soup? yes. bread, just barely.

While I was making two soups today (Butternut squash/apple soup from my wedding, and Bermuda fish chowder from last years anniversary cruise), I also tried to pull off two loaves of bread. I must say I did (I think I did) multi-task fairly well, (was never frantic or rushed) getting all my vegetables prepped while the squash roasted and managed to use no more than 3 burners at a time (and keep the sink somewhat manageable).

The bread is my new favorite – the multigrain bread recipe from Cooks Illustrated*, and since last fall, I started making more wholesome variations to it, inspired in part by the Tomato Basil bread at Paneras, I added some tomato juice to replace the water. This was my favorite sandwich bread. Also fantastic under a poached egg. Increasing the juice content, the following three have cooked up well, but called for ever increasing amounts of flour. Today I decided to forgo all the additional flour and just see what happened…. Have you ever seen a loaf rise up nicely, with a nice crisp top, (cooked to over 190 degrees) and have a sticky bottom and sides?

It’s possible I was distracted and missed a step, perhaps I should have decided to “see what happened” if I just stuck to the recipe (with minor substitiutions) and damned the consequences. The dough was pretty much like beer bread, perhaps stickier, and thought it would cook up fine, which it mostly did. Tastes great. but must be toasted. Good for sandwiches it is not.

The recipe is essentially this:

1 1/2 cups of whole grain cereal mix, with boiling water added (2.5 cups), left to “cook” until the temp comes down under 100 degrees (and won’t kill the yeast). A little honey or maple syrup is added, butter and yeast. Mixed in with about 5 cups of flour. let it rest, knead, rise twice, divide it into 2 pans and proof until doubled in size. then Bake until 200, rest (and try not to devour before it cools down to room temp).

At the suggestion of our Food TV Patron Saint Alton Brown, who advised 190 degrees (because of carry over) I’ve been shooting for that mark, as 200+ will yield a dry, if not hard loaf. At times I’ve used oatmeal in place of whole grain cereal, and that (and/or), coupled with the tomato juice (or something akin to V8) seems to come out stickier than with water. I’ve tried reducing the liquid, but save for the first, sparing addition of vegetable juice cocktail (the organic medly from Whole Foods), I’ve had such a sticky dough and added loads of flour.

My idea was to slip in a little bit of vegetables and nutrition without doubling up on the carbs. I might as well make sandwiches out of pumpkin bread – or the apple bread I made the day before (trading in applesauce for the canned pumpkin – mmm… makes good french toast too!)

If I wasn’t so far behind on all the food blogs I’ve bookmarked, perhaps my little ones suggestion of adding chocolate chips wouldn’t have seemed off the mark.

aha – in trying to put in a couple links…. I see my initial post of this recipe last january tells my I was a bit off with the temperatures I used – as stated above. That may explain the sticky loaf out of the oven… but what about the extra sticky dough going in. That I still question. I guess I haven’t come very far since this attempt.

Any thoughts?


About Scott

I am a son, brother, husband and father, and I am (or have been and enjoyed being) A student of science, art, and humanities in the states and abroad. A graphic designer, art deparment manager, and an art director. A woodworker, home renovator & preservationist. Vegetarian, organic gardener, cook. Photographer, cartoonist. Runner, judoka and fencer. An actor, writer, director and producer for a student run (but not school affiliated or sponsored) local access variety show. A uomo universale in training! In my spare time I like to read, watch movies and look for other creative pursuits and new inspirations!
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