Recipe: Struan

From: Brother Juniper’s Bread Book by Peter Reinhart. He researched this harvest bread and attributes it to Scottish bakers, and since I’m part Henderson, I quite like that.

Time Commitment: Hmmm. Cook the brown rice. 20 minutes to mix the dough. 90 minutes to wait for the first rise. 60 minutes to wait for the second rise. 45 minutes to bake. This recipe, though simple, will never make its way into a 20-minute-meal cookbook! My simple guideline is that I can start a bread recipe at around 2pm and have it ready for dinner, but if I begin at 3pm, we’ll be eating it for dessert.

Comments: Delicious. Nutritious, but not at all dense. I especially like this bread because I typically have all of these ingredients in my fridge and pantry. If any of the ingredients below seem strange to you, think about trying it this way first, but adapting recipes is always a part of the fun.

Tools you need:
  • Two loaf pans
  • Cooking spray
  • an oven :)
  • I use an electric mixer with a dough hook for this recipe, but it can be kneaded by hand, and will build mighty muscles if you do.

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/3 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/3 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/3 cup bran (wheat or oat–I mix mine together in a bin so mine’s a combo)
  • 1/3 cup corn meal or polenta
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons yeast
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (I have also used soy and it worked just fine)
  • 1 1/2 cups cool water
  • Poppy seeds
What to do:

Step One: Mix all of the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add the buttermilk, honey and water. If mixing by machine, get the hook moving and let it mix for about 10 minutes. If working by hand, roll up your sleeves and make sure you have your yoga pants on. Do your best to really beat and push and knead for at least 12 minutes. Don’t worry if the dough remains a bit sticky, but add flour if it’s overly wet and sloggy after you’ve kneaded a long while.

Step Two: Place the dough in an oiled or floured bowl and cover with plate or damp cloth. Allow to rise for about 90 minutes. Since there’s so much yeast in this batch, you’ll know if your yeast is less than perky. The dough should double in size during the 90 minutes.

Step Three: Prepare the two loaf pans. I spray them with canola oil.

Step Four: Turn the dough out of the bowl and divide in two with a sharp knife or dough scraper. Flatten the dough into a rectangle (ish) and fold in thirds, sealing each section with your thumbs, until you have a loaf. (If you don’t know what you’re doing, just pretend you do. Simply move the dough around for a while until it’s in sort of an oval shape :)) Sprinkle tops with poppy seeds.

Place the two dough loaves in a corner, covered by a towel for the second rise (which should total about an hour or a bit less). Make your kids a healthy snack or go dust the living room while you’re waiting.

Step Five: Turn the oven to 350 degrees–about 30 minutes before baking.

Step Six: After 40 or so minutes of rising in the pans, the dough should begin to reach the top edge of the pan. Don’t allow the dough to rise more than an hour in the pans. Pop the two pans into the warm oven and set the timer for 45 minutes. Bake.

Step Seven: Turn the bread onto a cooling rack right away. If it stays in the pan while it cools, it might get soggy. Allow the bread to cool at least for a few minutes before cutting into it.

Step Eight: Give one loaf to the mama of a new baby, and enjoy the other:)


Oreganato

Last week.

Two loaves of Peter Reinhart’s Oreganato (from his Brother Juniper’s Bread Book)

Now.
Despite my struggles with new rye bread recipes, I am thankfully still in the mood to experiment. The weather is changing to cool–we even have had rain! When you live in Southern California long enough, you become a great cheerleader for rain clouds. I am cheering those clouds on by turning on my oven. Rain is the perfect time for baking–since while things are rising, or baking, you can sit in a chair and sip tea and read a book. All very perfect things to do when it’s raining.

Last week again.

So, anyway, I made two loaves of this very scrumptious bread infused with garlic, parsley and oregano. I will make it again, because (1) it was good, and (2) the oregano in my garden needs a forceful trimming to induce new fall growth, and using it in bread is just too fun. Nothing stops growing in this place.

Our chicken-owner friends, who live just around the corner, took on the tasting of Oreganato loaf number two. It really is important to have people in your life who will eat your experimental bread and not get mad at you when it’s bad. Thankfully, Mr. Reinhart’s recipes seem to be anything but icky. yum yum…

We gobbled up our own loaf, and with the few extra ends that remained, I cut them into cubes and made croutons. yum yum again!

Now. 

What about you? Do you mind experimental bread? If you’re up for being a guinea pig, and live somewhat near me, send me a quick note, because as long as there are clouds and happy threats of rain, I’ll be baking and happy to share!

Cheers!