Saturday, February 26, 2011

Why that's "Mom's Hearty Bread!"

Today I tried a new recipe. From my fun new book I got for Christmas called
  Kneadlessly Simple by Nancy Baggett
(I often wonder if she went into bread because of her name, or if this just not THE perfect pen name for a baker?) The title of the bread is "Brown and Wild Rice Crunch Bread" from page 150. That's not what it was called at the table tonight--when asked Daddy answered in his best cowpoke drawl, 

"Why, that's called Mom's Hearty Bread!!"

We all just loved it! I think you'll like it too, if you are into healthy eating.

This book is not written for the already-amazing baker or the run-through-the-drive-thru-eater because these recipes are probably too simple for the expert and way too time consuming for the person who wants the immediate loaf. But for me, it's been just about right.

I thought I'd share this recipe tonight because we all chowed down on it. I served it with a green salad and some beans/canned tomatoes/ham/onion in my crockpot meal that I made early today. (That needs a name!) If you are mildly patient and enjoy the thrill of presenting your own version of food-love at the table, then give this loaf a try. (And tell me about it later. :))

brown and wild rice crunch bread
[My experience is written like this!]

"Note that because brown rice is used uncooked, it must be ground into a flour for this recipe. Either a blender or clean coffee or spice grinder will work; [I used my Magic Bullet] a food processor blade isn't thin enough for the job. The mixture should end up mostly powdery, but for a little crunch, leave some particles the size of corn grits. (Larger bits will be too hard on the teeth.) Due to its popcorn-like aroma and flavor, brown basmati rice is especially appealing in this bread, but any variety of long-grain brown rice will do."

1 1/4 c whole wheat flour, plus more as needed

1 1/4 c unbleached white bread flour

1/2 c uncooked, unseasoned long-grain brown rice and
wild rice blend (or just brown rice), ground fairly fine after measuring

1 Tbs granulated sugar

1 generous tsp table salt

3/4 tsp instant, fast-rising or bread machine yeast

1 Tbs oil (flavorless like corn, canola or vegetable)
and more for brushing the top

1 1/3 c ice water, more if needed

FIRST RISE: In a large bowl, throroughly stir together the whole wheat and bread flour, ground rice, sugar, salt and yeast. In another bowl, whisk the oil into the water. Vigorously stir the mixture into the bowl with the flours, scraping down the sides and mixing until well blended and smooth. If the ingredients are too dry to mix together, gradually add in just enough more ice water to facilitate mixing; don't over-moisten as the dough should be stiff. If necessary, add in more whole wheat flour to stiffen it. Brush or spray top with oil. Tightly cover bowl with plastic wrap. If desired, for best flavor or convenience, refrigerate 3-10 hours. Then let rise at cool room temperature 18-24 hours.

SECOND RISE: Vigorously stir the dough, adding more whole wheat flour if needed to stiffen it, then carefully scrape down the sides. Using a well-oiled spatula, fold the dough in towards the center, working all the way around the bowl. Invert the dough into a generously oiled 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan. Brush or spray the dough top with oil. Smooth and press out the dough with well-oiled fingertips so it evenly fills the pan and is smooth on top. [Oops, didn't do this!] Using a well-oiled serrated knife, make 5 or 6 evenly spaced 1/4" deep crosswise slashes along the top of the loaf. Cover the pan with non-stick coated plastic wrap.

Let rise using any of these methods: For a 2-3 hour regular rise, let stand at warm room temperature [hard to do in Ohio February!]; for a 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 hour accelerated rise [this is me!] let stand in a turned off microwave along with 1 cup of boiling water; or for an extended rise, refrigerate 4-24 hours, then set out at room temperature. Continue the rise until the dough nears the plastic, then remove it and let the dough rise until 1 inch above the pan rim. [I couldn't wait any longer! Hence my shorter loaf!]

Baking Preliminaries: 15 minutes before baking time, put a rack in lower third of the oven; preheat to 400 degrees F.

Baking: Bake on the lower rack for 35-45 minutes, or until the top is well browned. Continue baking for 15-20 munutes more, covering to prevent over-browning, until a skewer inserted in the thickets part comes out with just a few particles clinging to the bottom portion (or the center registers 206-208 degrees F on instant read thermometer.) Then bake 5-10 minutes more to be sure the center is done. [Yeah, I didn't do that. Bell rang, I forgot, came running and pulled it out later. It was great!] Cool the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then turn out the loaf onto the rack and cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. [You already know I didn't do that either. We sat down and ate it up!!]

Serving and Storing: The loaf slices best when cool, but the bread is good served warm [Yes it is!!] or at room temperature. Cool completely before storing airtight in plastic or foil. Keeps at room temperature for 3 days, and may be frozen, airtight, for up to 2 months.

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