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My Bread Lament

December 4, 2008

Recently, Tuxedo Boy helped me make the weekly grocery list.  (Yes, okay, I do the menu/shopping list/only go once a week thing.  I’m pitiful that way.  If I could swing it, I’d always do my laundry on Mondays, too.)

Anyway, he was helping me out, and he had just one request for a special treat:  “Could we buy some of that delicious milk and honey bread?  You know, the storebought kind?  It’s soooooooo delicious.”

Fine.  I make bread once a week–really good bread.  White and fluffy and milky and honey-y.  From this recipe.  Which, it seems, is not the bread my darling son craves.  No, he wants the flannelly, gummy, store bread.

So I bought white bread, and turned my attention to making a really good loaf of whole-grain bread.  My dream brown bread bread is a granary loaf (baked, for preference, in a Hovis tin).  But granary flour, which Elizabeth David tells me is the “proprietary name of a blend of wheatmeal, rye flour and pieces of malted grain, or sprouted wheatflakes, as they are known to the blenders,” is not available in the U.S., not even through those expensive and slightly weird online shops with names like Jolly Good Tuck, Charles Dickens Grocery, or BritFood4evah.

Faux-granary loaf recipes are a dime a dozen, of course.  Since I’m too cheap to spring for malt extract (which only makes me think of Roo and Tigger), I finally settled on this very pleasing choice.  It makes a really notable loaf–dense but not heavy, just slightly sweet, but not unduly so.  The crust crackles, the crumb is soft and just a bit bite-y, with a great texture from the grains.  Enjoy.  Or go to the store and spend $4.66 on storebought milk and honey.

Granary-ish Bread

1/4 c bulgar

2 tablespoons millet

1 cup boiling water

1 cup unbleached flour (plus 3/4 cup for later use)

1 tablespoon gluten flour

2 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 pkg)

1 1/4 cups water

2 tablespoons molasses

2 tablespoons butter

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 mixed rolled grain cereal (ours includes triticale, barley, rye, oats, and something else–spelt?)

2 tablespoons wheat germ

In a small bowl, combine bulgar and millet.  Pour 1 cup boiling water over the grains and let stand for 5 minutes.  Drain and reserve.

In your KitchenAid, combine 1 cup of unbleached flour, yeast, and gluten flour.

In a saucepan, heat the 1 1/4 cups water, molasses, butter, and salt, stirring, till water is warm and butter is mostly melted.  Add water to flour mixture and beat well.  Turn mixer to low (2) and add soaked grains, whole wheat flour, rolled grains, wheat germ, and 3/4 cup of unbleached flour.

Switch to dough hook, and knead at low speed (2) for about 6 minutes, or until it’s elastic and smoothish.  Don’t over-knead!

Turn into an oiled bowl and let it rise until double, about an hour and a half in my chilly kitchen.  Gently punch it down and let it rest for 10 minutes or so, while you grease a bread tin.  Form dough into a plump loaf and place in tin to rise unitil nearly doubled again . . . about 45 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove from pan immediately and let cool on rack.

This bread makes hearty and delicious toast, and is also wonderful as a cream cheese, cucumbers, clover sprouts, and tomato sandwich.

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