Sunday, June 6, 2010

Rich People's Bread

I've been experimenting with sourdough bread since Christmas; I think I've made over a hundred loaves of bread since then. I keep looking for a recipe that combines the right timing with the right flavor. Many a morning I've been late to work because I'm waiting for dough to rise or bread to finish baking. Many of the sourdough recipes I've found require days of developing the dough and rising, and those recipes are just not practical for everyday bread for someone who works full time. This recipe, which I tried early on and just filed, was a hit. Every time I tried a new recipe, D would say: "Why don't you make that oat and flax bread again? That was great!" The first time I made it, he called it "rich people's bread." So that's what I'll call it here. I adapted it from a recipe I found on a blog called Kath Eats Real Food: A Blog Devoted to Healthy Living

The blog suggests a way to make your sourdough starter from scratch, but I've used a sourdough starter that a friend from Sweden gave me: it's a hearty wheat-grain sourdough that's been going for 25 years! I feed it about once every two weeks with 1/2 cup of warm water + 1/2 cup of wheat or rye flour. Sometimes I throw a drop of honey or a tsp of flax into the mix.

Rich People's Oat and Flax Sourdough Bread

1 3/4 cup starter
1 1/2 cup wheat flour
1 ¼ cup bread flour
1 cup oats
3 Tbsp flax seeds
2 ½ tbsp honey
1 ½ cup water
1 tsp instant yeast
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/3 cup walnut pieces

Warm water to body temperature. Pour in oats and flax and let soak for 5-10 minutes. Then mix all ingredients EXCEPT walnuts until mixture comes together. Add walnuts. It should be fairly sticky but not runny, and have good strength when tugged. Let dough ferment for 2 hours, folding after the first hour. After the second hour, shape into a compact ball and allow to rest for 10-20 minutes. Shape dough ball into two oval loaves and place in two 9×5 loaf pans. Oil and dust pans with some kind of a dusting agent (I've used oats, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, and pysllium husks) Allow to rise for 1 1/2 hours. After 1 hour preheat oven to 400. Brush the top of the risen loaves with an egg wash and sprinkle with oats or seeds. Bake for 30-35 mins until very dark in color and interior hits 190.

This bread is delicious with fried eggs and smoked salmon, which is how we ate it this morning! It's also delicious toasted with butter, or all by itself. The author of the original blog recommends french toast, which sounds intriguing.

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