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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

This is a bread recipe that I submitted to the Strolling of the Heifers bread baking contest. I didn't win anything, but I was very glad it was selected for the finals, and I had a helluva great time! I wrote it to incorporate their requirements, thus the products mentioned.

Eva’s Really Fantastic Bread

This is not sandwich bread. This is bread that you’d use as the centerpiece of a meal. It is hearty and substantial, and a bit dangerous. As it’s baking, your neighbors, and even strangers, will knock on your door for silly dreamed-up reasons, just for a better whiff of the unbelievable aroma. Your home will be completely bombarded by wanted and unwanted guests by the time this comes out of the oven. You’ve been warned.
A slice of this with jam, or thinly-sliced Cabot Cheddar (whichever flavor suits you), or a single Pete & Gerry’s egg cooked however you like it, or some hummus, will make a meal for just about anyone except for farm folks, who might need a second slice before they go out to milk in the morning.

This recipe makes two loaves.
About an hour before you want to start making the bread, combine these ingredients in a medium-size saucepan with a tight-fitting lid:
¼ cup millet
¼ cup steel-cut oats
¼ cup bulgur wheat
¾ cup water

Bring to a boil, cover, and turn off the heat. Let sit until lukewarm. About 50 minutes after you’ve turned off the heat, combine in your favorite large ceramic bread bowl:
2 cups hot water (just hot enough for yeast)
2 tablespoons Organic Barley Malt Syrup
4 teaspoons SAF Red Instant Yeast

Whisk together until foamy. Then add to this mixture:
2 cups King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour
¾ cup King Arthur Bread Flour

Use a dough whisk to combine everything, whisking until the mixture looks and feels gelatinous. If you don’t have a dough whisk (you really should), use a hefty wooden spoon that you’ve coated in olive oil (important, unless you want to sandpaper it all off the wooden spoon afterward; the hefty part is important, too). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until triple in size.

Pour all this into the bowl of your favorite mixer. (I know that King Arthur Flour folks like those Viking abominations, but they’d have to pry my Kitchen Aid mixer out of my cold, dead, scarred hands, and probably not even then.) Add:
The cooked lukewarm grains
1+ cup King Arthur Bread Flour (I’ve found that it depends on the weather, mostly, on how much you’ll need; if it’s dry out, you’ll need less; if it’s raining, more…)
1 tablespoon King Arthur Flour Bread Salt
½ cup dark molasses
2 tablespoons olive oil

Attach the bread hook and knead for about 5 minutes. (If you’re kneading by hand, good for you!!! I’ve had carpal tunnel surgery on both hands, so I’ve had to resort to a Kitchen Aid for my kneading needs. Knead by hand until it tells you it’s done, and I really really really miss being able to do this.) Stop the mixer and take out the bread hook, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let rest for 10 minutes (important--don’t skip this step!).
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, divide in half, give a final knead by hand, and shape into 2 loaves. You can make these loaves free-form, or use greased bread pans. Coat the loaves with a generous coating of olive oil. Cover them with a clean dish towel, and let the loaves rise until double in size; when they are almost done rising, pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. When they are ready, put them in the oven quickly, drop two ice cubes onto the bottom of the oven (if you’re using an electric oven, put a metal pie dish on the floor of the oven and drop them into that), close the door, and let bake for 15 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 350 degrees, and bake for 25 minutes more.
This bread, while it’s baking, makes your house smell so good you won’t believe it. When you remove it from the oven, if you’re using bread pans, let the loaves cool for about 10 minutes before turning them out of the pans. Try to avoid slicing off a piece right after it’s come out of the oven, if you can. Cool the loaves on a rack or clean kitchen towel. You can dig in when they are still slightly warm, but not before that. 

c2012 Eva M. Heater (anyone who violates my copyright risks the wrath of Eva!!!)

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