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.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Nutella Granola Bar

Nutella Granola Bars

I have been making these granola bars as a way to eat whole grains, since this original post.  To give credit to whom it belongs, the original recipe that I used was girli chef's Groovy Granola Bar Recipe,

This variation occurred because I needed some granola bars for work and I had a half a jar of Nutella that I never use.  I wondered if I could make the granola bars with Nutella.

I followed the basic 'Girli Groovy Granola Bars' recipe, but used what I had.  In addition to the Nutella, I added some dried fruit and an additional egg.  My ingredient list this time around:

  • 2 c rolled oats
  • 3/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c wheat germ
  • 1/4 c flaxseed meal
  • 2 c goodies:
    • 1/4 c sesame seeds
    • 1/4 c pine nuts
    • 1/4 c pepitas
    • 1/4 c millet
    • 1/4 c coconut flakes
    • 1/4 c red quinoa
    • 1/2 c almonds
  • 1/2 c coconut oil
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c dried papaya
  • 1/4 c dried bananas
  • 1/4 c dried apricots
  • 1/2 jar or so nutella

I tried something different this time, too.  Once I had all the dried ingredients, I ran it all through the food processor.  I was thinking mostly of breaking up the larger ingredients, like the almonds, but it pulverized everything.  Perhaps I should have just chopped those larger ingredients separately.  Oh well.  What's done is done.  I had my doubts that it would hold together.  But I pressed on.

I pressed 1/2 of the mixture into the oiled and papered 9x13 pan and then tried to spread the Nutella on it.  (It is pretty tricky to spread this stuff -- especially the old stuff I had on hand -- on pulverized grains.  You mostly just have to thin it out and move on without disturbing the rollie millet and quinoa too much.)  Then I spread the rest of the mixture on top of that.

I baked in a preheated oven at 350 degrees, for 25 minutes.  I waited 5 minutes for it to cool and then cut it.  Then I froze it immediately.  After a couple of hours in the freezer, I transferred it into a container to keep it dry, but put it back into the freezer.  I would take out a couple for work every day.

This bar is sickeningly sweet.  When adding the Nutella, don't add any brown sugar.  I'd say omit the honey too, but that helps hold it together.  Maybe Nutella is just a bad idea for a granola bar.

Notes to Myself
  • If you are making a granola bar with a sweet substance like Nutella or Peanut Butter, omit the sugar, otherwise it is too sweet.
  • The red quinoa makes an interesting part of the bar, if the other ingredients are pulverized.  It looks like a spice in the mixture.
  • Don't pulverize everything, but instead just chop the the bigger pieces (almonds, etc. ) before adding to the mixture

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Everyday Bread #64 - Revisiting No Knead 100% Rye and 100% Whole Wheat Sourdoughs

No Knead 100% Rye and 100% Whole Wheat Sourdoughs

I've made these loaves again (see the last blog posting for the initial test).  What's different?

This time I am using older sourdough discard.  I can smell the hooch on it.  It is distinctly sour and alcoholic.  I am also trying to enrich the rye with oil and honey, to see if it makes any difference (I didn't do this to the whole wheat loaf).  And I am trying out the volume measurements, rather than weighing everything.

Rye Ingredients -- Whole Wheat ingredients

Mixing the Rye and Mixing the Whole Wheat

The doughs are not kneaded, but are panned and pressed down.

I did weigh the ingredients for the rye and found the grams slightly less this time around for the discard, and the volume measurements I gave for the various ingredients.  I also noted that my earlier volume measurement for the Instant Dry Yeast was now far too low: to get 4 grams of IDY, I needed 3/4 tsp, not 1/4 tsp.  So that is what I used.  Other than that, I only used the volume measurements if I was 'in the ballpark'.

As to be expected, the time for the initial rise was much longer.  Rather than 30-60 minutes, this old starter and less yeast than last time meant that the rise required 4 1/2 hours.

After 4 1/2 hours, the risen loaves are painted with plain yogurt

Everything else was the same: except, my rye loaf broke in half while trying to take it from the pan while it was still hot.

Fresh from the Oven - on the same day we canned Crab-apple Juice

The top crust, made with yogurt over the old sourdough gives the loaf a rather strange appearance, almost like baked custard.  It is a very interesting texture, too.  This time I didn't sprinkle the top with more flour.

While both loaves taste okay, I prefer the taste of the non-enriched rye loaf, so from now on I won't make these loaves using any sort of enrichment. 

Notes to Myself
  •  Don't enrich these loaves.  They taste better without extra oil and sugar.
  • The latest recipe from this experiment.  All measures are in grams by weight, or approximate by volume.

    Ingredient%Rye amountRye volumeWhole Wheat amountWhole Wheat volume
    Flour1004233 1/4c4403 c
    ID Yeast0.8
    (i.e. 1)

    3/4 tsp43/4 tsp
    Starter92.7392your discard406your discard
    (298 if oil)
    1 1/2 c
    (1 1/4 c if oil)
    (308 if oil)
    1 1/4 c
    (7/8 c if oil)
    Salt281 1/4 tsp91 1/4 tsp

    Directions: Mix your motherstarter (discards) with the amounts of flour, yeast, salt and water as indicated by this table. Use your hands to ensure all the flour is well hydrated. Pour the dough into a well-buttered tin. Cover and proof until the dough fills the pan, (or the rye dough, lightly floured with rye, starts to crack the surface). Min 30-90 minutes, Max 4 1/2-5 hrs. Just before baking, paint with plain yogurt and a sprinkling of flour. Place in a preheated 450 degree F. oven (with steam during the early part of the bake) for 45-50 minutes, turning once during the bake. Remove from the tin and cool completely on a rack.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Everyday Bread #63 - No Knead 100% Rye and 100% Whole Wheat Sourdoughs

No Knead Sourdough Discard Breads:
100% Rye and 100% Whole Wheat

The idea for this experimental loaf came from a very recent post at The Fresh Loaf blogs, by bread baker arlo.

At the moment that I read his report, I had been thinking to myself, "Why can't I bake a rye loaf using Doris Grant's No-Knead techniques?"  The reply to which also came from myself (See note to myself, below), "Because you would require a sour environment for the rye gluten to fully develop."  And so I began to think about sourdough again.  I could use my sourdough discards, perhaps.  Or better yet, elaborate the sourdough the next time I refreshed it, and turn it into a no-knead rye.  The question then was, how much sourdough to use?

It was at that point in my thought process that arlo's loaves came to my attention.  Now arlo was baking a loaf described in the CIA Baking and Pastry: Mastering the Craft Book.  The Culinary Institute of America, I learned, is a non-profit culinary school that has been around almost as long as Doris Grant loaves.  Their website shows that they have a lot of fun associating of their name with the Central Intelligence Agency; but of course, there is no connection (or is there?  Card-carrying CIA graduates will never tell...)

I had a quick look at arlo's report of what the CIA advises to use in the recipe.  I thought to myself, "Wow, that seems to be a lot of yeast."  That is about how much the Artisan Breads in 5 Min a Day use for 4 loaves, with a 2 hour rise: and many artisan bread makers complain that their breads taste "Yeasty".  Nevertheless, I thought I'd try the recipe with my rye motherstarter discards.  I figured that even if the wild yeasts in the starter were pretty much spent, by adding that much yeast, I could still make a fairly decent rye bread.

Usually when I refresh my motherstarter, I save 1/2 a cup and discard the rest.  I wasn't even sure how much discard that would be, at this point.  It has been a long time since I weighed it.  So I was happy to have arlo's recipe percentages handy to calculate the amounts.  As I made the recipe, I also recorded the volume measurements of what I was using.

And then I thought I'd try basically the same recipe with my whole wheat motherstarter discards.

So here is the table of values that I used for both breads:

Ingredient%rye amountrye volww amountww vol
Flour1004233 1/4c4403 c
ID Yeast8347 tsp342 1/4 Tbsp
Water85.43611 1/2 c3761 1/4 c
Salt281 1/4 tsp91 1/4 tsp
(Be careful with this table, it contains an error, see below)

My Experience:

I mixed the doughs.

1. The Rye

In terms of feel, the rye loaf seemed denser from the start.  I did knead it, but only enough to incorporate the flour.  I used wet hands -- that is the only way I can knead rye, it doesn't develop like wheat dough, and I stopped as soon as the flour was well integrated.

2. The Wheat

The wheat dough, I did not knead.  I did stir it by hand, though, to get the flour completely hydrated.

I simply poured these doughs into the tins and pressed them down with a spatula.

The rye dough was set to rise perhaps 20 minutes before the whole wheat bread, simply because I had a bite of lunch to eat in between.  But perhaps that was a good thing: the rye loaf, which arlo said would rise in 30-40 minutes (or at least, its surface would crack, indicating expansion), took a bit longer than the whole wheat dough to get any sort of rise.  I set the clock for 40 minutes, then added 20 minutes, then added 30 minutes.  Finally I was beginning to see some cracks in the crust, which I had dusted lightly with rye flour as per his instructions.

So the rising time of the loaves were: 1 1/2 hours for the rye loaf, and 1 hour and 10 minutes for the whole wheat loaf.  Despite the surface cracks of the rye loaf, my best guess is that the loaves required just a tad longer than this, but I had some work-related appointment I had to keep, so I had to cut the rising time short.  The only extra time I gave them was about 15 minutes, for the preheating time.

These loaves supposedly require 65 minutes to bake at 450 degrees.

That seemed a trifle long, for the whole wheat bread at any rate, so I was prepared to place some foil over the top for the later part of the bake of these loaves, if required.  As a last-minute innovation, I painted some plain yogurt (some yogurt that was starting to get a bit old and sour) over the top of both loaves, and I sprinkled some flour on top of that; and I also used a tray of water to steam the tops of the loaves, in an effort to make sure the crust didn't burn.

I turned them 180 degrees in the oven at the 30 minute mark.

I peeked in on them with 18 minutes to go and determined that the loaves were done.  I suspect that the time for the loaves at that heat should have been 45 minutes.  I took mine out of the oven at 47 minutes, so they are a little crispy on top, despite my precautions about applying the yogurt.  That yogurt, by the way, gives the loaves a ghostly appearance while baking.

arlo claims he takes the rye bread from the tin and leaves it in the cooling oven for 15 minutes, once it is free of the tin.  I didn't think that my loaves required that.  Besides, I had to leave for that appointment.

The crumb is dense, and despite the look of the outer crust, it is a teensy bit clinchy or dampish/furry in the middle.  This could be because I didn't bake it long enough, or because I didn't let it cool long enough.  It was certainly cool when I cut into it after 4 hours, but perhaps the loaves were not quite ready.  In any case, the word on the street is that rye improves after at least 24 hours, and I didn't wait that long.  Toasted, the loaves are fine.

The rye has a sweet-sour scent to it; the whole wheat is just a sour scent, but it is gentler.

So... how does it taste?

I didn't think that my wife would like it, because it is a sourdough.  I figured that the sourdough, which had been refreshed four days earlier, meant that it would be very sour.  But I found this not to be the case.  I toasted some, and put butter and some Mecklenburger Tilset on it, and found the taste of the bread to be quite excellent.  "Perhaps you would like this, after all," I told my wife.  I gave her some of my bread to try.

She tried the rye and wondered if there was rye in it.

"Yes," I said.  "It is 100% rye."

She was impressed.

"You can stop experimenting now," she said.  "This is the one."

She indicated that not only did she like it, she thought her mother would like it too.  "But can you duplicate it?" she asked.

I thought so, having written everything down. 

I gave her the whole wheat bread to eat, and she nodded, but shrugged.

"You like the rye better," I surmised.

"Yes," she said.  "This is good, but the other one is better.   It is a nice mild taste, not overpowering, but very good."

Notes to Myself
  • Depending on your taste, you could incorporate Doris Grant style enrichment: oil in the form of butter or olive oil, sugar in the form of molasses or honey, etc., in the amounts that Doris originally suggested per loaf, or based on what you tried in your last everyday bread.  But frankly, these breads don't require it.  They taste good on their own.
  • I end up bouncing ideas off myself, because there are few other people in my brain to have a proper dialectic (thank goodness).  But inside my cranium, as sparks within the grey matter, there exist echoes of other people's thoughts, long after I have read what they have to say on the subject (I read other's words, and that is virtually my only contact with other's thoughts.  I'm not a mind reader, and I never talk to other people who bake bread, so books and blogs are pretty much my only insight into other baker's minds). 
    All of this is a long-winded way of saying that many of my thoughts are not original, but I have no idea any longer where the original thought came from.  The fact that rye needs wild yeasts and lactobacillus to create a sour, acidic pH environment to develop its gluten, I think I first read in a scientific journal (which one, I no longer remember); but Hammelman's
    Bread gives a succinct, well-written explanation as well.
  • Yogurt and flour gives an interesting topping to baking bread, and an unusual colour and texture.
  • Heh.  I just had another look at the original Fresh Loaf posting of this bread recipe.  And guess what?  The yeast that I thought was too much WAS too much.  Instead of being 8%, the blog says it should be 0.8%.  That will change a few things.
  • Here then is the complete recipe you can use, next time you try this loaf.  All measures are in grams by weight, or approximate by volume.

    Ingredient%Rye amountRye volumeWhole Wheat amountWhole Wheat volume
    Flour1004233 1/4c4403 c
    ID Yeast0.8
    (i.e. 1)

    1/4 tsp41/4 tsp
    Starter92.7392your discard406your discard
    (298 if oil)
    1 1/2 c
    (1 1/4 c if oil)
    (308 if oil)
    1 1/4 c
    (7/8 c if oil)
    Salt281 1/4 tsp91 1/4 tsp
    Optional Oil (olive oil)15631/4 c681/3 c
    Optional Sweetener (honey)23971/4 c1001/3 c

    Directions: Mix your motherstarter (discards) with the amounts of flour, yeast, salt and water as indicated by this table. Use your hands to ensure all the flour is well hydrated. Pour the dough into an oiled tin. Cover and proof until the dough fills the pan, (or the rye dough, lightly floured with rye, starts to crack the surface). 30-90 minutes. Just before baking, paint with plain yogurt and a sprinkling of flour. Place in a preheated 450 degree F. oven (with steam during the early part of the bake) for 45-50 minutes, turning once during the bake. Remove from the tin and cool completely on a rack.

    Note: You may want to check the next blog entry before trying the above recipe, it contains another mistake...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Everyday Bread #62 - an experimental loaf based on Doris Grant's Whole Wheat

Everyday Bread #62: My version of a Doris Grant Loaf
100% whole wheat, enriched

This was an experimental dough.

I was working with the basic Doris Grant loaf (which see), using some Myrtle Allen/James Beard techniques, and incorporating some of the enrichment of the King Arthur Whole Wheat Bread.

The recipe here gives 2 loaves.  The first one, I put in an ordinary buttered tin.  The second one, I wanted to try as a Lahey-style no-knead bread, as I have baked them before in a casserole dish.

  • 6ish c wwflour 900 g
  • 3 c water 671 g
  • 1/3 c honey 100 g
  • 2 tsp salt 7 g (kosher)
  • 1/3 c oil (68 g)
  • 2 TBSP yeast 27 g


I followed the general instructions of the Myrtle Allen/ James Beard bread, which is derived from Doris Grant: preheat the flour and bowl and tins and casserole dishes at your oven's lowest setting (mine goes only as low as 170 degrees F).

Heat water, honey and oil to about 110 degrees F.
Add yeast to some of this honey-water mix, and wait 5-10 minutes, awaiting it to bloom or froth.

Then take the flour and warm bowl from the oven and stir the yeast and water mixes into the warm flour, until the flour is hydrated.

If pouring into a buttered tin, do it now and let rise 30 minutes, covered.

If baking in a casserole dish, first put the dough on a couche-lined basket that has been dusted with bran, dust the top with more bran, and let rise 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 
If baking in a casserole dish, dump the dough from the couche into the hot casserole dish when the oven is preheated 30 minutes, and cover. 
Place tin or casserole into oven.

Bake for 20 minutes, and then place tinfoil over the loaf in the pan, and take off the lid of the casserole dish.  Bake another 20 minutes.
Remove from tin immediately if it will come easily; otherwise wait 5 minutes before trying again; if baking in a casserole dish, the bread should come out easily when inverted.
Rub butter on the top if you want a softer crust.

Cool on a rack.

My Experience:

The yeast didn't really froth, though I waited 11 minutes.  But I suspect that I activated it; I think that there was just so much yeast, it was too heavy to push up against the oiled water.  I placed the yeast in some hot water that I had melted the honey in, so the honey did drop the heat from between 110-120 degrees to about 100 degrees.  I think that that low temperature might have something to do with the way the yeast didn't jump to attention.

The dough in the pan really expanded quickly.  After 30 minutes, I saw it bulging the tea towel.  I felt good about preheating the oven at that point for the one in the tin.

I have some misgivings about the one in the couche-lined basket.  Lahey advises an 18 hour rise for a small amount of yeast, and I suspect that he is right about the taste developing over time.  However, it is nice to know that one can, in a pinch, in a hurry, use more yeast and get the job done.  It did rise well.  So much so that it was a bit tricky getting it out of the basket without overhandling the dough.

The bread in the tin got stuck as usual, even though this time I used butter and not coconut oil.  I think that it is just the dough: some sticking is just going to happen, no matter what.

I used some foil over the bread in the tin as it baked for the last 20 minutes, but even still it seemed to get a bit browner than the one in the casserole dish.

Neither loaf had much oven rise, although the one in the casserole dish did seem to expand a bit -- enough to take out some of the dough's wrinkles, caused by the couche.

The crumb is as nice as you would want from a 100% whole wheat sandwich loaf.  It is an enhanced dough, or enriched dough, but it is not sickly sweet., like I had complained about the King Arthur Flour loaf.  I think that it is not bad; I'm hoping that my wife will like it, as it is a compromise loaf.  I can still taste the whole wheat, but it is not very bitter.  I am particularly pleased with the way the one in the casserole dish turned out.

Notes to Myself
  • This is a much quicker made loaf than any of the other loaves I have made so far. You don't mess around trying to knead it. The 30 minute rise is sufficient when you use this much yeast.
  • Baking the loaf in the preheated casserole dish is a better idea since it doesn't stick as badly to the container.
  • This is an extremely wet dough, and I probably could have done without this much oil.
  • Try making this one with some seeds or nuts; and/or try precooking some grains so that their gums congeal a bit. Adjust the honey so it isn't quite so sweet (to your own taste).