Monday, May 16, 2011

Bread Baking and Sandwich Making

Yesterday I made my favorite bread recipe. I have been meaning to make this for weeks, but can never seem to commit to the 4 plus hours it involves. Now, most of that is down time, but you have to be home to "tend" to your bread every hour or so. Unfortunately, I forgot one of the last steps to make the bread look beautiful. Here is a picture from a batch a few months ago.
The oats on top add the final touch, but forgetting them doesn't change how tasty and hearty it is.

First I got out all my ingredients.
I have changed a few things from the original recipe. One of the things that makes a big differences, is using vital wheat gluten. I highly recommend it. I notice that is rises faster and that it isn't quite as dense when the wheat gluten is used.
The first step is to mix the 110 degree water with the yeast and a little maple syrup (to activate the yeast). 
Here is a before and after picture. This took 5 minutes. I actually waited a few more minutes and it rose all the way to the top rim of the measuring cup.
Then continue to mix the ingredients, according to the recipe. I let the dough hook knead if for about 7-8 minutes.
Then put it in a bowl to rise.
Cover it and leave it in a warm place for one hour.
Until it has plumped up and looks like this.
Punch it down, put it into pans, wait another hour for it to rise.
Bake it, and... Ta dah! 
Update: This is what it looks like when you remember the oats on top.

Sometime this summer, I'd love to try making bread on the grill! Check out this post on how to make bread on the grill. Such a cool idea! 

Multigrain Bread
Adapted from Martha Stewart


1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (two 1/4-ounce envelopes)
2 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees)
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons maple syrup
4 tablespoons Earth Balance, melted, plus more for bowl, pans, and brushing
3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup rye flour
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface and dusting
3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
4 teaspoons coarse salt
1/3 cup bulgur
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup flaxseeds
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
Splash of almond milk


Soak 1/3 cup bulgur in 1/2 cup warm water for 20 minutes; set aside. Sprinkle yeast over 1/2 cup water. Add 2 teaspoons maple syrup. Whisk until yeast dissolves. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle or dough-hook attachment. Add earth balance and remaining 1 1/2 cups water and 3 tablespoons maple syrup. Whisk flour with salt and vital wheat gluten; add 3 cups to yeast mixture. Mix on low speed until smooth. Mix in soaked bulgur, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/4 cup flaxseeds, and 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds. Add remaining 3 cups flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing until dough comes away from sides of bowl and forms a ragged, slightly sticky ball. Butter a large bowl.

Knead dough on a floured surface (or with a dough hook in a mixer) until smooth and elasticy but still slightly tacky, about 7 minutes. Shape into a ball. Transfer to prepared bowl; cover with plastic wrap.
Let dough stand in a warm place until it doubles in volume (it should not spring back when pressed), about 1 hour. Butter two 4 1/2-by-8 1/2-inch loaf pans. Punch down dough; divide in half.

Shape 1 dough half into an 8 1/2-inch-long rectangle (about 1/2 inch thick). Fold long sides of dough in to middle, overlapping slightly. Press seam to seal. Transfer dough, seam side down, to pan. Repeat with remaining dough. Brush tops of loaves with almond milk, not butter, and sprinkle with oats and sunflower seeds. Dab tops with more almond milk to help adhere. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Drape loaves with plastic. Let stand until dough rises about 1 inch above tops of pans, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees. Bake, rotating pans after 20 minutes, until tops are golden brown, about 45 minutes. Transfer to wire racks. Let cool slightly; turn out loaves. Let cool completely before slicing.

Now, time to make sandwiches! 

Most of my favorite sandwiches include avocado in the list of ingredients. I usually add whatever else I have that seems like a good combo on that particular day. This was my sandwich creation today.
I made a white bean spread (white beans, with a little garlic powder, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, food processed or mashed until smooth), and topped it with spinach, cucumber, carrots, onion, and of course, avocado. Sprouts and tomatoes are good additions too.

As my closing pictures today, I am posting Lilly, who I just picked up from the groomers. She is watching me type this right now, wondering why we aren't playing (soon, Lilly, soon!) She's so adorable, if I do say so myself.
I love the top knot :)
Happy bread baking and sandwich making. I'm going to go spoil my dog now. Maybe I'll make her a mini puppy sandwich.


  1. Those carrot strips are beautiful! Are they made with a vegetable peeler?