Cracked Wheat Bread, page 129, July 26, 2015

Time to bake yet another high-fiber loaf to give away this next week.

This recipe uses molasses as the sweetening agent, so that will add an entirely different flavor profile to this grainy loaf.

An hour before I was to begin, I poured 3/4 cup boiling water over 1/2 cup cracked wheat in a bowl.  To that, I added 3 tablespoons molasses, 2 tablespoons butter and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.  That was then left to stand for 1 hour at room temperature to soften the grain.

After the hour was up, ingredients went into the bread machine pan in the following order:  The cracked wheat mixture, 3/4 cup water, 2 2/3 cups bread flour, 1/3 cup whole wheat flour, 1 tablespoon gluten and 2 1/2 teaspoons SAF yeast. (Depending on the instructions for your machine, just be sure to include the cracked wheat mixture as a liquid.)

The cookbook calls for this to be baked using the medium crust and basic bread cycle.  I really wavered about using the whole wheat cycle instead, but decided to follow the instructions.  Ms. Hensperger is the expert here.

I noticed as this was mixing and then kneading, that the dough ball looked really wet, so I sprinkled it with another tablespoon or so of flour and that seemed to help.  We shall see if that helped or hindered this loaf later on.

With just over an hour to go, the loaf looked beautiful through the window on the top of my bread machine.  Then, it cratered.  What a disappointment.  This could have been due to any number of things, the extra flour, the cycle I used, not adding enough extra flour, even my machine itself.  I will still use this as a loaf for someone else, just for someone who loves me enough to ignore a crater loaf.

No photos, you’ve seen one crater, you’ve seen them all.

Here are the results of the taste test:

“Good, I like the grains in it.  Needs butter.”

“Very good I put some mozz cheese on it and popped it in the toaster – I’m in love.”

“Chewy, I liked it with butter!”

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Polenta-Sunflower-Millet Bread, page 153, June 7, 2015

I feel like making another whole grain, or as the cookbook author described this one, “crunchy munchy” loaf to give away.  I can’t eat the whole grains myself, so as the last few get togethers have seen me handing out nutty or cheesy breads, this time it will be whole grains.  My mom will be coming home in the next couple of weeks, and I know she loves grainy bread, so I will  have this loaf waiting at her house when she gets there.  I am going to make 2 loaves of this, and also send one to my sister’s workplace so I can try and redeem myself after the too-dry Walnut and Fig loaf.

Ingredients for this loaf are:  1 1/8 cups water, 3 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons sunflower seed oil, 2 1/2 cups bread flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup polenta, 3 tablespoons whole raw millet, 3 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds, 1 1/2 tablespoons gluten, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 3/4 teaspoons SAF yeast.

I am opting to substitute pistachio oil for the sunflower seed oil in this recipe.  I can’t see buying sunflower seed oil, when I already have so many great nut oils on hand, and I only need 2 tablespoons.  I did a “smell test” and decided the scent of the pistachio oil reminds me most of sunflower seeds.

I thought I would do some research for information about the health benefits of whole grain breads to include in this post.  However, the best thing I found was a quote from the late, Robin Williams:

“The first time I ate organic whole-grain bread I swear it tasted like roofing material.”

Hmmmm, not a really great advertisement for the benefits of whole grain, but I will have many more opportunities for that in the future.  This quote was just too funny not to share.

IMG_4159In the machine, this dough looks to have really great potential.  Just the kind of bread my mom usually likes.

Ms. Hensperger mentions in the recipe that, “If you find the little nubs too crunchy, just soak the millet in hot water for fifteen minutes and drain before adding to the bread dough.”

I did not take this step, and opted to follow the recipe as written.  If, when Mom tries it, she finds it too crunchy, I will be sure to add that information to this post.

The loaf smelled great while baking.  It did not rise as much as I had hoped it would.  When I bake my second loaf of this, tomorrow, itIMG_20150607_204331_hdrwill be interesting toIMG_20150607_204150_hdr compare the two, and see if the other one rises any better.

I baked the second loaf today and there is no difference.  The look and texture of the bread reminds me of Poulsbo bread from the Franz baking company.

“A bit dried out, otherwise liked.”
“I thought it was great, I wish I had honey on it.”
“Dry, but flavor is good, perfect amount of seeds.”
“Not a fan, not much flavor. I love the seeds and nuts but overall kinda bland.”

This loaf spent some time in the freezer, so I expected to hear dry in the tasting comments.  This is not a surprise.  I did learn something though; if you are freezing bread, wrapping it tightly in foil will keep it better than storing it in a plastic bread bag.