Tag Archive | bread

Cooking with Children

For all my talk about doing better on the blogging thing, I still missed yesterday.

But then, I didn’t really have access to a computer and time at the same moment, so there’s that…

Anyway, the bread was a huge success–to the point where we’re going to make some more today–the batch wasn’t big enough to satisfy me, my sister’s family, and still have enough to share with my sister’s neighbor from Winnipeg.

The whole rye berries–well, cracked would have been better, but oh well.

G had a lot of fun “helping” make bread, even when I wouldn’t let him stand on the counter any more.  Even though he’s a confirmed carnivore–no  superfluous starch products for that kid!  He was excited to taste it, and even more excited to make some more today.

So, here’s the recipe with my adjustments, and what I’m planning to do today:

Winnipeg Rye Bread:  The Cori Version

1/3 c rye berries

1/3 c water

Soak the rye in the water until it is absorbed (I honestly don’t know how long this took.  Somewhere between one and three hours.  I’m upping this to 2/3 c for today’s batch)

3/4 c milk

1 c water

1 tsp salt

1/4 c packed brown sugar

1 egg

3 Tbs butter

4 Tbs gluten

1 3/4 Tbs active dry yeast

Mix together until blended

1/3 c rye four (’cause I have a bunch that needs to be used)

4ish cups flour

Starting with the rye, slowly add the flour until the dough comes together.  Knead.  Let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.  Punch down, let double again.  Form into two loaves, place on a baking sheet, and let rest for 10 minutes.  Bake at 350º f for 30 minutes.

I decided yesterday that I need to talk to G when I’m hesitant about going to church–except his ward starts before mine, so I can’t just call him…

However, upon finding out that I didn’t make it to church yesterday, he told me “You need to go to church.  You have lots of friends at church.  Like Aunt Cori, and pickles, and cinnamon toast, and Jesus, and fish, and dogs…”

Wry Bread

White rye-type bread

Image via Wikipedia

A very odd thing has happened.  Upon going back to school, and being asked to think all day long, I all of a sudden don’t have anything on my mind worth blogging about.  Unless, you know, y’all want to hear how I applied what I learned in my art history class this week to the little toy my nephew brought home from a friend’s birthday party.

So, I’m sorry I’ve been slacking on my blogging duties.  I will do better, I promise.

And now, on to the post.

If you ever find yourself in the Prairie Provences of Canada, first of all, I’m deeply sorry. (I say this as someone who loves the cities of Winnipeg and Saskatoon, and would move to either place in a heartbeat.  I just don’t particularly want to vacation there.)   Secondly, get yourself to a local bakery that sells a delectable treat known as Winnipeg rye bread.

Winnipeg rye is lighter than regular rye bread, and doesn’t contain the spicy caraway seeds, but it’s still hardier and tastier than white bread.

Once I set my mind to finding a recipe for Winnipeg rye, it didn’t take long (like this one, posted at food.com).  I didn’t take the time to compare the half-dozen or so recipes that I’ve found online, but I did think it was interesting that they were all “converted for bread-maker use”.

Having found a recipe, I began my search for ingredients–namely cracked rye and gluten.  Granted, this wasn’t a very active search, more of looking for specialty flours whenever I was at a new grocery store.

Last week, while doing my grocery shopping, I discovered rye flour in the bulk bins of a newish store that I’m still trying to decide if I like.  Because it had been a while since I had last looked at the recipe, I figured rye bread needs rye flour.  After working myself into a tizzy at the prospect of making my favorite bread, I pulled up the recipe to discover–no, not rye flour, cracked rye.

Crap.

So, never mind the past six years that I’ve been without Winnipeg rye, I decided that I MUST find cracked rye as soon as possible.

In talking to my sister earlier this week, she commented that it had been too long since we had seen each other (a whole week and a half!) and she thought I needed to come up.  I agreed, and headed up to her house after school this morning.   After abandoning G to the care of the Brother-in-law, (alas, he didn’t think that he could take both boys and still help his father with the project they were working on) we loaded the baby in the car and went on a wild goose chase across the Salt Lake Valley to find cracked rye.

Long story short–we didn’t find the cracked variety, but I did manage to get whole rye berries.  I also discovered that ‘miller‘ is not a viable career option for me.

Especially, you know, when trying to mill the seeds of my biggest allergenic foe.  It’s been two hours since we put away Sis’s wheat grinder, and the tightness in my lungs is just beginning to loosen up.

And I still didn’t manage to crack the rye.  So, I’m going to try it with my non-cracked but slightly scratched rye.

After church tomorrow, I’m going back to Sis’s house, mostly because she wanted to be involved in my bread project.  Which is fine, because it means that I’m not the one who has to clean the kitchen in preparation–although I better mention that I’m planning on cleaning up afterwards, if for no other reason than to keep Mom from getting mad at me.

I really do intend to do the clean-up tomorrow.  Really.

So, if things turn out, expect to see the un-converted bread maker recipe tomorrow.  And, if it doesn’t turn out, I’m sure I’ll have a good story then, too.

Bread of life, salt of the earth.

I love bread.

I always have.  One of my favorite childhood pictures of myself features a 3-year-old Corianne wearing pink footy pajamas (the bane of my young existence–I still can’t stand to have my feet covered when I sleep).  I’d gotten into the bread drawer, and broken in to a bag, and have a half-eaten slice of Wonder Bread in my hand–still chowing down on it.  That picture sums up the relationship that I’ve had with bread for my whole life.

I love making bread.  I don’t have a bread maker or a stand mixer, so I make bread the way my grandmothers did–with a mixing bowl, a wooden spoons and my hands.

I love kneading.  Even when I’m making bread somewhere where I do have access to a stand mixer, I’ll usually turn the dough out early and knead it by hand.  I love the way that kneading unlocks the power of gluten, turning a sticky glob of wet flour and a few other ingredients into a beautiful ball of bread dough.  I love the workout to my hands, arms and shoulders that kneading provides.  I also love that kneading is a wonderful way to work out any frustrations. I love how when the dough has come together the way it should, just at the point when it is ready to rest and rise, it feels like a living thing.  In fact, I love that due to the yeast, it is a living thing.

Yeast holds a magic of its own.  In my fridge, the yeast appears to be a crumbly, beige powder that smells like it’s started to turn.  But, when mixed with warm water or milk, and a little bit of sugar or honey, it springs to life, raising the bread, making it light, airy and delicious.

I love the way, once the dough comes together, that you can cover it, and leave it in a warm place for forty-five minutes, it will double in size.  You can then punch it down, and come back in another forty-five minutes, it will have doubled in size again.

I even love the way that bread dough tastes–it reminds me of days spent at my grandmother’s house, when she would make bread.  She would slip my sister and I bites of bread dough–which, to most people, is pretty nasty stuff until it’s been baked.  To me, it tastes like childhood.

I’ve been wanting to make bread for a while, but it’s usually too late at night when I think of it. Bread is simple to make, but it takes a long time–however most of that time is waiting.

Yesterday, I thought about making bread at 7pm.  I thought about the three hours it would take, and decided that 10pm wasn’t unreasonably late to be pulling something out of the oven.

And so, I mixed, and scalded milk, and used up the last of my yeast. I happily stirred, then kneaded, and set the dough aside to rise.  At that point, I wondered if I had remembered to put in any salt.  So, I tasted the dough, and sure enough, I’d forgotten the salt.

What now?  The dough had come together, it was too late to mix anything in.  I pulled it out, and kneaded a little salt in, but I didn’t dare add too much, because I didn’t want to over-knead, and I didn’t want salty pockets of dough.  So I just hoped it’d turn out.

Long story short, it didn’t.  The bread looked and smelled beautiful, but the taste is off.

Salt is easy to overlook, as my recent baking misadventures have proven.  It’s only 1 Tablespoon of white powder in a recipe that calls for cups and cups of various other white powders.  It isn’t essential to the chemistry of baking, it doesn’t affect the appearance or texture of the baked good.  My bread is perfectly edible.  In fact, due to the over-abundance of salt in the processed foods that are so much a part of the western diet, it’s probably healthier than a normal loaf of white homemade bread.

But still, salt is essential.  Salt heightens sweet, and deadens bitter.  It adds the finishing touch to meat, vegetables, and yes, even bread.

In baking, I suppose, leaving out the salt isn’t as big of deal as leaving out, say the yeast or the flour, but it’s a big enough deal.  Salt may seem like a small thing, but without it, the time, energy and effort that I put into baking bread last night was wasted.

The little things are important.  Big things are just made up of a bunch of little things.

Thinking along those lines makes the big things easier to tackle.

White Bread

1 c milk

1 c water

1 Tbsp shortening

1 Tbsp margarine

2 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp salt

1/4 c warm water

1 Tbsp yeast

6 1/2 c flour

Scald (heat until just before it starts to boil) milk; add 1 cup water, shortening,  margarine, sugar and salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, put the 1/4 c warm water and 1 Tbsp yeast, stir to dissolve.  Let sit for 10 minutes. (This is called “blooming” or “proving” the yeast, it a) gives the yeast a head start before it has to raise the bread, and b) lets you know that your yeast is good before investing the next three hours of your life to the project)

Combine the cooled milk mixture and yeast mixture into a large mixing bowl.  Stir in 3 c of flour, and blend well.  Knead in enough of the flour to make the dough come together.  (this is hard to explain.  The dough shouldn’t be sticky, but it should hold its shape.  The best way to find out if the dough is coming together properly is through trial and error.  Sorry.  Kneading by hand is simple, you fold the dough in on itself, then push out with the palm of your hand.  Fold and push, fold and push.) Knead for 10-15 minutes. (Just think of how much more bread you can eat because of the calories burned by kneading!)

Place in a greased bowl, cover with a clean dish towel, and place in a warm, draft free spot.  Let the dough rise until double, (about 45 minutes, I start checking after 20) punch down (just what it sounds like; take your fist, and punch the bread dough once or twice. It should collapse on itself) and let double again.

Shape into two loaves, and place in greased pans.  Let raise, then bake at 450° Fahrenheit for 10 minutes, then at 350° F for 30 minutes.

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