggier by the minute goodness to the very end.  What a trooper!

Healthy Bread in 5~The Basic Recipe

2 04 2010

When the Artisan Bread at home every day became popular, I was intrigued.  It was mostly a white bread recipe though.  If I were going to make homemade bread of any sort that often, it would need to have more of a whole grain potential.  The authors must’ve heard my plea…because here it is.   Completely easy, worked like a charm, fat free and in only took minutes to put together….with a KitchenAid.

The principle here is this is no-knead bread.  Basic ingredients are used…flour, yeast, water, salt.  Sometimes sugar, eggs, or oil are added as well.  The dough is well mixed on it’s mixing day, and from there, the gluten develops on its own by being in constant contact with itself in the container.  There’s a little assist from Vital Gluten flour (unless you’re working with a gluten free recipe), but the rest comes from the initial mixing and staying mixed in the refrigerator.  Interesting…  Additionally, if you continue to use the same container for your dough, you’ll start to develop some of the qualities of fermentation as well as time goes by.  Another plus.

The loaf depicted is a Day 1 load made after the dough had rested only a few hours.  At this point, I recommend weighing the flours.  I didn’t get quite as stiff a dough as I’d have liked the first time out.  We’ll see how it feels the next time I use it.   I followed the directions to the letter, this time.  Well…except for slashing.  It was extremely difficult to leave it alone until it was cool enough to slice!

I use polenta on my rising surface rather than cornmeal.  Cornmeal here is more like corn flour.  It doesn’t have enough density to keep the bread from sticking to the surface.  I may try a sheet of parchment next time as well.   As you can see, we got lots of holes, and the desired custardy texture crumb.  Not too bad for the first time out.  I was pleased.  It served well with butter, but was just as yummy with olive oil!  I’m going to try to do a couple of sandwich size rolls the next time for pulled pork sandwiches…I’ll let you know how that works out!

So, this is the first baked product from the basic recipe from HBi5…  Watch this space.  I could really enjoy a small loaf of really good, healthy bread with dinner now and then!!  I’ve got quite a collection of flours and grains, so this could get really fun!