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, December 6, 2011

Pumpkin Bread with Coriander seeds

A Path to Obscurity
I've been busy the last few days doing official professional development stuff.  Every nurse has to make an effort to be a better nurse, every year.  There is always more to learn.  My only complaint with the process is that it just isn't always what I want to learn, when I want to learn it.  So it becomes more like work.  C'est la vie.

It has been a long time since I pushed my mind through a curriculum devised by other people.  Because of that lapse, now even textbooks, which are a record of another person's train of thought, are difficult for me to study.  I'm used to a different sort of random self-teaching.  And I trust it to lead me to the next Right Thing.

Everything's working out perfectly.

I've often wondered where I'd be today if I grew up with a tool like the Internet at my fingertips, able to look up virtually anything at a moment's notice.  I used to spend a lot of time and money trying to find information, spending it on books and magazines, traveling to libraries.  Would I have been better off, had I found the info I wanted immediately?  Or would I have missed some serendipitous event -- for example, when I went to a library and found an altogether better book on the shelf next to the one I was looking for, that ended up sending me off in another direction entirely?  Would I ever have studied anything to any depth, or would I still be just skittering across the surface of every distraction like a water strider?

I guess the result of my meandering attention is: I have ended up teaching myself a lot of things that most other people are simply not interested in.  I'd never call myself an expert at any of them: you need a chain of other experts called Ph.D.'s to tell you that you are that, these days, to make it official.

The point is, I've had to pay a lot of money and spend a lot of time teaching myself things because the things I tend to be interested in are quite obscure.  That's what happens when you get off the beaten track.  It is expensive, tough slogging.

I've had episodic passions, in my life, trying to find out information on any number of arcane or absurd subjects, immersing myself in things that most of the world couldn't give a damn about. 

Perhaps the last couple of years exploring wholegrain bread-making is just a similar episode or interlude.

Long before I ever had a computer, I left notes in my journals as I wandered this trail through my unknowns, lurching from one interest to the next.  It has been a very obscure path I've taken, following the stream of my distraction.  I have very little to show for it all now, except those shelves and boxes of journals.  Well, also perhaps my brain has built some strange neuronal intersections.  It was inevitable.
A small section of shelving containing some of my old journals
-- that someday, Some Day, I'm going to have to deal with

Those journals remain like breadcrumbs, so I can find my way back (or perhaps so others could follow, were I to become utterly lost).  Hey, maybe that is what this blog has become: another trail of breadcrumbs.  And it has some benefits, over the old journals: it doesn't gather dust and it isn't so heavy to lug around when you move.  And it is automatically indexed thanks to Google or other search engines.  I can probably find anything I want in it without having to remember which book I wrote it in.  As long as I know something about what I'm searching for.  Today's bread, for example, will be found by me from here-on in if I simply ask for exorphin junkie pumpkin bread.

As if I'd ever go back there.

But I might, for this recipe.  It was a good one.

Pumpkin Bread
So here is another pumpkin bread.  I am, of course, simply using up that pumpkin puree I made so much of.

I wanted to try it this time with coriander seeds.

    •    168g Pumpkin Seeds
    •    9g Coriander Seeds ( ~ 1 1/2 Tbsp)
    •    1 tsp Ground Cumin  (these ground spices weigh very little, less than a gram)
    •    1/2 tsp Ground Coriander
    •    3/4 tsp Ground Turmeric
    •    1000g whole wheat flour
    •    700g Pumpkin Puree
    •    20g Salt
    •    150g Water when salt and spices are added
    •    Some Paprika added to some whole wheat flour for final dusting of the loaf during forming

The usual Tartine style folding while bulk fermenting and then bench-resting, forming and baking.  I haven't grown tired of it yet.  Some day I'll outgrow it -- maybe -- but for now, it provides me with some great bread.  And that's all I really wanted, when I began all this.

The colour is a distinct greenish orange, made more orange by the turmeric and pumpkin puree, more green by the seeds and other spices.  I  look at the colour of the crumb (it doesn't show well with this old digital camera and its flash) and I am reminded of pistachios.  Next time I might even add some pistachios.

Ugh.  The awful focus of this crappy camera.

The taste is pretty darn good.  The whole coriander seeds provide an interesting occasional crunch and burst of flavour.  I like this combination.  And although it is inspired by Continental Indian Cooking spices, it doesn't really taste like Indian food.

Notes to Myself
  • Don't fight it.  Try adding pistachio nuts to an orange-green loaf like this.

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