≡ Menu

I have a new favourite bread.  This one is sooo good I’ve made it half a dozen times over now. My last favourite was Seedy Sourdough Crispbread, and it’s still up there – I’ve been making a batch most weekends – but this dense, malty, well-textured, chocolatey rye bread is totally addictive.

The Recipe:

The method is the same as the one I use for my Oat and Linseed Sourdough and Barley Bread. I’ve tried a lot of different timings, but this works so well around a workday that making bread routinely doesn’t feel at all like a chore.

Before I go to bed:

  • Take the sourdough starter out of the fridge.
  • Mix 1 ¼ cups of unbleached bakers flour, 1¼ cups of water, and 1¼ cups of starter.  (I use my tank water, which has no chlorine or additives in it).
  • Put half of it back in the jar in the fridge.  You should be left with 1½ cups of fed starter, to put in a bowl covered with a clean cloth on the kitchen bench for the night. By morning it should be frothy.

Next morning:

Mix into the 1½ cups of fed starter:

  • 2 dessertspoons (1½ US tablespoons) treacle
  • 2 dessertspoons (1½ US tablespoons) macadamia (or other nut) oil
  • 1 big dessertspoon (¾ US tablespoon) cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 2 cups organic wholemeal rye flour
  • ½ cup wholemeal wheat flour

Pour another ½ cup wholemeal wheat flour on the bench and knead the dough briefly, until it is smooth and springy.  I am time-poor enough that I just don’t do long kneading, but I’m learning to re-vision kneading as my regular tuck-shop lady arms avoidance exercise, so I actually like a bit of bread dough bashing.

Put a good dollop of macadamia (or other nut) oil in a large bowl, swirl the dough ball around in it to coat, cover the bowl with a clean cloth, and leave out on the benchtop for the day to prove. On cold days, I try to find a warm spot for it.

When I get home at 5.30

The dough doesn’t rise as much as wheat bread, but it will still rise to double the size it was when I left.  I tip it out onto the benchtop (it’s already oily so no need to flour) and knead very briefly – a minute or so – then put it in a oiled baking tin. The tin I use is a small bread tin. Slash the top with a sharp knife, cover with the clean cloth again and leave again.

At 7.30

The bread will have doubled in size again.  I’ve baked it a few different ways. It’s nicest without a crusty crust. The best result was in my slow combustion wood oven,  with a tray of boiling water in the bottom of the oven, baked for around 30 minutes.  The oven was well and truly heated up, but slow combustions have a very even, mellow heat. I’ve also baked it in the gas oven, putting it into a cold oven turned to high, and baking for around 40 minutes, with a tray of boiling water added about half way through.

It is done when it feels firm and sounds hollow when tapped.

PS. I baked it again this weekend, but away from home, and discovered that in a fan-forced electric oven, it needs to be cooked at a medium low temperature.  I set it too high, and the middle was still doughy when the crust was getting too crisp.

[relatedPosts]

{ 3 comments }

My Oat and Linseed Sourdough has a challenger. It’s been a while. For six months now, I’ve been baking a small loaf of Oat and Linseed Sourdough two or three times most weeks. Occasionally, just because I got a bit bored, I’d do something different – a Megagrain loaf, or Fruit and Nut bread, or Celia’s Ciabatta, or Polenta and Pepita bread (one day I’ll get around to posting that recipe). But for everyday eating, I’d keep going back to the Oat and Linseed.

Then, one day I bought some rolled barley at the local wholefoods shop. For no good reason, just that they looked good – like rolled oats but heartier and less bland.  And, as a good blogger does, I did a bit of googling and discovered that barley really deserves to be in the superfoods list. It’s even better than oats as a source of soluble fibre that lowers the bad LDL, cholesterol levels and thus protects against heart disease.  And it’s a good source of  “resistant starch“, which means that it doesn’t get digested till it gets down into the lower intestine, where fermentation by good bacteria produce some compounds called Short Chain Fatty Acids, which are powerfully protective against bowel cancer.  And on top of that it is a really good source of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins. And it’s very low GI.

And, I like the taste. Nutty, chewy, sweeter than oats. It makes a great bread that is dense and moist, stays fresh, tastes great with real honey on it, or vegemite, or an egg, one slice of toast for breakfast keeps you going till lunchtime no worries.

The Recipe:

The process is practically identical to the oat and linseed bread, but I’ll repeat it all here so you don’t have to flick back and forth.

It takes 24 hours, but only about 15 minutes work over all that time.

Before I go to bed:

  • Take the sourdough starter out of the fridge.
  • Mix 1 ¼ cups of unbleached bakers flour, 1 ¼ cups of water, and 1¼ cups of starter.  (I use my tank water, which has no chlorine or additives in it).
  • Put half of it back in the jar in the fridge.  You should be left with 1½ cups of fed starter, to put in a bowl covered with a clean cloth on the kitchen bench for the night. By morning it should be frothy, like the picture.
  • Soak two thirds of a cup of pearled barley in two and a half cups of water with a good teaspoon of salt.  (Don’t forget the salt) I soak and cook it in my pressure cooker.

Next morning:

As soon as I get up, while the coffee is brewing, I stir two big handfuls of rolled barley into the starter, and let it sit and soak in.

At the same time, I turn the pressure cooker on and pressure cook the soaked barley for ten minutes. (Without a pressure cooker, you could boil. It should take around 30 minutes to cook to soft).

After I’ve had my breakfast,  by which time the barley is cooked and slightly cooled, I stir in the cooked barley into the starter and rolled barley mix, It makes a very thick batter, so thick you can stand a spoon up in it. I add a cup of unbleached bakers flour, tip another half a cup of flour on my benchtop and have another half a cup ready.  I tip the mix out onto it, and with floured hands knead in the flour, adding as much more flour as I need to get a ball of soft, springy, not too sticky bread dough.

This whole stage takes less than five minutes. It probably makes better bread the more you knead, but I never have that much time or patience, or incentive to try.

Put a good dollop of macadamia (or olive) oil in a large bowl, swirl the dough ball around in it to coat, cover the bowl with a clean cloth, and leave out on the benchtop for the day to prove.

When I get home at 5.30

The dough will be two to three times the size it was when I left.  I tip it out onto the benchtop (it’s already oily so no need to flour) and knead very briefly – a minute or so – then put it in a oiled baking tin. Slash the top with a sharp knife, cover with the clean cloth again and leave again.

(If I’m home late, it is a pain. It really needs that two hours for the second rise, and I turn into a pumpkin at about 8.30 pm!)

At 7.30

The bread will have doubled in size again.  I put the loaf in the middle of a cold oven, turn the oven on to medium hot, and bake.  It takes about 40 minutes in my oven.  I know when it is done when the crust is nicely browned and it sounds hollow.

[relatedPosts]

 

{ 6 comments }

I’m on a mission to lower my “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. I already eat really well, and I can’t bring myself to consider the “proven to lower cholesterol” margarines so there’s not a lot to play with.  Oats, lots of oats, and oat bran, linseeds, and macadamia oil are just about the limit of the adjustments I can make.

So this is my new favourite bread.  It has lots of oats.  And some linseeds. And it is easy enough for me to make even on weekday workdays. And it tastes really really good, as toast and as sandwiches.

The Recipe:

It takes 24 hours, but only about 15 minutes work over all that time.  Oh, and you need a sourdough starter.

Before I go to bed:

  • Take the sourdough starter out of the fridge.
  • Mix 1 ¼ cups of unbleached bakers flour, 1 ¼ cups of water, and 1 ¼ cups of starter.  (I use my tank water, which has no chlorine or additives in it).
  • Put half of it back in the jar in the fridge.  You should be left with 1½ cups of fed starter, to put in a bowl covered with a clean cloth on the kitchen bench for the night. By morning it should be frothy, like the picture.

Next morning:

Mix in:

  • ¼ cup crushed linseeds
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ¾ cup oat bran
  • teaspoon treacle
  • teaspoon salt

Let that lot soak in while you cook ½ cup steel cut oats in 2 cups of water.  Be careful – it will tend to overflow if it is on too high.  Just simmer for around 5 minutes until you have a thick porridge.  Cool a bit, then add to the mix.

Stir in a cup of unbleached bakers flour to make a thick dough. Tip another half a cup of flour on your benchtop and have another half a cup ready.  Tip the mix out onto it, and with floured hands knead in the flour.  Add as much more flour as you need to prevent the dough sticking.  It should only take a few minutes, you should use most of the flour, and you should end up with a ball of soft, springy, not too sticky bread dough.

Put a good dollop of macadamia (or olive) oil in a large bowl, swirl the dough ball around in it to coat, cover the bowl with a clean cloth, and leave out on the benchtop for the day to prove.

When I get home at 5.30

The dough will be two to three times the size it was when I left.  I tip it out onto the benchtop (it’s already oily so no need to flour) and knead very briefly – a minute or so – then put it in a oiled baking tin. Slash the top with a sharp knife, cover with the clean cloth again and leave again.

At 7.30

The bread will have doubled in size again.  I put the loaf in the middle of a cold oven, turn the oven on to medium hot, and bake.  It takes about 40 minutes in my oven.  I know when it is done when the crust is nicely browned and it sounds hollow.
[relatedPosts]

{ 9 comments }

I’m loving my everyday sourdough these days. I make a small loaf every second day (since there’s only two of us to eat it on everyday days). It’s getting heavier and heavier as I get the knack!  I’ve got into a rhythm  that is near enough to effortless –  certainly well worth the effort – about 15 minutes all up of actual work spread over 24 hours.  And that yields me the kind of bread that is tempting enough to inspire me to take lunch to work, and healthy enough to eat as much as I like (and I like).

The system is still the same as my Everyday Sourdough.  These days though, the 6.30 am cooked porridge mix is

  • a handful of whole oats (oat groats), cooked for 5 minutes or so, then add
  • a handful of hulled millet and keep cooking for another 5 minutes or so, then add
  • a handful of quinoa and cook for a few minutes more to absorb all the water.

The 7.00 am dough mix has

  • a cup of sourdough starter fed with unbleached bakers’ flour
  • rye flour
  • oat bran
  • linseed meal
  • the porridge mix (above)
  • a teaspoon of salt
  • and enough organic stoneground wholemeal flour (15%protein) to make a kneadable dough

Then the top is sprinkled liberally with sesame seeds and poppy seeds.

It’s a real wholegrain feast with attitude, and enough B vitamins to give me a whole day’s supply in a couple of slices. I haven’t worked out the exact cost per loaf, but even with all these goodies, it’s not much more than $1 a loaf – a fraction of the price of quality bread in the supermarket.

Though I’m experimenting with quinoa and oats and linseeds and sesame seeds, at the moment none of the ingredients are coming from the garden, but all are from sustainable farming done within a few hundred kilometres. Over winter I’ve been baking in the wood stove, which we have going for heating and hot water anyhow, so there’s no fuel use at all. Over summer I’ll use the gas oven, but if I can coincide with when I have it on for dinner or baking anyhow the fuel cost will add very little.

I’m loving it on so many levels, but hot from the oven spread with honey is up there!

[relatedPosts]

 

{ 5 comments }

I’ve cracked it –  everyday bread – “everyday” meaning healthy enough for every day (even for someone too inactive to be spendthrift with carbohydrates), and “everyday” meaning easy enough to bother making even on a workday (when all I am looking forward to when I get home is a hot bath and a glass of wine).

Why bother? I’ve had a crush on sourdough for a while now, ever since Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial converted me.  I like a grainy, textured, hearty bread, and after a few goes I had a bread I was so addicted to I couldn’t go back to the supermarket.  But I couldn’t get it to fit in around a workday.

Which is why I’m so happy. Finally I have found a low effort routine for making it work on days when I have to leave the house by 8 am and don’t get home till after 5 pm.

This is a heavy, grainy bread, nutty and chewy, and wholegrain enough to be healthy all on its own.  It takes just 15 minutes to make, but that 15 minutes is spread over 24 hours.  The trick is just getting into a rythum.  I have been making a loaf every second or third day.

(If you don’t have sourdough starter, start asking around.  Since you have to divide and feed it regularly, anyone who has some is very likely to be willing to give you some.  Somewhere within six degrees of separation, there’s likely to be sourdough. Since I’ve got into it, it’s amazing how many sourdough addicts I’ve met.)

8 pm – Feed the Starter and Make a Sponge

Take the sourdough starter out of the fridge.  I keep mine in a jar with the lid loosely on it, so I have to tighten the lid before shaking the jar and pouring half of it (a cupful) into a bowl.

Mix 1½ cups of water and 1½ cups of bakers flour (I use a stick blender, and Laucke Wallaby Unbleached Bakers Flour, which I can buy in 5 kg bags at the supermarket).  Pour half of it back into the starter jar to top it back up.  Add the other half to the starter in the bowl, along with a teaspoon of treacle.

Put the starter back in the fridge with the lid on loosely. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and leave out on the kitchen bench.

6.30 am – Cook Some Whole Grain

I put the coffee pot on, and while waiting for it, put ¼ cup (2 handfuls) of whole wheat grains on to boil in 1½ cups of water with a good teaspoon of salt.  Boil for 5 minutes, then add ¼ cup of whole millet. Boil for another 5 minutes, then add ¼ cup of steel cut oats and turn the stove off.

7.00 am – Make a Dough

The grain will have cooled and absorbed all the water, and the sourdough in the bowl will be frothy. Mix them with ½ cup bran, 1 cup rye flour,  and 1 cup bakers flour. Sometimes I also add some barley flakespepitas, sunflower seeds or linseeds.

Flour the bench liberally and tip the mix onto it.  Knead very briefly (2 or 3 minutes), adding as much flour as necessary to get a soft dough that is not too sticky.

Put a good swig of olive oil in a clean bowl and put the dough ball in it, swirling it around to coat.  Cover with the clean cloth again and leave on the bench for the day.

5.30 pm – Knock Down the Dough

The dough will have easily doubled in bulk.  Tip it onto the bench and knead very very briefly, just to knock it down and make it into a loaf shape.  Put it in an oiled baking tin.  Sprinkle the top very liberally with sesame seeds and/or poppy seeds. Slash the top with a sharp knife to give it room to rise. Cover with the clean cloth again.

7.30 pm – Bake

The bread has risen again to double its size.  If I leave it too much longer, it starts to deflate again. Put it on the second shelf (that is, not right at the top) of  a cold oven and turn the oven on to medium. (Sorry, I can’t be more precise – my oven is antique – but I think it is forgiving).

8. 10 pm – Begin checking.

Take it out when the crust is nice and brown and it sounds hollow when knocked. Mine takes about 50 minutes from a cold oven to cooked.

I know there’s lots of fantastic sourdough bakers out there – I’d love to hear what you think. Have I missed some tricks?

[relatedPosts]

{ 25 comments }