Saturday, May 28, 2011

tenacious bread

Lisssn: I have been rocking the grain salads: some kind of whole grain, olives, sundried tomatoes. Whole Foods bulk aisle and I are buddies. Even SPELT and I are buddies. Grain salads make me feel like some kind of Mediterranean goddess, all swarthy and feta cheese. From quinoa to spelt to wheat berries... to buckwheat groats. The other day I got up and put on a pot of grains and didn't measure, just threw in some kasha and spelt and, apparently, too much water. And it got crazy overcooked and sloppy gloppy. I made gruel. And my sanctimonious bulk-items-in-glass-containers grin fell. I tried to bake this glop into a kind of crisp bottom layer for crostini. I tried to fry it into fake arancini (but with neither breadcrumbs or egg: failure). And, finally, I baked it into bread. And it's delicious. So while this won't allow you to feel awesome about yourself for not eating refined carbohydrates, it is a great way to use up leftover grains. It still has that kasha funkiness, but this time in a good way.

(via James Beard's oatmeal bread)

2 cups or so of leftover grains
4 cups flour
2 1/2 t yeast (2 packets, if you aren't a baller who buys bulk yeast)
1 T salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk

Proof the yeast with the warm water (just hotter than body temp) and a tablespoon of sugar for about five minutes.

Add your grains, the milk, salt sugar, mix it up. Knead in the flour. The dough will be really sticky, add flour and knead for like 10 minutes until it is shiny and elastic. Then let it rise for about 2 hours, until doubled in size and not rising any more.

Punch it down, shape it into 2 loaves, plop into greased loaf pans, and let rise again until they fit in the bread pans, about an hour.

Bake at 375 for 40-50 minutes, until golden brown and hollow-sounding when you knock on it. Then take the loaves out of the pans and let the sides crisp up for another 5 or 10 minutes.

Right now I am totally obsessed with Marmite, so this bread basically exists as a plate for the mouth-stinging, umami goodness that is Marmite. Every 15 minutes or so I sneak into the kitchen and spread myself another slice. But the bread has a nice crumb and is suitable for all kinds of sandwiches: of the ludicrously British variety or no.

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