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.
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.