Wednesday, June 2, 2010
thoughts on bread
I love bread. I love kneading dough, forming loaves, smelling it bake. And, of course, I love eating it too.
As more and more information came out about white flour and the evils therein, I started to wonder and worry about my bread-making. I didn't want to stop making bread. Making bread for me is just as much about the making as it is about the eating. And I worried more about my bread than cookies or cakes or any of the other obviously naughty foods I make. Cookies and cakes we know are naughty. I just want my bread to be wholesome!
For Christmas a friend sent to me a new bread-making book called Whole Grain Breads by Peter Reinhart. In his book he introduces a new way to make bread that uses all whole wheat flour.
I've made "whole wheat" bread before, but the dough was always largely made of white flour with some whole wheat flour thrown in. The method Reinhart outlines in Whole Grain Breads uses all whole wheat flour. I was skeptical at first. I wanted to make bread, not bricks, and I thought that eliminating white flour would make the bread way too dense.
But, I read it through, learning about the parts of grain, the seasons its harvested in, how flavor comes out of the grain, how gluten works and I was ready, though still a little nervous, to give it a try. He has you make two pre-doughs that rest overnight before you combine them into a final dough the next day. The slow rise softens the grain and encourages the most flavor possible out it.
I've made 4 batches of bread now with this method. The first batch I had to throw away. This one was my fault. I didn't let it bake long enough and when I sliced into it there was a giant tunnel running through the middle of the loaf. The next couple of times I made smaller loaves with better success.
I feel like I am not quite there yet. I haven't quite nailed it. But, I want to keep trying. Yesterday I made these Multigrain loaves. They have whole wheat flour, oat bran and flax seed. Soooo good for you. And super tasty too!
Though we'll see if Andrew eats his sandwich today. The ultimate flavor test.