Black rice bread

I’m proud to say that I’m almost at the six-month mark of home-made bread, with some tweaks to make it a process that doesn’t interfere too much with life. Even though I use regular shop-bought yeast (rather than being adventurous with a sourdough starter), making two loaves of bread takes up a good chunk of a day, with two (or sometimes three) sets of time set aside for the bread to rise and another hour or so to bake it and let it cool enough to eat.

But the stuff I do in terms of measuring ingredients, mixing them together and kneading them (by hand) doesn’t actually take that long. The key is to make the bread do its stuff while you are busy doing yours, whether it’s sleeping, or shopping, or just hanging out at home.

Cue slow rising, where you mix and knead the bread before bed, and let it rise, slowly, slowly, slowly, in the refrigerator on a Friday or Saturday night. First thing in the morning, you throw the dough in the tins to let it rise again while you’re doing your morning errands, and then there’s only the baking time that you have to sit around for.

That was my adventure this weekend, with the bonus of using up the leftovers of the black rice I served for Saturday night dinner and kneading it into my first loaf of black rice bread.

The recipe came from All You Knead is Bread, which I bought on the recommendation of one of my bread-baking buddies, and it made one dense, chewy loaf which is yummy with lunchtime sandwiches. I used some wholewheat flour rather than all white, so that added to the denseness, but it’s certainly one to do again.

My other shortcut: I slice the bread as soon as it is cold, and freeze sandwich-ready, two slice portions in ziplocs bags. Come morning, I take out a frozen pack of bread, add my sandwich ingredients and it’s an almost instant brown-bag lunch. And the frozen bread helps keep the lunch cool for a chunk of the morning.

My challenge: not eating it before lunchtime.

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