Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Bread Experiment

Yay! Okay, I should probably wait until the end of this post to tell you how the oatmeal-version of this bread turned out, but I am much too happy and excited to wait that long. It's good.

Ultimately, I decided to use 1 cup of oats for the 1 cup of flour being replaced. I did this because I decided NOT to soak the oats first, which you can do for very moist and soft oatmeal breads, because I read somewhere that not soaking results in a more textured bread. I also thought that the 3/4 cup of oats I originally planned for may not expand to my liking, which may be entirely false. I suppose it doesn't really matter.

I thought that to achieve the same texture as the original Mom's Multigrain bread, the addition of oats would require more water, but this was not the case. I dissolved the yeast in a half cup of water, then added another cup and a half to the dough. A few good stirs and it was fully moist and combined.

I am afraid that photos of this bread really won't do it justice. It's beautiful in a hearty, rustic way though, and I do believe I will be making it this way from now on.

The only other change I made was to the yeast content. I used 2 packets of yeast, which are slightly different in size. One claims to be especially for whole grains, but that just means there is 25% more of it. I don't think this difference would change the character of the bread very much. This bread will always be fairly dense, but for me that's much of the appeal.

For those of you watching at home, the final recipe is this:

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup bulgur (cracked) wheat
1/2 cup flax seed
2 cups water
2 packets of yeast; "whole grain" or non

Dissolve the yeast in half a cup of the water. Mix it all up, cover it, and let it rise for 12 hours before baking in a covered, pre-heated baking container at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. YUM.

Edit: This is a very moist bread. You can experiment with the baking time, if you would prefer it to be less so. Personally, I think it is best toasted and lightly buttered.

In pursuit of the full whole-grain experience, I am also interested in replacing either some flour or some oats with brown rice - previously cooked, of course. While flax is arguably one of the healthiest possible bread ingredients, and is already featured prominently in this bread, I love the idea of a fully-loaded multigrain bread that uses just enough (wheat!) flour to keep everything together.

Quote of the Day: “If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.” ~ Robert Browning

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