Thursday, September 27, 2007

Kevin: Sandwich Rye Bread Recipe

Sandwich Rye

A few years ago I made a sourdough rye bread using wild yeast that I captured and cultured. I made a decent bread from it, albeit rather tough and coarse, but I already had a sourdough culture I was caring for and decided I didn't need twins in my life. Nevertheless, I do love a good sour rye bread for sandwiches and so I eventually got around to coming up with a good sandwich rye.

The trick with rye bread is that rye is low in glutenin. Gluten is a combination of two primary protein molecules, glutenin and gliadin. Glutenin provides stretchability and gliadin provides plasticity. In the presence of water, glutenin in particular can bind to other glutenin molecules at each end (forming even longer chains) and to other molecules in the center. By kneading dough you encourage the glutenin molecules to make these links and thus you get bread dough's ability to rise. Gliadin molecules, in turn, enable the glutenin to maintain it's shape. This combination of glutenin and gliadin is what we usually mean by the single word "gluten."

A couple of other key factors affect the way bread rises. Acid weakens the gluten bonds, which is why sourdoughs are often denser breads than yeast breads. On the other hand, salt strengthens the bonds.

Because rye flour is low in glutenin it doesn't stretch well and so pure rye bread tends to be dense and heavy — and sourdough rye particularly so. This means that to make a good sandwich-type bread with an open, generous crumb using rye the rye needs to be an ingredient rather than the primary flour.

I did some research and found a bread machine recipe that I decided to adapt. Based on what I knew and what I desired I came up with the following recipe.

This is the least pure recipe I've made, by which I mean that I include a couple of additives in the bread: sour salt and wheat gluten. Both of these are natural products — or at least occur naturally.

Click to enlarge.

Sour salt is actually citric acid, which is the acid found in lemons, limes, and other citrus fruits. I like a slightly acid flavor in rye because it complements both the rye flavor and the caraway seeds that, to me, are essential in a good sandwich rye. You could simply add lemon or lime juice but I didn't want the flavors associated with the juice, instead I wanted the pure taste of acid on the tongue. Wheat gluten is what it says, gluten extracted from wheat (ideally without any melamine, so stay away from Chinese wheat gluten). The wheat gluten would enable me to bump the proportion of rye flour and still get a good sandwich loaf.

Sandwich Rye
Makes 1 loaf.

Ingredient US volume Metric Volume US weight Metric weight
rye flour 1 c 235 ml 5 1/8 oz 146 g
bread flour 2 1/4 c 530 ml 11 1/2 oz 330
instant yeast 1 tsp 5 ml -- --
wheat gluten 1 1/2 tbsp 22 ml -- --
citric acid (sour salt) 1/4 tsp 1 ml -- --
caraway seeds 2 tbsp 30 ml -- --
molasses 1 1/2 tbsp 22 ml -- --
butter melted 1 tbsp 15 ml -- --
table salt 3/4 tsp 4 ml -- --
water 1 c + 2 tbsp 2.6 dl 9 oz 256 g
Egg Wash:
egg 1 -- -- --
water 1 tbsp 15 ml -- --

In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, mix together the yeast, gluten, citric acid, caraway seeds, rye flour, and 2 cups (530 ml) of bread flour. Add salt and mix in. (Note, the salt is added after mixing the original ingredients to minimize it's direct contact with the yeast, which it can kill).

In a measuring cup, mix together water, molasses, and butter using a small whisk. With the motor running at low speed, pour liquid into dry ingredients. Once moistened, switch to the dough hook and finish blending. The dough should be moist and sticky, add just enough additional flour, a tablespoon at a time, to have dough clear the sides of the bowl. Increase speed to medium and knead for eight minutes. (Note, dough will clear sides but stick to bottom, scrape it up with a rubber spatula every couple of minutes.)

Scoop dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly a few times then form into a ball. Place the dough in a bowl sprayed with cooking oil, spritz top with oil, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk — about 1 1/2 hours.

Gently deflate dough, scoop onto a lightly floured surface, fold a few times, and allow to relax for about five minutes. Shape dough into a loaf and place on a piece of parchment on your peel or on a baking sheet. Lightly spritz tops with oil and cover with plastic. Allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. In the meantime, heat oven to 400F (200C) and place rack in center position. (Note: it's important to give the oven a long preheat before baking, particularly if you're using a baking stone.)

Whisk together egg and 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Brush loaf with egg wash and bake for 15 minutes. Rotate rack front to back and continue baking 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. The interior should read 190F on an instant read thermometer.
The bread makes a great ham sandwich. And I've made buns for bratwursts using it — a perfect flavor match for the brats with a dollop of mustard and some onions and peppers.


Labels: , , ,

Click here to continue reading the post and comments...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Beth: Honey wheatBerry Bread Recipe

honey 'n wheatBerries

He’s as sweet as Skamokawa honey
Just like honey from the bee.
Tupelo Honey, with apologies to Van Morrison

Sometimes it is, as the kids say, all about the boy.

We all know people who have done odd things for love: run up multi-thousand phone bills, changed names and careers, moved to a city they would never have considered otherwise, or tried to replicate a mass-market loaf of bread.

Um, yeah.

Although Kevin once referred to me as one of the technicians here, I am truly a member of the magical improvisation class – hence the kitchenMage name. It’s just that I study theory natively and, having been in the kitchen since I was tippy-toe to a flour bin, I have learned many aspects of theory well enough to look technical even while making it up as I go along. (note to kids: this is a handy skill, useful in many areas of life: cultivate it)

Sure, I use recipes... every now and then. Sometimes I even use the same amount of the various ingredients as the person who wrote the book. Not always, though — I often use recipes only to provide a rough outline, which I gleefully color outside of. Truth be told, I have had to force discipline on myself to solidify a recipe long enough to post it here.

As you might imagine, I am not a huge fan of deconstructed "famous recipes." I am not likely to buy most prepackaged food, why on earth would I want to go to the effort of creating my very own homemade version of that stuff?

But then there was the boy.

This person, who shall remain 'nymless, was raised on Oroweat Honey Wheat Berry Bread, developing a deep and abiding affection for the stuff. I can see why: as commercial sandwich loaves go, it's pretty good. Dense but not heavy, a hint of sweetness and a rich taste of grain, it is particularly good toasted with a smear of butter and honey. So while it just kills me to pay three bucks a loaf for sandwich bread, I did. For quite a few years.

loaf of wheat berry breadThen Oroweat started making a fluffier version — wider slices, a bit more yeast, lighter color and flavor. Sold it in two-packs at Costco at a fairly reasonable price. Just one problem: it tastes like cheap, fluffy bread you buy in two-packs.

Now the old stuff — the good stuff — is hard to find and closer to $4 a loaf when you can lay hands on it. Clearly, something had to be done and about five years ago, I decided to. That's a long time to work on a single recipe, but it was worth it.

There is, after all, the boy. And he likes it.

kitchenMage’s Honey wheatBerry Bread
This recipe makes two large (slightly over 2 pound) loaves or ~18
US Volume metric Volume US Weight metric Weight
water 3 cups 800 ml 24 ounces 675 grams
Wheat berries 3/4 cup 175 ml 5 ounces 140 grams
Milk, room temp 3/4 cup 175 ml 6 ounces 170 grams
Whole wheat flour 1 cup 235 ml 4 1/2 ounces 125 grams
instant yeast 1 tablespoon 15 ml 3/8 ounce 12 grams
Honey 1/4 cup 60 ml 3 ounces 84 grams
Butter 1/4 cup 60 ml 2 ounce 56 grams
Bread flour 6 1/2 cups 1525 ml 29 1/4 ounces 820 grams
salt 1 tablespoon 15 ml 1/2 ounce 15 grams

Note: Each batch of wheat berries I get seems to cook in a different amount of time and absorb a different amount of water. This means that, more than many bread recipes, you may need to adjust the flour on this each time you make it. I add ~5 cups to start and then sprinkle more in as it mixes in the kitchenAid. Most of the time, I end up using ~6 1/2-7 cups, but your mileage, as always, may vary.

Preparing the wheat berries
Combine wheat berries and 3 cups of water in a medium sauce pan. Cover and set aside to soak for an hour. After an hour, leave pan covered and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until wheat berries are soft and popping open. The water level will be reduced by ~1/2 cup and the wheat berries will be fat and soft. Let cool and prepare for use in dough — see sidebar for more information.

Do you like your wheat berries smooth or chunky?

There are two distinctive states of wheat berries: smooth and chunky. You need to decide which form you want your wheat berries to take and prepare them differently based on your desired results.

On one end of the continuum, there is the nuts-and-seeds style of bread, with fairly intact wheat berries. While I like this effect occasionally, particularly when making rolls (add a smidge more yeast, too), the berries have a tendency to stick out of the dough and aren't what I usually want from this bread.

Totally opposite this is the Oroweat bread that set me on this quest. This bread, oddly enough, has no discernible wheat berries, something which I always attributed to superior industrial wheat berry smooshing technology — I think I pictured something involving oompa loompas — but now I know the truth. There are no wheat berries in their bread! In fact, the first ingredient is cracked wheat! Go figure.

Lacking superior oompa-loompa based technology, the easiest way I have found to smoosh these babies is with an immersion blender. A regular blender works reasonably well, but I was less impressed with the results from the food processor.
In any case, let the cooked wheat berries cool to body temperature, ~100F (38C) and then smoosh, or not, to your heart’s content.

Mixing the dough
In mixing bowl, combine wheat berries, milk, yeast and whole wheat flour. Mix until well combined, cover and set in a warm spot until bubbly, 20 - 30 minutes.

Add the softened butter, honey and 5 1/2 cups of bread flour. Mix until it forms a shaggy mass. Continue to add flour, a tablespoon or two (or more at first), until the dough stops readily absorbing it. Mix for another minute, two if mixing by hand. The dough will still be a bit rough. Cover and let rest on the counter for 20 minutes.

If you are using a mixer: Add salt. Use the dough hook and mix it on medium for ~5 minutes, adding more flour a tablespoonful at a time, if needed, until the dough is fairly smooth. Turn it out on a well-floured counter and knead for a few minutes, until the dough is like a baby's bottom — given the wheat berries, perhaps it’s a baby with diaper rash. (sorry)

If you are making the dough by hand: Add salt. Spread a cup of flour on the counter and knead for 4 - 5 minutes, adding more flour if needed. Knead until the dough is, um, ready as described, perhaps a bit too graphically, above.

sliced wheat berry breadRoll the dough in flour, put it in a clean bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in bulk (about an hour).

Turn the dough out on a lightly floured counter, divide in half and shape into loaves. Grease two loaf pans. Put the shaped loaves in the pans and let rise until doubled in bulk (about an hour).

Preheat oven to 375F (175C). Bake bread for 45 minutes or until golden brown (~195F/90C internal temperature). Turn out of pans onto cooling rack for at least an hour.

Complete flickr set of kitchenMage's Honey wheatBerry Bread


Labels: , , ,

Click here to continue reading the post and comments...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Friday, September 14, 2007

Beth: Feta & Chives Cornbread Recipe

As the days shorten and temperatures take a nightly dive, my food cravings begin to turn towards fall's hearty soup and stew offerings. It's not that I am done with summer — there are still lots of tomatoes on the counter and the herb garden is bursting with late summer goodness – it's more that I feel the need to diversify a bit. Hedge my bets against the day the sun doesn't shine so brightly.

Maybe it goes with the simmering pot of blueberry habenero chutney, another sure sign of fall, or perhaps it's just absence making the heart grow fonder, but the other night I found myself pulling a container of someoneElse's chili out of the freezer.

A brief digression may be called for here. Around our place, there are several levels of heat in food: warm, hot, hot, hot, and GeorgeHot. The latter refers not to George Clooney but rather is named for a friend who likes really hot stuff – a high point of one of George's recent vacations was discovering a tourist shop in a small Washington town with a shelf full of one of his favorite hot sauces from New Zealand...on sale. someoneElse has been working on making something so hot that George is satisfied. Said satisfaction may involve post-tasting skin grafts on his tongue. I, unfortunately, get sideswiped by incorrectly labeled things on occasion. This chili said hot, I swear.

Where was I? Oh yes, chili... freezer.

The plan was simple: chili, salad, bread. A quick and easy dinner that could expand to include the friend who called from the road and was invited to join us. I was a happy mage.

Except that the month of the broken oven (now over, thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster!) left me with darned little in the way of bread in the house. Nothing, actually.

Checking the clock, I realized that all I had time for was some sort of quick bread. Chili...quick must be cornbread!

As the only part of the meal I could claim to have worked on, though, the cornbread had to be special. A peek in the refrigerator uncovered feta cheese. I can work with that.

Google "quick bread" + feta and I see this sentence: "Cornbread is a quick bread." Thinking, "Ah, cornbread, with a reference to feta somewhere - that must be a sign" I clicked on the link.

Kevin's Cheese Bread. Um, err, is that my site?

Is that a sign?

If so, it was off by one post, because I didn't have sour cream, which looks essential to the cheese bread recipe. What ended up catching my eye was Susan's Savory Cheese and Scallion scones, for which I didn't have cream cheese.

(Am I the only person who gets this phone call: "Hi, do you happen to have two and a half pounds of cream cheese in the refrigerator?" Seriously, that was an actual call from yesterday. It's sad that I didn't because there was cheesecake involved and I am sure I could have claimed a slice. note to self: stock up on cream cheese)

Click to enlarge

Taking my inspiration from Susan's scones and applying it to my original idea of cornbread, I came up with feta and chive cornbread (because I didn't have scallions either). Baked in a preheated cast iron skillet, this came together in minutes and was ready to eat in under an hour. Which is about how long it takes to heat chili, make a salad and clean enough of the dining room that you can eat at the table.

Oh yes, the chili. The hot+ chili. I mean the georgeHot chili. It's enough to make a mage glad there was a lot of cornbread.
kitchenMage's Feta Chive Cornbread

Ingredient wolume US wolume metric weight US weight metricFlour 1 1/2 cups 355 ml 6 3/4 oz 190 gr
Cornmeal 1 1/3 cup 295 ml 6 3/4 oz 190 gr
Salt 1 1/2 tsp 8 ml 1/4 oz 7 gr
Sugar 2 tsp 10 ml ~1/2 oz 14 gr
Baking soda 3/4 tsp 4 ml 1/8 oz 3-4 gr
Baking powder 2 1/2 tsp 13 ml 3/8 oz 11 gr
Feta cheese crumbled 1/2 cup 20 ml 3 oz 85 gr
Chives fresh, chopped 1/4 cup 60 ml 1/2 oz 14 gr
Eggs 3
Buttermilk 1 1/2 cup 355 ml 12 oz 335 gr
Butter 1/3 cup 80 ml 2 5/8 oz 75 gr

Preheat oven to 425F (220C).

If you are making this cornbread in a cast iron skillet or similar heavy dish, and I do recommend it, place it in the oven while it preheats. Otherwise, grease a 10" round pan and set aside.

Place flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, baking powder and baking soda in bowl and stir to combine. Add crumbled feta cheese and chopped chives and toss gently to coat.

Beat eggs lightly and combine with buttermilk. (If you don't have buttermilk, put 2 tsp of white vinegar in a measuring cup, add milk to the 1 1/2 cup mark and let sit in a warm place for 5-10 minutes before using.)

If you are not using a preheated baking pan, melt the butter, let cool a bit and add to liquid ingredients.

Add the liquid ingredients to the flour mixture and mix gently until just combined.

If you are using a preheated pan, cut the butter into several pieces and toss them into the hot pan just before adding the batter. Otherwise, just add batter to pan and place in preheated oven.

Bake at 450° for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Turn out onto rack to cool for a few minutes before serving.


Labels: , ,

Click here to continue reading the post and comments...

Friday, September 07, 2007

We have one winner!

Where's the darned drum roll when I want it?

It is our great pleasure to announce the winner of the random drawing for a signed copy of Local Breads: Sourdough and Whole-Grain Recipes from Europe's Best Artisan Bakers.

Bling! Bling! Bling!

Our first winner is:

Robin of Around the Island, written from around her kitchen island in Israel. She tells me it is not a food blog but I see recipes, plates of tasty looking food there, plus: duh, the name. grin

Robin says the book is for her husband, who does most of their baking, some with the help of very small people - which is always challenging! Maybe if we ask nicely, Robin will share pictures and stories of breads from her, I mean her husband's, new book.

We'll be back in a day or two with the winner for the best story. Because choosing a winner is hard. Very hard.

Technorati: | | |

Labels: , ,

Click here to continue reading the post and comments...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Lost Stories

When we started our contest to give away a copy of Local Breads: Sourdough and Whole-Grain Recipes from Europe's Best Artisan Bakers, we thought that perhaps a few people would share an amusing story of bread-baking and we were right. A few more — maybe more than a few — shared heart-warming stories of baking bread, while others wrote a poem or a song. We have had a blast reading all of these entries and would like to thank you all again for taking the time to join in.

We were, however, dismayed when we got a message from someone asking why we hadn't posted his story in the final roundup because we certainly didn't mean to leave anyone out. A lot of work went into your stories and they are each wonderful in their own way. This got me started thinking about missing entries and where they might have gone... a train of thought that stopped at a gMail spam folder. A spam folder that is apparently a part of the Bermuda Triangle since it held all sorts of missing things. Including a number of contest entries.


So, with our apologies we present the actual last round of bread stories to be followed shortly by announcements of winners. Four of them.
What? Did she say four?
Yes, I believe she did!
But... I thought it was two?
It was but now isn't.
So FOUR people get copies of Local Breads?
Yes, we found two more copies of the book so we get to give copies to two lucky runnersup (er, runnerups?) ["runnersup" - Ed.]. So look for four winning names, starting tomorrow. In the meantime, on with the stories.

Zach tells us a story of a man, a woman, and their wild love for wild yeast:
Two weeks before my wedding, I made sourdough starter — my second attempt ever. I wanted to bake communion bread for the wedding service to be held on my family’s farm. My fiancée, Kira, and I were excited about using wild yeast as leaven — some of it from the very air of the farm on which we would marry — but I was nervous that it wouldn't be ready in time.

I mixed water and flour, and refreshed it daily, putting the starter in the farmhouse's basement to keep it safe from the July heat. I made frequent trips down the worn, wooden steps to check on it, hoping the yeast were happy with what I had given them. After about a week, it was bubbling with life, ready to make bread!

Two days before my wedding, I made a firm starter. The next day, I mixed up the dough, fermented it, shaped it into boules, and put it in the refrigerator. I woke up on my wedding day with two thoughts in my head: "Today I will marry the woman I love," and, "I need to get the bread in the oven!" The sourdough baked into some of the best loaves I have made. It was so special to carry it down the aisle alongside some homemade wine from Kira’s grandfather. I know I will often think of that feeling as I am baking bread, and the smell fills up the kitchen like it did on my wedding day.

(Beth dabs eyes with tissue)
Cerddinen offers excellent advice at the start of her tale of making Susan's Italiano No-knead Bread: "Make sure to completely read and understand the instructions." Excellent advice which she, of course, ignored. The story sounds like my bread (this is Beth of the long, cold rise) as her dough goes in and out of the refrigerator because "I'm not waiting till 1 A.M. to put this sucker in the oven." (Kevin, she served it with North Carolina Style Vinegar Based BBQ Pork. Is the BBQ pig a secret message to you?) [The Legions of the Slow Order of the Pig are as grains of sand. - Ed.]

Don Luis shares his journey while seeking a new way of making his much missed crusty Italian bread after a move to Puerto Rico where basic ingredients including instant yeast and unbleached flour are impossible to find. Starting with a simple nine-step recipe for Pan de Luis and ending with a two-phase, 19 step bread-building process at Pan de Luis Redux, Don Luis seems to have mastered bread in a land that is 1400 miles from the nearest Whole Foods.

Druzsbaczk writes from Hungary (where 'cock' means water valve) [Thanks for that clarification - Ed.]
My family is gourmet, and we like delicate food as gifts, especially homemade things. Last year I planned to bake a german-style sourdough bread for my father. The procedure needs about 5 days.

Everything had gone well, on 23rd December morning I made the last step of feeding my sourdough, and wanted to wash the used spoon and other dishes. As I opened the cock, suddenly it dropped out, and stayed in my hand! I had to call my Father (excellent handyman), he came over in 20 minutes — so I had to cover all the bread's tracks: bowl, spoon, flour...

He fixed my cock, and did not realized the present sourdough — everything's OK! I baked the bread, it looked nice, father was surprised and happy, and we tasted it at dinner.

Bad surprise: tasty, but absolutely saltless! Unfortunately I forget to mix in salt before baking — this was the "sacrifice" of the cock...
Huiping checks in from Singapore to tell of her first attempt at bread, which looks awfully tasty for being deemed a partial success. She also has some photos of wonderful looking cranberry & black currant scones. And a cat who knows how to make himself at home at the table.

Baking Soda digresses mightily as she talks of being a stay-at-home-mom and how she started her blog. Then by way of making us all jealous, she bakes five kinds of bread from three new cookbooks. That's one busy woman!

Over at Anomalous Cognition, Jenny, well actually Eric, poses one of the eternal questions of life: "Time passed. I grew a garden, with a big parsley patch and a tomato plant (okay, twelve), and one day we decided the time had come to make tabbouleh fresh from the garden. 'And you'll make your pita bread?' Eric said to me. 'Maybe this time it will poof.'"

You have to go read her contest entry "Pitas" to see how it turns out.

Speaking of pitas and poofiness, BC of Beans and Caviar also made pita bread. Oddly, it was the first bread she ever made and she had never seen a pita before! Perhaps the title of the post "Pita Footballs" gives you a hint of what she encountered.

That's it for today. Check back tomorrow for the first winner of an autographed copy of Local Breads.

Technorati: | | | | | |

Labels: , ,

Click here to continue reading the post and comments...