Monday, May 16, 2011

Whole Wheat, Oat Bran, Rye and Barley "Broom" Bread

This bread will be traveling with me to work this week, where it will be sliced, toasted and topped with watercress/walnut/tomato pesto, nova lox and sliced avocado.

I adapted this recipe from Peter Reinhart's Oat Bran Broom Bread, from his book, Whole Grain Breads. This is a great book, one I highly recommend to anybody interested in baking with whole grains. The focus of most of the recipes is on developing flavor through a multiple-day fermenting process. I made the addition of whole grain rye and barley flours, substituted sunflower seeds for flax seeds (the Omega 3 benefit of flax seeds, by the way, is highly overstated. You'll get much more bio-available Omega 3 fatty acids from fatty fish or fish oil capsules; if you want to really nerd out on why this is, check out Susan Allport's The Queen of Fats) and multiplied the recipe by 1.5 to fit my loaf pan. I like to go by weight on everything, specifically by gram for maximum accuracy and control. If you don't have a good electronic scale that measures in grams, well... Pick one up.

275g Whole wheat flour
42g Oat bran, finely ground (I pulverize mine in a coffee grinder)
40g Sunflower seeds
1 tsp Salt
300g Water

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl with a wooden spoon or your fingers, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and leave at room temperature for 18-24 hrs.

200g Whole wheat flour
70g Rye flour
70g Barley flour
1/2 tsp Instant/rapid rise yeast
250g Water

Knead all of the ingredients together in a bowl with wet hands until incorporated, about 2 or 3 minutes. Let rest for five minutes, then knead again for 1 or 2 minutes. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 18-24 hours.

Remove the pre-ferment from refrigerator 2 hours prior to assembling final dough.

Final Dough:
Soaker, chopped into small pieces
Pre-Ferment, chopped into small pieces
85g Whole wheat flour
1 tsp Salt
3 1/2 tsp Instant/rapid rise yeast
4 Tbsp Honey
1 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
Extra whole wheat flour for adjustment

Combine chopped soaker, pre-ferment and the rest of the ingredients (except for extra flour) in a bowl and knead together with wet hands until incorporated, 2 or 3 minutes. Dust a work surface with flour, toss out the dough and roll to coat with flour. Knead for 5 minutes, then allow to rest for 5 minutes while you oil a clean bowl. Knead the dough for another minute or two, incorporating extra flour until dough is soft and smooth, but still a bit tacky. Place in oiled bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise for an hour, to about one and a half to two times its size.

Punch down the dough (this involves not actual punching, but rather folding folding the dough in thirds to reduce it to more or less the original volume), shape the dough to roughly the shape and size of a 5.5" X 10.5" X 3" loaf pan, transfer into pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise for another 30-60 minutes, until dough has risen about an inch above the top of the pan, about one and a half times its size.

While dough is going through its second rise, preheat your oven to 425F. Place a medium sized oven proof bowl filled with hot water on the oven's top rack. Once the dough has risen, reduce the oven temperature to 360F and place the loaf pan into the oven, on a middle or lower rack or directly onto a baking stone. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn 180 degrees and bake for another 20-30 minutes, until an instant read thermometer inserted into the bread reads 195-200F.

Remove bread from oven, cool for at least an hour (I like to use fan, as you can see in the photo, to speed the cooling process up a bit), then eat it!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Virginia's latest political limerick

Osama Bin Laden is dead,
by firing squad executed.
The US, with pride,
proves he’ll no longer hide,
from the evils he damnably bred!

Nice work, Aunt Jinj!