Whole Wheat Bread

July 17, 2007

Yesterday I was trying out a terra cotta bread pan that I have, and used the Whole Wheat Bread recipe on the label. It was British, and called for one pound of flour – so I had to guess a little. Everything else was clear though: 2 tsp. salt, 1 ounce of olive oil, 2 Tbs. honey, 1 cup warm water (it actually said tepid, which I guess means lukewarm), and a package of yeast. I guessed that 2 cups was about a pound, and then kept adding it until it didn’t stick as I kneaded it.

The differences with this recipe from every other one I have seen is that you never punched down the dough, but just put it in the oven after it had doubled in size. I guess that is because it was whole wheat and really dense, so maybe the second rise would have taken forever. Also, it was a 450 degree oven. That is pretty hot.

All is well that ends well, though. The bread had a nice crust and was tasty. The only thing is that it was very dense, like all other whole wheat breads that I have found. They taste great after toasting with a little butter, or as an aside to soup or chili, but I would really like to find a way to make a fluffy, light whole wheat loaf. If anyone knows of a recipe that calls for all whole wheat, let me know.

I have one idea: mix the ingredients and then put them in the refrigerator in the morning to let it rise slowly all day, and then go from there. I think that the longer time would develop the flavor more and perhaps make it a little lighter. Who knows. Really though, does anyone have any ideas.?


Unbleached Flour

July 10, 2007

I despise bleached flour, as it is a clever way to hide CLOROX or GASOLINE in your bread. Yes, the chemical compounds of the bleach that they use in preparing bleached flour are the same as that of clorox or gas. Think about that the next time you are biting into one of those fluffy hot dog buns.

However, this is not to say that all white flours are equally nutrient averse. While most white flours are seriously devoid of vitamins, fiber or any other good-for-you substance, UN-bleached white flour does not have the extra toxicity that bleached flour does.

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Sundried Tomato Bread

July 10, 2007

I am a veritable black hole for bread cookbooks. It seems that ever since I got a reputation for being the “guy who makes bread…from scratch,” that bread books find their way into my kitchen. Sometimes they just show up, unannounced and with no explanation. So, I take them in being the kind soul that I am.

The other day I tried to make an olive loaf from one of the mystery books. Seemed simple enough – 2 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1 Tbs olive oil, 1/2 t salt, 1 pkg yeast, 1 cup lukewarm water, and 1 cup olives. Mix, let rise, punch down, let rise, bake. Bam, its done.

The only thing is, I didn’t have olives, so I just thought that I would substitute sun dried tomatoes. Good idea right? Well not really. Because what they don’t tell you on the sun dried tomato package is that once you bake those suckers, the ones on the outside of the loaf turn into volcanic ash.

You would think that I would say, “man this is going in the garbage” and throw it away. Yet, somehow the anti-waste Nazi in me keeps on eating the bread. In fact, I ate some for breakfast this morning on the way to work.

The moral of the story – watch those sneaky cookbooks who look so innocent, but don’t warn you that to stray from their precious ingredients is to eat volcanic ash.