|This recipe turned out so well, I already have folks asking for the recipe!|
Wolves In Sheep's Clothing
Pleasing Porridge Hot
The Easy Art of Soaking Nuts
Hooch Leaves Lucille for Dead
The Whys and Hows of Sourdough
I have to admit, I tired of my sourdough.
I was happy with it's goodness, taste-wise, texture-wise and health-wise. But I had to work hard to keep it in top form, especially in these warmer months. Not only do I have to feed it more when it's warm, we alternate from AC to no AC whenever possible, so our indoor temp. fluctuates a lot. Just when I think I'm safe, we have a cooler day and we open the windows, and doggone if I don't forget that extra feeding. So, I'll either feed it in the fridge just enough to keep it alive until the cooler months, or I'll start over then. I'm not a real big fan of the startover, though...At least, not since I read about a family that had maintained their sourdough for over 40 years. That made my nearly one year seem really piddly.
But, I needed to find a bread substitute. Part of the answer was in my soaked grain, home-made crackers. The recipe is flexible so there are a variety of tastes that can be created. But there are some things that require bread, and my husband actually went to the store and bought his old favorite, which is neither soaked nor sprouted grain. AND since a big part of the reason we started eating this way in the first place was his digestive health, I countered by buying Ezekiel bread, which I am satisfied with. Still, he wasn't eating it as often as his favorite, and I knew the only way to get him to eat the really good stuff was to make home-made.
So, in the midst of adjusting to him being home more, our starting a business in CPR/AED and First Aid Training, the grandchildrens' release from school for the summer and my summer 'job' of caring for them during the week starting, I was thinking of how I needed to find a recipe for soaked grain bread.
Unlike many, we are, as far as any of us can tell at this point, not allergic to yeast or gluten. So, I didn't have to make the extra effort to find a bread recipe that really tastes good while being free of these things. But I didn't want to waste my fresh milled flour OR my time, by creating bread that smelled good while baking, but tasted mediocre in the end. So I did read several recipes before settling on this one to try. It ended up being a good choice.
I'm going to tell you a few of my thoughts about the recipe and then give you the link to "Health Banquet", which is where I found it.
~First of all, be fully aware the recipe may be halved. You may not want to make 5 or 6 loaves the first time, especially if you aren't sure you'll like it.
~Next, be sure you have PLENTY of flour on hand. The soaked flour is very moist. I used a ladle to skim off puddles of collected liquid at the soaked flour's surface, but still had to add 6 more cups of flour. Eryn says this amount varies with environment and apparently, my added amount is at the high end of the scope.
~Don't be afraid of this additional flour. Why? 1) What you've already soaked makes it far better than store bread. 2) Because if you allow the bread to rise in the bowl TWICE and AGAIN after shaping, as recommended, you will be giving those ingredients extra intermingling time as well. You won't break down all the phytic acid in that additional flour, but you'll still be decreasing the amount. For more information on the goodness/health of this bread, as well as a link to how to make it right for the total purist, see here.
~ I would definitely NOT use this recipe without a bread mixer of some kind. I think I would, however, feel comfortable with hand-kneading if using it halved.
~At one point, Eryn speaks of "well-greased" pans. Heed those words and when you think it's good enough, add a little more.
~Use the freshest-milled flour possible. If it's not possible to mill your own or if you don't have a source for fresh milled, try brands like King Arthur's and store in the freezer until time of use.
~Have plenty of honey on hand, since this recipe uses 2/3 of a cup, and get the best quality you can, but it needn't be raw. Remember, enzymes in raw won't remain after the heat of baking. Unless raw is your norm, in this case, organic is just fine, (costs less, too)...That means no pesticides or other artificial stuff. (We hope.)
~Be sure to bake the full time...or longer. Eryn recommends using an oven thermometer to test the bread temp. Inserted into the middle of the loaf, it's supposed to reach 200 degrees. I was five minutes from 'done time', and my thermometer was only registering 150. She says if you test it and it reads less than 200, put it back in, so I did. But my oven leans towards the fast side, so I was getting a little concerned. But I did wait another five minutes. By then, the tops looked perfect and the loaves echoed with a hollow sound upon my usual thumping to determine for doneness. I took them out, basted their tops with butter, gave them a few minutes cooling time, removed them from their pans (except for the one dome loaf), and set them on racks to cool.
~Butter: If I remember correctly, Eryn doesn't tell you to spread butter over the bread crust when it's taken from the oven. But I do this no matter what recipe I'm using. My family loves it this way.
I know for some, the idea of taking more than a day to bake bread is ludicrous. We all think we're performing a major feat just by baking bread. (And we are!) However, making soaked-grain bread in stages is not more difficult, it just takes more time...BUT not involved time! Really, you start the soak and it sits there doing all the work by itself while you go spend 12 to 24 hours doing something else.
You do have to be more attentive on baking day, so plan ahead for a 'home day', or at least a 'home evening'. I was busy with grandchildren at Busch Gardens most of the day yesterday. I didn't even start the mixing process until about 5 o'clock last evening. The dough was done and in it's first rise when we sat down to eat dinner. I cleaned the kitchen, finished up some laundry, and it was ready for a little more kneading and into it's second rise. An hour later, shaped it, and it was rising for the last time. By then, I was pretty tired and actually ready for bed, so I vegged out with a movie...the first hour was rising time, the last half hour was baking time.
My hubby and I had a slice somewhere between 10 and 10:30...A great bedtime snack.
Here's the link to "Health Banquet"...My last interjection: If you're not interested in advertisements, skip the first part and just scroll down to the actual recipe. ...Hope you enjoy!