Saturday, October 27, 2012

loafing off

I make most of my bread using the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day series.  I can't recommend this enough, especially for novice bread makers.  And for the newbies, while this method uses bread science, it is not like you make most bread!

Flipping through the Healthy Bread book one afternoon, I noticed the Quinoa Bread that I'd been meaning to try and realized I had a lovely, warehouse-sized bag of quinoa in my pantry.  I have aspirations to healthy eating!  So I break out my big bowl and mix it up.

Quinoa Bread (Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day - Hertzberg/Francois)

3 cups white whole wheat flour
3 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 cup quinoa, rinsed an uncooked
2 packages yeast
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
3 ¾ cup lukewarm water
1 tbsp Kosher salt

In this method, you combine the ingredients, sometimes blooming the yeast, sometimes not, and leave it on the counter for 2-ish hours to rise.  You absolutely do not knead this over-saturated dough.  For more information on the method, there are links at the bottom of the page.  

Me being me, I forgot it and left it overnight and half the next day under a cookbook and my glasses before I was unearthing my counters from the previous days' shopping and realized it was there.  I make up 4 loaves at a time because my current refrigerator lacks the room for my big bowl so I have not been able to follow the "daily bread" thing this recipe does so well.  The rising loaves rested tucked under a kitchen towel for 45 minutes, as per the non-refrigerated dough rest time (well, it wasn't!) on parchment paper because I never seem to have enough cornmeal around to let it rest on that, and then dusted them heavily with white flour to help hold the shape.  

Side note here - this is an unfortunate tendency that my loaves made using this method tend to be flatter than I want them to be.  I had hoped that was an artifact of high altitude baking, but alas, I've had it happen at the very very sea level Florida house as well.  Fortunately, the bread still tastes great and toasts perfectly and is not, in fact, a "flat" bread so occasionally I take a stab at one of the many trouble shooting tips for this problem.

The oven was pre-heated to 450F until I remembered it was on (the kitchen started to get hot) at which point, I brushed loaves with water (chewy crust technique part one), and made expansion hash marks so the bread wouldn't develop into any post-nuclear mushroom cloud formations. Then I placed the bread into the oven and dumped about a cup of warm water in the general direction of the overheated small broiler pan bottom I keep in the oven for this reason.  Most of the water hit the bottom of the oven anyway, but the requisite steam (chewy crust technique part two) was created.  It cooked for 30 glorious bread-scented minutes and, after it cooled, sliced up nice and moist, holding together beautifully as a slice. 

This bread stands up to my "burnt toast" treatment, as my family calls it. I like my toast actually toasted, you know, like it's seen the inside of a toaster and learned it's lesson well.  None of that limp bread that disintegrates under butter, please!  ::ahem::

The quinoa does not seem to contribute in any appreciable way to the taste of the bread, just to the moisture.  Oh, and it might be good for you!  You can check out their blog, check out their books from the library, or just go out and buy them.  If you like bread at all, you won't be disappointed!

Half my loaves, already gone!  Also, for size comparison, that is a big knife with a  9" blade!

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