Friday, June 24, 2016

Babes bake with bran

Southern California is home to a grocery warehouse store that is an excellent source for special items, Smart and Final.    This business originated in the 1870s as a restaurant supply company, and through a series of mergers, acquisitions, and expansions became the store SoCal knows today.  My grandfather drove restaurant delivery trucks during the 1920s and 30s, and did have a working relationship with Smart and Final.  And, just so you know, the company takes its name from two early owners -- Mr. Smart and Mr. Final.  No fooling.  You can read about the history here.  

The point of this is that when I needed a source of wheat bran for this month's challenge, I headed to my local Smart and Final, and discovered some in the bin section.  I only had to buy the amount I needed, which was great.  

Lien had the home kitchen this month, and she asked the Babes to bake a rustic, nut-filled loaf of wheat bran bread.  There was a real variety of finished loaves, using different nuts and dried fruits and different shapes.  It's delicious bread, probably most useful in a loaf shape rather than the boules I made.   

As I'm writing this, I realized that I only managed to photograph one picture of my bread!  It's a good thing I made it awhile back, because life has been super busy lately.  Assisting and relocating a 94 year old parent is challenging at best.  Both of us are still adjusting to a new routine.  I've been told this process takes about 90 days.  Hope we both survive!

I do have some of the wheat bran left over, and I'd really like to try playing with the recipe, making it into loaves and adding some dates or cranberries.

Check out Lien's website for the recipe and instructions on how to be a Buddy.  Not many days remaining!  


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Bread Baking Day #83: Bread with special flour

After several years and 82 Bread Baking Days, it's getting more difficult to find a new challenge.   This time around, Zorra (the founder of BBD), asked bakers to make a bread using special flour, either alone or in combination with traditional wheat flour.

I had some oat flour hiding in my freezer, so I decided to find a recipe that would help me use it up.  Luckily, I discovered one and it has become my new favorite:  Oatmeal Sandwich Bread from King Arthur Flour.

I have made it several times, using different sweeteners each time as an experiment.  For the first loaf, I used golden syrup in place of the brown sugar and honey.  It was delicious, but, for the second loaf, I used maple syrup.  That was a winner, hands down.  

The other change I made was to bake the bread in a larger pan (9"x5") instead of the stated 8.5"x4.5" pan.  In the smaller pan, the bread can overflow.  It still tastes good, but doesn't look as nice.  I watched carefully, making sure the bread was risen just right, using the proofing times as a guideline rather than the rule.

The addition of regular oats along with the oat flour gives the bread some texture, and, in case you don't have the flour, you can grind up some oats instead.  

I also used my bread machine during the mixing and initial proofing process to save some time.  It really was a non-fussy way to make a lovely bread.  While I was able to take photos of the loaf, itself, it disappeared too quickly to show the slices!

Here's a link to the original recipe.  Please give it a try -- you won't be disappointed.

And, check back with Zorra in the next few days to see how other bread bakers used alternative flours.