Friday, January 31, 2014

Bread Baking Day #64: More proteins in your bread!

2014 begins with the addition of more protein to our baked bread, which is always a good thing and a healthy way to begin the year.   Our hostess this month is Ninive of Ninivepisces -- she wanted to get the year off to a nutritious start with Bread Baking Day #64

Once again I headed to one of my favorite cookbooks, Healthy Breads in Five Minutes a Day, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François.  I chose Olive Spelt Bread as my challenge bread, because it uses spelt flour and yogurt.   

It only took me four tries to find the spelt flour.  Whole Foods came through this time, although I was surprised they only carried one brand.  But, that's all I needed.

The process is easy -- combine all the ingredients in a container, let the dough rise, refrigerate for a day, then pull off a hunk of dough, let it rest for 90 minutes, then bake in a high-temperature, steam-filled oven for 35 minutes.   The spelt gives the bread a nutty flavor and the yogurt adds moisture along with extra minerals and proteins.

Thanks to Ninive for suggesting this challenge and to Zorra for creating this event.  Be sure to check out all the submissions in a few days.

Olive Spelt Bread

2 cups spelt flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 tablespoon granulated yeast
1/2 tablespoon Kosher salt
1/8 cup vital wheat gluten
1 cup lukewarm water
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1/2 cup pitted green olives, chopped

Whisk together all the dry ingredients.  Combine the wet ingredients and stir them into the dry ingredients.  Cover dough and allow to rest at room temperature for about two hours, until it rises and collapses.  Refrigerate for at least 24 hours.  

On baking day, divide the dough in half, dust the surface with flour, and shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom, giving it a quarter turn each time.

Place the loaf on a piece of parchment and allow it to rest, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for about 90 minutes.  

Thirty minutes before baking time, place a baking stone in the middle of the oven and an empty metal pan under the rack and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.  

Just before baking, dust the top of the loaf with flour and slash the top.  Slide onto the hot stone and pour 1 cup of hot water into the metal pan.  Bake for 35 minutes or until brown and firm.  To brown the bottom, remove the parchment paper two-thirds of the way through the baking time.  Remove loaf from oven, place on wire rack, and let cool.  

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Five-minute Chocolate Prune Bread (with nuts)

This month, the Bread Baking Babes, specifically Jamie of Life’s a Feast, challenged us to make a different kind of bread.  It called my name for three reasons.

It's bread.

It's chocolate.

It's from one of my favorite bread baking books, The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (revised & updated edition), by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François.  I must confess that I'm somewhat biased regarding this book -- I created the index.  (I also worked on their previous two publications.)   Try to imagine having a preview peek at dozens of delicious bread recipes!  For a long-time bread baker, that is just heaven.  

So, of course, I had to rise up to the challenge.  (ha ha, rise up. . . .)

Except that the dough didn't.   Rise, that is.   The first proofing took a long time, nearly three times as long as normal, but it did rise.  The next day, when I prepared to form the loaf, the dough just had a weird texture.  I basically pounded the pieces together.  The outlook was poor.

Next, I put the loaf into a proofing oven.  Two hours later, it hadn't budged a bit.  But, ever the trooper until the end, I decided to bake it anyway.  I was totally shocked that the bread actually turned out fine -- three cheers for oven spring!!  The finished bread smelled heavenly and tasted the same.

I'd highly recommend giving this bread a try, whether you stick with prunes (ha ha, stick . . .) or live dangerously by adding nuts or dried cherries.

For the recipe, buy the book (you won't regret it) or stop by one of the Babes blogs for details and commentary.  

(I really shouldn't write posts late at night.)