Regular visitors to this blog know that I like to make my own 100% whole wheat bread, but also that Ezekiel Bread is my favorite (and though I don’t currently have data to back this up, I am convinced this is the most nutritious bread there is). I haven’t posted the recipe in a while so thought I would for a couple reasons. The first, simply, is that I like it. And the second is that when talking to people (or if they taste the bread) they tell me the bread looks or tastes really good but the recipe seems complicated. Well I’m here to let you in on a little secret…it’s not. The only difference between this bread (or any other bread that contains whole boiled grain) is that the beans and grain are boiled before being added to the recipe. Anyhow, this is how I made Ezekiel bread today (pictured above) without letting it interrupt my life…rather, I controlled it so that the various stages worked around my time today (the recipe is at the bottom of this post).
This morning, shortly after lighting a fire in the wood-burning stove, I boiled some beans and grains. I don’t often use the wood-burning stove to cook on that often–in fact I haven’t used it as often as usual for heat because of the mild winter–but today I did, and the boiling grain made the house smell great (my two pugs loved it…that’s them below sleeping next to the stove). And over the years my view of this recipe–or more specifically, my view of the beans and grains involved–are on the same line with my view of theology…extremely liberal (to read more about my liberal views of this bread, click here). Today, for example, I didn’t have millet or bulgur but did have brown rice and chick peas so I used them instead…nearly any bean or grain will do (but not to worry, the recipe listed below is tried and tested…and it works). Anyhow, while I had my coffee, checked emails, Facebook, and updated this blog…the beans and grains boiled. When they were done I placed them outside on a rear porch railing to cool (it was only 32F/0C…why tax my fridge). And while it cooled I went and did a few errands on my bike, stopped at a coffee shop, and took a few photos.
When I returned the beans and liquid were cool, so I mixed the two separate bowls (see recipe below) and went for a walk and to a health club for a quick swim. When I returned I mixed the dough, had dinner, then “went to my inner room” for a few minutes of meditation.
After the dough rose I went to a local tavern for a couple beers, but before I did I shaped the loaves and put them in their loaf pans. And just before I left the house I turned on my oven to preheat it (my 20-year-old oven takes a long time to heat). When I returned home the bread was risen and oven hot so, after spraying both the bread and oven with water, I placed it in the oven. While the bread baked I wrote the previous post, pet my dogs, and had a glass of wine. And now, as I type these words, the rear of the house is warm–because the oven was on–the entire house has the awesome aroma of freshly baked bread, and I have two loaves of really good Ezekiel bread that cost pennies to make (compared to dollars at the local co-op for a sometimes mediocre loaf). I’ll freeze one loaf and slice into the other for toast in the morning…but actually, I think I’ll go grab a slice right now with butter on it while it’s still fresh and warm.
2 tablespoons white beans
2 tablespoons redbeans
2 tablespoons lentils
2 tablespoons millet
2 tablespoonsbulgur wheat
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoonsinstant yeast
4 cups whole wheatflour
1/4 cup olive oil
3 teaspoons kosher
3teaspoons instant yeast
Boil the grains in the water inlogical succession according to cooking times: first the white andred beans (about 60 minutes), when they are soft add the, speltberries, lentils, and barley (about 30 minutes); lastly, add themillet and bulgar (about 10 minutes). The key is that after eachaddition the previous grain must be soft enough so that when all ofthe grains are in the pot they will all be equally soft; undercookedgrains (especially the beans) can really ruin this bread. And as thegrains cook add more water to the pot as necessary because thecooking liquid, which is full of nutrients, will become part of therecipe (keeping a lid on the pot will slow it’s evaporation). Afterthe grains are cooked allow them to cool in the liquid to roomtemperature, refrigerating if necessary. After the grains are cooleddrain them, squeezing them with your hands or the back of a spoon,reserving the cooking liquid.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface andcut it into 2 or 3 pieces. Shape into loaves and place into lightlyoiled pans. Loosely cover the loaves with plastic wrap and allow toferment for 30-60 minutes, or until double in size and when gentlytouched with a fingertip an indentation remains.
Bake thebreads for about 30-40 minutes, adding steam to the oven a few times(either with ice cubes or a spray bottle) and rotating the breadsevery ten minutes. The breads are done when they are dark brown andsound hollow when tapped upon. Remove the breads from their pans andallow them to cook on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes beforeslicing.