All grains contain peptides that mimic morphine or endogenous opioid substances. This is where I deal with my latest loaf craving. Get your bread-based exorphin fix here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Everyday Bread #16 - Firtig's Northern Lakes Wild Rice Rye Bread

Fertig's Northern Lakes Wild Rice Dough

Suddenly I realized that I was down to my last 2 loaves of rye, and both were half eaten.  The daily brötchen I was making would not get me through my next couple of days of work.  So I decided to make a no-knead bread from one of my books.  There are many recipes in these books that I've never tried.  I had a few ingredients I wanted to use up -- some potato water that was taking up refrigerator real estate, and some wild rice I hadn't used in the last Struan I baked, in the Reinhard challenge.  While browsing through Fertig's Book '200 Fast & Easy Artisan Breads: no-knead, one bowl', I found a new-to-me recipe called Northern Lakes Wild Rice Dough.

I immediately began to change it, based on what I had 'on hand'.

First, this is a rye bread, but contains all purpose in the ratio of 4 1/2 to 1.  In the interest of increasing my whole grains, I made 1 1/2 cups of that all purpose into whole wheat. 

Second, this recipe calls for 1 cup of wild rice, cooked and patted dry.  I didn't measure how much I had on hand.  It could have been about that much.  But it had been sitting in the potato water, in the fridge, and I wasn't going to pat it dry.

Third, the recipe called for liquid honey, and I didn't have any.  What I did have was some very old Map-O-Spread, which tastes a bit like maple syrup (although it is artificial, I don't recommend it to anyone), and is supposed to be spreadable on bread.  The dregs of this container didn't have 1/3 cup, and it was all hard and crystallized.  I microwaved it to loosen it up, but it just became rock-hard and crystallized all the more when it cooled, so I just cracked it up and tossed it in 'as is'.  I am sure that there was not 1/3 of a cup, but again, I didn't measure it.

Fourth, there was only about 1 1/2 cups of potato water, some of it iced.  I didn't warm it up, I just added enough of our tap water (aka spring water) to bring the total to 3 cups.  The water in the recipe is supposed to be warm, but my water was very cold (even had some ice from the refrigerated potato water).  Lahey says to use cold water for his doughs that use a long rise; so I wasn't worried about the temperature of the water.

Finally, the recipe called for 1 tbsp of freshly ground white pepper.  I didn't want to use that much.  I ground up maybe half of that.  And I'm kind of glad I stopped there: pepper, after all, is a carcinogen; and even with just a half-tablespoon or so, the mixture smelled of nothing else but pepper when I stirred the ingredients together.  You can still taste it, too, when you bite into the bread -- but at least it isn't overpowering with the smaller amount.

I almost cut down on the yeast, but decided against it.  I kept the 2 tablespoons that Fertig calls for.  It was more or less doubled in a couple of hours, as promised.

I used half of the dough for the first loaf, and I baked it using Lahey's methods, in a casserole dish.  I used Rye Flakes for the crust, something I have never tried before.  I put the dough in the couche and placed the couche in a small basket to proof.  I refrigerated the remainder, and will probably bake it in a couple of days when I'm free from work again.

There might have been just a little bit too much dough for the pot I was using.  It stuck a bit to the couche in which it was proofing.  It went into the pot rather sloppily.
 As usual, I baked it 30 minutes with a lid, and then 15 minutes without a lid. If

I cracked into this bread while it was still slightly warm, always a mistake, but the smell was just so intriguing.  The crust is rustic, but the crumb is airy, moist and full of the wild rice that looks like seeds but is soft as mashed grain.  Fantastic taste, very sweet, with only the starch of the flours and potato water.  As I suspected, the crystallized sugary maple stuff adds little or nothing - just a slight amber discolouration of the dough every so often.  I am pleased with the taste of this loaf, although it is not beautiful.

There is one problem with the crumb: when I formed the loaf, I placed some multigrain flour on the counter, and it did not incorporate with the dough.  And so sits pockets of flour in the midst of an otherwise nice enough crumb.


I made the second loaf from the batch a couple of days later. I tried to elongate the loaf a bit, and bake it in the longer casserole pot -- a shape that is a cross between a boule and a batard.  It baked nicely, but didn't seem to rise very much: although the resultant loaf was surprisingly light in weight, with a nice airy crumb.

This time I used no flour on the counter; and I was taking it out of the fridge and forming it immediately (like the 5min/day people do), so it was actually easier to work with.  Because it stuck to the counter, it made it easier to pull it on each side and then fold it over the top.  But then lifting it onto the couche was a difficulty and I probably lost some of my nice gluten cloak during that process.

After a 2 hour proofing (should it have been longer, due to the coldness of the dough?  But it was already 30 minute more than the 5min/day people use...), I put it in the preheated casserole dish and smoothed out the top of it in one place where it was misshapen; the over-handling didn't seem to hurt the loaf in that place too much, but you can see where I tried to 'touch it up'.  I baked it 30 minutes with, and 25 minutes without a cover.

This bread is very tasty, especially when you toast it up and put some true Maple Butter on it.  We got our Maple Butter last summer at a market in a little town near North Bay.  The label identifies that it was made by Dan & Lori Costello, 47 Bella Hill Road, Powassan, ON POH 1Z0 (705) 724-3047.  I don't know if you can get it by writing or calling.  But this is the real deal.  If you ever get a chance to go to the North Bay / Powassan area, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you did not check out Bella Hill Maple Syrup, which is what the Costello's call their home business.  The only web presence I could find was mention of them in this newspaper article about the Powassan Maple Syrup Festival .  Apparently Lori's Aunt has the secret recipe for the amazing Maple Butter Tarts.  Now if only they would add a nice whole grain bread like this to go with their Maple Butter...

Notes to Myself:
  • It is important that the top of the loaf be a smooth surface, or else the crust will develop pockets making it difficult to cut with a knife without tearing.  Care must be preserved as you place the proofed dough in the pot, therefore.  Do what you must so that the dough will not stick to the couche.
  • Don't put your couche in a basket if you are not sure of the size of the loaf.  If the dough expands beyond the edges of the basket, it will get sticky.  Using the Lahey method, you shouldn't need a basket anyway: the couche will hold the loaf in place until you put it in the hot pot.  Just make sure there is enough bran/crackedwheat/rye flakes (or other?) to cover the entire surface of the dough.
  • Avoid the use of flour on the counter during the forming stage, if you can help it, or use only a light dusting of the finest stuff (should have used rye flour for this loaf, if anything). 
  • Resist the temptation to eat a bread that is freshly baked: let the crust cool completely, and the crumb will be the better for it. 
  • Would crystallized sugar, or raw sugar, make a nice change to add to the crust of a loaf?

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