Bready Goodness

I started taking bread seriously a few years ago and I can say without hyperbole that one of the greatest pleasures life can offer you is pulling a home made loaf of bread out of the oven. Making bread is neither cooking, nor baking. It’s chemistry and intuition. It’s years of study and dumb-ass luck. It’s an amazing wonder of the natural world that only happens under the tightest of security.

I’ve written out a recipe for the bread pictured here, although I have to admit that I thought I’d just ‘wing it’ when I started it. You have to do this when you’re making bread. You need to experiment with all the variables and 9 times out of 10 it won’t work out. Marry someone who likes to eat kitchen disasters.

Then somewhere along the way you have an insight. The water will be a little warmer or a little colder, you’ll add the salt to the flour before the yeast or you’ll slip into a happy day dream while you’re kneading and not remember how long it’s been. It will feel right.

Everything has to be exactly right accidentally. It feels like the sun on the back of your neck. It feels like Saturday morning.

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This loaf is made by mixing some whole grains, that have been soaked for a while, with flour and yeast and a bit of salt.

Soaking whole grains is seen as beneficial because a slightly acidic soak can break down a portion of the Phytic acid in the bran which prevents the absorption of some minerals we need to be healthy. However, Phytic acid is thought to prevent some forms of cancer so it’s not a bad thing to ingest. Lucky for you you get both when you bake with me.

Grain Mix:
Mix together one cup of grains (I used 1/2 cup of oats and added wheat bran, buckwheat and rye flour to reach one cup-maybe a bit more) with enough warm water to make a thick paste. Add a bit of lemon juice and let this sit covered with cello wrap for at least 12 hours. The longer the better.

Ingredients:
2 cups unbleached flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup Grain Mix
1 tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast
1/2-1 cup water

Mix everything together until it forms a ball and then knead it for 4-5 minutes adding either flour or water to make the dough sticky but not too wet. Turn the dough into a greased bowl and let it rise for at least two hours (more if you have time).

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Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and shape it into a loaf without degassing it too much.
Place the dough on a baking sheet sprinkled with corn meal and cover with a cloth for another hour. Bake at 400 degrees for ten minutes, misting the oven with water a couple of times, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees for another 20 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when you tap the bottom.

If it doesn’t look like the picture above, make another one.

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~ by themourningkitchen on October 17, 2011.

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