Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Whole Grain Bread

I got several cookbooks for my birthday. I've been slowly trying out new recipes and experimenting in the kitchen. One thing I rarely do is bake. Even rarer than that is bread baking. Before trying this recipe, I had made bread with yeast 2 other times....once when I was 12 and my grandmother insisted that I learn how to make the portuguese bread fular, otherwise the 'family secret' of 1 lb of butter would die with her....and one time when I made foccacia bread and decided it was WAY to much work to do and much easier to just buy it from a store.

These past experiences (the fular situation was a day long endeavor), made me think that bread baking should be left to grandma's who don't work, and bakers whose sole livelihood was the cultivation of crispy crusts and tender insides. That's where Mark Bittman (Food Matters) comes in. His no-work whole grain bread was immediately interesting to me. No work? could this compete with the 'no-work' of picking a loaf from Trader Joe's artisanal bread selection?

Well, yes, I think so. All I had to do was mix the flour, yeast, and water in a large bowl while I was drinking my morning coffee...(sorry, you get no measurements from me. Buy Bittman's book, its worth it for this recipe - and several others...and I don't want him to sue me for copyright infringement).

I covered the bowl with plastic wrap, got ready for work, and left the house....I came home about 12 hours later to a bowl full of bubbling goo. Next step? move the goo to an oiled loaf pan, sprinkle the top with oil and cornmeal....cover and leave it alone for another hour. After 1-2 hours...bake. And here's the result.

Look at that crumb, and crust! Bittman was NOT kidding. I think i spent a total of 10 minutes of active time putting this whole loaf together...and I'm including the cleaning of the bowl.
Now, this will not replace all of my bread needs. Because of the texture of the dough, you can only really make a loaf out of it. It's definitely whole grain, a little dense, but its very good for toast and sandwiches. I bet it makes great croutons too. For the amount of work (or lack thereof) it will definitely continue to make an appearance in my kitchen.

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