Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Let them eat bread!

Since we moved away from Austin, I have been baking about a loaf of bread a week. Most of the time, the bread recipe comes from The Tassajara Bread Book, but once in a while I remember my favorite recipe from childhood, a three grain loaf that Mom used to make. I have no idea where she got it, a magazine or newspaper most likely, but I just love it. The bread is delicious toasted with Parmesan cheese on top, or spread with jam, or used in a tuna sandwich. I made a loaf this weekend, to have with vegetable soup, and was inspired to share it with you.

The original recipe makes two loaves, and since we barely get through one loaf before it starts to go bad, I have cut it in half. If you want two loaves, simple double all the ingredients. It also is rather crumbly, so I added extra wheat gluten. According to one of our bread books, whole grain flours are low in gluten, which is what helps the molecules hold together, so adding extra gluten to the mix helps attain a better texture. You should be able to find wheat gluten (also called high gluten flour or just gluten flour) in the baking section of the grocery store, or in the bulk section of a natural food store. It should be kept in the fridge. The recipe calls for rolled oats - do not use quick cooking oats - get the real thing. You could also substitute spelt flakes, or wheat flakes, if you can get some. They are sometimes available at health food or natural food stores. You could also substitute oat bran for the wheat germ, but the bread will probably be a bit heavier. This time around I used some egg substitute I had left over from another recipe instead of an actual egg, and it seemed to work fine. If you want to cut down on cholesterol, this is a good choice.

Three Grain Bread (slightly modified a la Hope)
makes 1 9"x4" loaf

1 1/2 - 2 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup cornmeal
3 tablespoons wheat gluten
1 teaspoon salt
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) dry yeast
1/2 cup hot water (but not boiling - this will kill the yeast)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
5 oz can evaporated milk (if doubling, use 1 regular/large can)
1/4 cup honey or brown sugar
1 egg or equivalent amount egg substitute

1) Stir together 1/2 cup bread flour, whole wheat flour, oats, wheat germ, cornmeal, gluten, salt and yeast.
2) Combine hot water, butter, milk, honey, and egg. Stir into the flour mixture. If using a mixer, beat for two minutes at medium speed. If beating by hand, beat until well mixed, about 200 hundred strokes.
3) Gradually stir in the remaining bread flour until the dough is stiff and comes away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a floured board or counter and knead until smooth and elastic, 5-10 minutes.
4) Place dough in an oiled or greased bowl, cover with a clean towel, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour to an hour and a half.
5) Remove the dough from the bowl, knead a few times, then shape into a loaf and place in an oiled loaf pan. Let rise until the dough is above the top of the pan, or doubled in size. Begin to pre-heat the oven to 375 F. Once the dough has risen, you can make an egg wash with on egg and a tablespoon of milk, or simply brush with milk, if you wish.
6) Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes. Lower the heat to 350 F and bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is brown and it sounds hollow when tapped. Let the bread cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool completely on a rack.


Anonymous said...

I got the recipe from a woman on the Big Island of Hawaii. She said she had invented it. Don't know about that, but it is good. Like the changes you made.

mdvlist said...

Thanks for sharing! The next time I actually have some discretionary time in the kitchen, I'll give it a try. I'm always looking to shake up my bread-baking repertoire.

Congratulations on being employed, by the way!