Can you believe it? We're already into the fourth week of the six-week Six Ingredient Challenge! How's it going for you? Amy and I posted our answers to the third week's writing prompt, and the linky there is still open for you to link up your posts about why you felt inspired to be a part of the Six Ingredient Challenge. Remember to post your answers to the fourth prompt sometime before Thursday. Even if you didn't start the challenge with us on February 1, it's not too late to sign up and join in now!
Today I'm bringing you a guest post from Sam, our family's resident breadmaker. He's sharing an easy recipe for making homemade semi-whole grain bread. It can be nearly impossible to find any store-bought grain products with six ingredients or fewer, and processed breads often have a lot of questionable additives, hydrogenated oils, and even high fructose corn syrup. Here's a healthier version that kids will eat — maybe because they don't realize how healthy it is! It's a family-friendly mix of white flour, whole wheat flour, whole oats, and whole flaxseeds. It takes just six ingredients (not counting spices), and it helps use up the whey from the homemade ricotta recipe Sam posted before.
Homemade semi-whole grain bread
Guest post by Crackerdog Sam
I'd been making the basic white loaves from the stellar book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day for a few months when Lauren suggested switching over to at least partially whole-wheat flours. Unfortunately, my first attempts were too dense and dry and I gave up.
It wasn't until I got into homemade ricotta and had all this whey to use up, reading in various places that whey gave bread a "fluffier crumb" (the interior of the loaf), that it occurred to me that I might salvage the whole-wheat option. I've added flaxseed and whole oats for more whole fiber, and more hearty flavor. Mikko eats it up without complaint.
- 1 Cup + 1 Tbsp room-temperature whey
- 1/2 Tbsp granulated yeast
- 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1 1/3 Cups unbleached white flour (7.2 oz)
- 2/3 Cup white whole wheat flour (3.6 oz)
- 1 Tbsp whole flaxseeds
- 1/4 Cup oats
- Optional: dill, tarragon, finely diced garlic, etc.
Note: Breadmakers actually weigh their flour instead of measuring it, because you can get different amounts in a cup depending on whether you sift, sweep, or pack the flour. The cup measurements I've listed are based on my typical method of reaching a scoop into the bag and pressing lightly against the side of the bag when filling it, which slightly compacts the flour.
- 5-quart mixing bowl
- cutting board
- parchment paper
- pizza stone
- pizza peel (or baking sheet)
- serrated bread knife
- pan for water
- cooling rack
Dietary/allergy notes:Vegetarian, could be vegan if 1 Cup tepid water is substituted for whey — however, that will change the bread's texture. Contains dairy and gluten.
Directions:1. Gather all of your ingredients and instruments and have them nearby, as you'll want to assemble things quickly. First, add the whey to the mixing bowl, then the yeast, then immediately the salt, the flour, the flaxseeds, the oats, and any herbs.
2. Stir all the ingredients as soon as possible, just until combined. (Overmixing will toughen the dough.)
3. Cover the bowl and let rise for 2 1/2 hours. (The dough will be very sticky, so don't cover with a towel or anything that will droop in and touch the dough. I use a large cutting board.)
4. Remove the cover and stir, deflating the dough.
5. Dust your hands with flour (and have more ready, as you'll need to reapply more than once) and tighten the dough ball. Essentially what you want to do is pretend it's a jellyfish, pushing the loose bottom parts up into the center of the body and leave yourself with a nice, smooth rounded top. It usually takes me three or four rounds of tucking in the underside and stretching/smoothing the outside to create this tightness. At this point, pat the ball all over lightly with flour, which forms a "dust jacket" to impede subsequent drooping, and place firmly on the parchment paper, pushing down slightly so the bottom doesn't try to expand. (It took me a while to really understand how this process works, since you have to feel it more than see it to comprehend, so don't be afraid to keep at it until it clicks for you.)
6. Let the loaf sit for 25 minutes while you prepare the oven. Place a cup or so of water into a metal or glass pan on the top rack, and place the pizza stone on the bottom rack, preheating to 450˚. Trim excess parchment paper from around the loaf so that it doesn't smoke.
7. Make two or three diagonal incisions on the top of the loaf using a serrated bread knife. This creates seams in the "dust jacket" so when the loaf rises, it will push forth from those spaces and expand upward, creating that cool artisan look.
8. Immediately after cutting, slide dough onto the pizza stone from a pizza peel. Bake for 30-35 minutes until browned and crunchy on the outside.
9. Place loaf on cooling rack for 15-20 minutes until it can be handled. Then tear off hunks and serve warm with an olive oil/sea salt dipping plate, or, perhaps, slice thickly and serve with warm soup.
10. To combine both the ricotta recipe and bread recipe, roast sliced eggplant with a drizzle of honey and some ricotta on top, then serve on thin toasted slices of this hearty bread. Delicious!
Enjoy — you are now an artisan breadmaker, and your family will thank you for it!