As often as I make it (about once a week; more than that and I would gain a hundred pounds), homemade bread doesn't cease to amaze me. It starts off as a few simple ingredients - little more than wheat and water - and with just a little bit of mixing and waiting, becomes an elegant and satisfying meal.
Today, I experimented with a new recipe and it came out really nice. The grains give it just a bit of texture - not so much that it gets between your teeth, but just enough to add interest. It's mildly sweet and goes really well with butter or cheese, and the texture is super soft and fluffy. We didn't have any leftover (we never do!) but I suspect it would stay well for at least a couple of days and make for a really good lunch with eggs, cheese, or any other favorite toppings.
Oat and Wheat Sandwich Bread
Substitute molasses or maple syrup for some or all of the honey for a stronger more distinct flavor. You can also change the proportions of white and whole wheat flour.
1/2 cup bulgur wheat
1/2 cup oats
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon dry yeast (or 3 packets)
1 cup whole wheat flour
4 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons oil or melted butter
3-4 cups white flour
Combine the bulgur, oats, and salt with 1 1/2 cups of boiling water in a medium bowl. Cover the bowl with foil and let it stand for 30-45 minutes until the water is absorbed and the mixture is no longer hot.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1/2 cup warm water with the yeast and a bit of honey. Let it sit for a few minutes and then stir in the whole wheat flour. Let the mixture rest for 30-45 minutes or so, while the grains cool.
Once the grains are cool and the flour mixture has proofed for about 30-45 minutes, add the grains to the sponge (that's the yeast/flour/water mix).
Mix till combined. Add the honey, oil, and 3 cups of white flour and use the dough hook to mix for about five minutes, adding flour as needed until the dough is smooth and no longer sticking to the bowl.
Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat the top. Cover and let it rise in a warm place for about two hours or until doubled in size. Punch the dough down and divide it in half. Use a rolling pin or the palms of your hands to flatten each half into a rough oval shape about 8 inches wide in the center. Then, just roll the oval up jelly-roll style (lengthwise) and place each one, seam sides down, in a 9-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray.
Let the loaves rise for about an hour longer.
About 15 minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 350*. Bake the loaves for about 45 minutes, till they are golden and sound kind of hollow when you tap them. Cool the loaves on wire racks (this is important; they will get soggy if you let them cool in the pans) for at least 1/2 hour before serving. You can also wrap the loaves well in foil after they have cooled thoroughly and freeze for up to a month.
See my post on Yeast Spotting.
|Half the risen dough|
|Rolling the dough into an oval|
|Loaves in pans, ready to rise|
|Two baked loaves|