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Honey-Oatmeal Train Car…

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This is a loaf I made today using my Pullman loaf-pan, which I haven’t used in a while…named after a Pullman train car because of it’s similar long and narrow shape (in french it is often referred to as pain de mie). A Pullman loaf is traditionally a white and squishy and soft sandwich loaf. The one that I made–the one pictured–was made using the following recipe. Good and good for you…simple to make, too. I heard a quote recently that said (and I’m paraphrasing), homemade bread doesn’t take a lot of hard work, just time. And this couldn’t be more true.

Whole Wheat Honey-Oatmeal Bread

Makes 2 or 3 loaves

6 cups whole wheat flour, divided

2 cups oatmeal, plus additional for coating

2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten

3 ½ cups water, divided

2 tablespoons instant yeast, divided

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup honey

2 teaspoons kosher salt

 Separate the ingredients into two bowls using this ratio: In one bowl combine 4 cups of flour, two cups of oatmeal, the wheat gluten, and 2 ½ cups of water; stir until just combined. In the second bowl combine the remaining 2 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon of yeast, and 1 cup of water; stir until just combined. Cover the bowls and allow the ingredients to rest and begin fermenting for at least an hour, but up to 12. Then combine the contents of bowl bowls into the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the remaining tablespoon of yeast, along with the olive oil, honey, and salt. Knead the dough on medium speed for about 8 minutes, then cover and allow to rise for one hour. Transfer the dough to a work surface, cut it into two or pieces, gently shape it into loaves. Dust the counter with extra oatmeal and roll the loaves in it, gently pressing oatmeal into the surface of the raw dough. Place the loaves into oiled loaf pans, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 45 minutes. Preheat an oven to 425F. Bake the bread for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on. Remove the bread from their pans and allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

Really good bread…four igredients, ok five, but one is optional

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 Okay, so here is something about me you likely do not know…I was once one of these people that thought making homemade bread was difficult. Well, it’s not. And even after I had mastered it and became somewhat obsessed with making it I still thought it was impossible to make a really good loaf using 100% whole wheat flour. Well, surprise (again), it can be and it is really simple. Five ingredients, that’s really all you need, four if you don’t add the extra gluten (but this really does add a nice texture to whole wheat bread). Anyhow, bread is easy. The best place to start is now. Like anything, you get better with practice. That first loaf–or even the first dozen loaves–may not be great, but they will be yours. But soon enough people will be asking for it. Try making your own bread. You won’t regret it.

100% Whole Wheat Bread

Makes 2 loaves

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup water
2 teaspoons instant yeast
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4 cups whole wheat flour

2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
2 cups water
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3 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons kosher salt

In one bowl make a preferment by combining 2 cups of whole wheat flour with 1 cup water and 2 teaspoons of instant yeast. Begin the autolyse in another bowl by combining 4 cups of whole wheat flour, 2 tablespoons of wheat gluten, and 2 cups water. Stir each bowl just enough to combine the ingredients, taking care not to get yeast into the bowl with the autolyse. Cover both bowls and allow to rest and ferment for 30-90 minutes, during which time the preferment will begin it’s job multiplying yeast and fermenting flour, and the autolyse will soak the grain, swelling the gluten.

After an hour or so, combine the ingredients from both bowls into the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the salt and remaining 3 teaspoons of yeast (add the yeast and salt on opposite sides of the bowl). Knead the dough on medium speed for about 8 minutes. Place the dough in a lightly oiled container, cover it loosely, and allow to ferment for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in bulk. Deflate the dough and allow it to ferment an additional 30 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and cut it into 2 or 3 pieces. Shape into loaves and place into lightly oiled pans (or shape them pre-form and place them on baking sheets). Loosely cover the loaves with plastic wrap and allow to ferment for 30-60 minutes, or until double in size and when gently touched with a fingertip an indentation remains.

Bake the breads for about 30-40 minutes, adding steam to the oven a few times (either with ice cubes or a spray bottle) and rotating the breads every ten minutes. The breads are done when they are dark brown and sound hollow when tapped upon. Remove the breads from their pans and allow them to cook on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Urban Simplicity.

Seven is the lucky number…

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This is one of my favorite loaves of bread and it is so easy to make. The beauty of it is that it only has seven ingredients, and–unlike most supermarket breads–all of the ingredients are easily recognizable and understandable. If you want to get real bare-bones you can pare this recipe down to just four ingredients (click here for that recipe) but with the addition of honey, olive oil, and gluten the yield is much more to my–and likely your–liking. Anyhow, the easy and delicious recipe is below.

100% Whole Wheat Bread

Makes 2 loaves

 

6 cups whole wheat flour, divided

 

2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten

 

3 cups water, divided

 

4 teaspoons instant yeast, divided

 

2 teaspoons kosher salt

 

1/4 cup olive oil

 

1/4 cup honey

 

 

Separate the ingredients in two bowls using this ratio: In one bowl combine 4 cups of flour, the vital wheat gluten, and 2 cups of water. Stir it just until combined; cover with plastic wrap and set aside. In a second bowl, combine the remaining 2 cups flour and 1 cup water and 2 teaspoons of yeast. Stir it just until combined; cover with plastic wrap and set aside. Allow the bowls to rest for at least an hour. After the ingredients have rested and have begun to ferment, combine the contents of both bowls to an upright mixer that is fitted with a dough hook. Also add the remaining ingredients: the salt, olive oil, honey, and remaining two teaspoons yeast. Knead the dough on medium speed for about 8 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for one hour. Transfer the dough to a work surface, cut it into two pieces, gently shape it into loaves, and place them either on a baking sheet or in loaf pans. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 45 minutes. Preheat an oven to 425F/218C. If making free-form loaves, slash them with a razor just before they go into the oven. Bake the bread for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on. As the bread bakes rotate the loaves in the oven once or twice to ensure even baking. Remove the bread from their pans and allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

 

Urban Simplicity.

Rice-and-Beans…but bread

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Yup, it’s true…rice-and-beans, but made into bread. I, as you likely know, eat a lot of bread. So I often try different combinations to make a healthier bread. Some say that rice-and-beans are a perfect food. Well, I’m not so sure about that, but they are really good. Anyhow, this recipe is not unlike my Ezekiel Bread recipe in that the beans and rice are first boiled and they–along with the cooking liquid–are used to make the bread. And of course this recipe is made using 100% whole wheat flour. Anyhow, this is really delicious and not entirely difficult. I hope you give it–or some of my other bread recipes–a try, you won’t be sorry.

Whole Wheat Brown Rice and White Bean Bread

Makes 3 loaves

12 cups water

½ cup white beans

½ cup brown rice

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cooked beans and rice

¾ cup cooking water

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon instant yeast

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4 cups whole wheat flour

2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten

2 cups cooking liquid

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1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 tablespoon instant yeast

Boil the beans for about 1 hour or until nearly soft, then add the rice and simmer for another 45 minutes, or until the rice and beans are fully cooked and soft. And as the rice and beans cook add more water to the pot as necessary because the cooking liquid, which is full of nutrients, will become part of the recipe (keeping a lid on the pot will slow it’s evaporation). After the rice and beans are cooked allow them to cool in the liquid to room temperature, refrigerating if necessary. Once cooled, drain them, squeezing them with your hands or the back of a spoon, reserving the cooking liquid.

Place two bowls side-by-side; one will hold the pre-ferment, the other autolyse. In one bowl combine the cooked and drained rice and beans with ¾ cup of the cooking liquid, 2 cups whole wheat flour, and 1 tablespoon instant yeast. Stir it just until combined then cover it with plastic wrap. In the other bowl combine 4 cups whole wheat flour, 2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten, and 2 cups cooking liquid; stir it just until combined then cover it with plastic wrap (take care not to get yeast into this bowl). Allow the bowls to rest at room temperature for about an hour, during which time the preferment will begin it’s job multiplying yeast and fermenting flour, and the autolyse will soak liquid, swelling the gluten.

After an hour or so, combine the ingredients from both bowls into the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the honey, olive oil, salt, and remaining tablespoon of yeast (add the yeast and salt on opposite sides of the bowl. Knead the dough on medium speed for about 8 minutes (if the dough is too soft, add an additional cup or two of flour as it kneads). Place the dough in a lightly oiled container, cover it loosely, and allow to ferment for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in bulk. Deflate the dough and allow it to ferment an additional 30 minutes.

Preheat an oven to 425F. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and cut it into 3 pieces. Shape into loaves and place into lightly oiled pans. Loosely cover the loaves with plastic wrap and allow to ferment for 30-60 minutes, or until double in size and when gently touched with a fingertip an indentation remains.

Bake the breads for about 30-40 minutes, adding steam to the oven a few times (either with ice cubes or a spray bottle) and rotating the breads every ten minutes. The breads are done when they are dark brown and sound hollow when tapped upon. Remove the breads from their pans and allow them to cook on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before slicing.