Posts Tagged wholewheat bread

Seriously seedy

One challenge of adding different things to different breads is the number of partially opened packets of Stuff that clutter up the kitchen. I bought poppyseeds for my hugely successful challah a year ago and I haven’t used them since, and even putting flax seeds into my morning oatmeal isn’t making much of a dent in the large pack I bought for $2.50 a while ago. So my latest bread experiment was designed to use some of those seeds up, plus sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and a few hemp hearts (which may, or may not, count as a seed).


I used honey for the sweetener, olive oil for the fat, added some of the liquid that pools to the top in a pot of unflavored Greek yogurt to my warm water and kneaded it all together to get ready for the bake. Flour was a mix of stone-ground organic white, stone-ground organic wholewheat, stone ground organic spelt and rye, because it’s what I had in the pantry.

Then crisis. Counting back to when I had to leave (friend and I had opera tickets for last night), I realised that I didn’t have time for my two loaves to rise, prove and bake. I know yeast dough will rise overnight in the fridge — I’ve done it several times — but a 20-hour fridge-based rise? Short of abandoning the opera (not an option) I didn’t have much choice in the matter.

Let’s just say that the dough rose nicely overnight, but the second rise, the one in the tins, took far, far longer than I thought it would, which meant spending most of the morning waiting to see if I’d get bread, or a doughy brick. But the yeast woke up in the end and I threw the loaves in the oven for the 45-plus minutes they took to cook. If truth be told I probably overdid the cooking by a minute or five — this bread is seriously crusty. But it’s good. So good that I ate the crust (with a smearing of home-made marmalade) and went straight back downstairs to hack off another slice to eat all by itself.


Seriously seedy mixed grain bread (measurements were a little vague. It was one of those days)

A generous 6 cups of flour (I used about 2-1/2 white, 1-1/2 wholemeal, 1 rye and one wholewheat spelt)
Almost 3 cups of warm liquid (mostly water, plus almost half a cup of yogurt whey)
2 tsp dried yeast
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 generous cup of mixed seeds (poppy, sesame, sunflower, hemp and flax. I dry-roasted the sesame seeds first in a cast iron pan until they turned a few notches darker)

Mix the water, honey and yeast with half the flour and leave for a few minutes until it starts bubbling a little.

Add the rest of the flour and the salt and mix/knead until it’s springy. I’m guessing it was 10-15 minutes. Knead in the oil, and then the seeds.

Allow to rise (in a warm kitchen, or in my case in the fridge for a very, very long overnight).

Knock the dough down and put in greased loaf pans.

Allow to rise again.

Bake, at 425F for the first 15 minutes, and then at 375F for 30 minutes or so until the bread is sounds hollow when you take it out of the oven and tap the base. I like to put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes without the tins, just to firm up the crust a little. (Just don’t do as I did, and forget to take them out.)

Have the patience to wait for it to cool down before you cut and eat.

Of course, having started this bread to use up seeds, I bought both sesame and sunflower seeds to add to the variety, which is something else to use up. Anyone got sesame seed recipes? Things to cook with sunflower seeds?

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Best bread yet

My latest bread-baking attempt has to be my best bread yet, a dark, tasty, chewy loaf with a large hint of je ne sais quois (it’s the cocoa and the nutmeg). I adapted my wheatberry bread from early September to use farro, a high-protein ancient grain that I’ve used before for a filling breakfast cereal. And I cut the water, yeast, honey and fat to streamline the recipe a bit.

The new bread works equally well with sandwiches (cheese, avocado and horseradish today) as it did yesterday with peanut butter and the very last of my home made quince jelly.

Amazingly, seriously yummy.

Farro bread

2 cups farro
3 cups warm water
3 tsp dried yeast
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup honey
3 cups white bread flour
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup oatmeal

Cook the farro until tender (I gave it about 20 minutes in a pressure cooker) and drain, reserving the water to use in the bread. Measure out 4 cups of cooked berries. Chop them roughly in a food processor (maybe a little less roughly than I chopped — see tooth story below).

Top up the water that’s left from from cooking the farro to get 3 cups of liquid. Mix in the yeast, oil, honey and beat in 2 cups of the flour, along with the cocoa, nutmeg and salt, and allow it to sit for 10 minutes or so until it starts to bubble. Add the rest of the flour and then the farro and the oatmeal and knead until it comes together into one smooth, glossy ball.

Allow to rise until doubled in size.

Punch down, divide into two bread tins and rise again.

Bake for 15 minutes at 425 and then for about 30 at 375, until the loaves sound hollow when you take them out of the tin and tap them. I think I could have baked mine a little longer.

But let me offer a word of warning. The farro inside the bread is soft, chewy and delicious, but the grains on the outside are crisp enough that I cracked a well-filled tooth. and will probably need a horribly costly crown. (Edit: Dentist fixed tooth. No crown needed.)

Make this bread, and enjoy it. But eat it carefully.

No picture. It looks a bit like the wheatberry bread.

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Bread for the cheese

Sometimes the oddest stuff turns to surprising success, and my latest bread experiment turned into the best bread yet, although the dough was initially so runny that it threatened to flow off the countertop and onto the floor.

It started with a random purchase of soft wheat berries at a food store that was actually open on Labor Day, and ended, after an internet search and a few moments of panic, with a dark, moist and chewy bread.

My recipe came from East of Eden Cooking and looking over things I wondered briefly if a missing dash could have caused the sloppy mess. The recipe calls oddly for 11/3 cups of water (3-2/3 cups?). Could that have been 1-1/3 cups? Or was it the fact that I knead by hand and the recipe wants a machine? Or because I skipped the whole grain wheat cereal, and added a cup of smelt flakes instead? (I also substituted coconut oil, my fat of the moment, for butter, so that also added moisture.) Or did I just not read the recipe properly? It does tell you to add flour one spoon at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Anyways I kept pouring in flour until my mess was firm enough to handle (probably an extra cup by the end of the story), baked my three loaves for about twice as long as the recipe says and love the results. Definitely one to make again.


Here, with grateful thanks to Deborah at East of Eden, is what I did.

Wheatberry bread

2 cups soft wheatberries
3-2/3 cups warm water
4 tsp dried yeast
2/3 cups coconut oil
2/3 cup honey
3 cups bread flour
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup flaked smelt

Soak the wheatberries overnight and then cook them for about 45 minutes until tender. You will need 4 cups of cooked berries — I had enough left over for a small lunchtime salad. Chop the berries roughly in a food processor.

Mix the yeast with the water and allow to sit for 10 minutes or so. Mix in the oil, honey and 2 cups of the flour, along with the cocoa, nutmeg and salt. Add the rest of the flour and then the wheatberries  and knead until it comes together into one smooth, glossy ball. This took a long time, and I’d guess I added another cup of flour as I kneaded things.

Allow to rise until doubled in size.

Punch down, divide into three bread tins and rise again.

Bake for something over an hour at 350F. (Recipe says 35-40 minutes, and I think I could have baked this one another 20 minutes without doing any harm).

Moist, chewy, very very delicious, and the sweetness and the cocoa turn it into the perfect pairing for virtually any type of cheese.

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It’s my life!

Followers of this blog will know that I’ve been on a serious bread baking binge for months, and I’m amazed at the proceeds. I experimented with different flours, different add-ins and different amounts of yeast, and the sandwiches have been awesome. Bread with chestnut flour was particularly tasty (even the cat liked it), but some combination of wholewheat flour and steel-cut oats seems to be my favorite right now.

But let’s face it, making bread takes time, and there were Saturdays when I felt that all I did was wait for bread, which took a serious chunk out of the rest of my weekend life. The workflow goes something like this:

  • measure out ingredients (a few minutes)
  • wait for the yeast to start frothing (15 minutes, perhaps)
  • mix and knead (another 15 minutes)
  • wait for the mix to rise (2 hours, 3 hours, often longer)
  • knock down, prepare for baking (a few minutes)
  • wait for the loaves to rise (another couple of hours)
  • heat oven, bake (an hour, almost)
  • wait for the loaves to cool (longer than you think)
  • slice and eat (no time at all)

The challenge was to tame that workflow so that my bread was a slave to me rather than the other way around. It took a bit of planning, but it’s worked surprisingly well – it was the method for the hugely successful black rice bread from a few weeks back, but it works for more than that. My thanks to a few recipe books, and to the Brit over at Alliums for his inspiration. The faults, such as they are, are mine.

The answer lies in forgetting everything your mother ever told you about yeast dough imploding at the merest hint of a chill. It’s heat that kills yeast, not cold, the experts say now. So rather than waiting around for my bread dough to double in size, I make my dough on a Friday night and throw it in the fridge overnight. Come Saturday, I take the vastly expanded dough out of the fridge, squidge it into loaf tins and then go off and run my morning errands while it warms up and then starts rising again.

By the time I’m back from the market, and maybe from a bike ride too, it’s ready to bake.

I am no longer a slave to my bread. It’s my bread that’s a slave to me.

Anyone want some (home-made) marmalade on (home-made) toast? And anyone got other tips to help me claim back my life?

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