25 July 2009

Saturday bread day

Homemade bread bespeaks the luxury of extended free time...time to knead, time to let bread dough rise, time to monitor the baking.... On the lucky days when I'm home all day, I love making a big hearty loaf. But don't worry, you won't have to spend all day watching the bread. Use the time between kneading, loaf-shaping, and baking to take care of other things...like reading a good book or soaking in the sun or working in the garden! After all that playing or working, you'll have a great snack to munch on.

Today I used buckwheat flour, which adds a super healthy kick of iron, zinc, and selenium besides having a great flavor. Cut yourself a crusty slice and enjoy it like I did with some thinly sliced
Iberico cheese, a wonderful nutty cheese from Central Spain.

Buckwheat Bread
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (105°F to 115°F)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons (¼ stick) butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons quick-rising yeast
1 large egg
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup oats
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour

Place water, sugar, butter, and yeast in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat to mix all ingredients, then add egg, buckwheat flour, oats, and salt, and beat again to combine. Switch paddle attachment for dough hook. Add all-purpose and whole wheat flour, and mix at low speed until dough is smooth, comes cleanly from sides, and climbs hook, adding more flour by ¼ cupfuls if dough is very sticky, about 8 minutes. Scrape dough from hook. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and towel. Let rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1½ hours.

Lightly oil a 9x5x3-inch metal loaf pan and a sheet of plastic wrap. Scrape dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth, about 2 minutes. Shape into 8x3-inch log. Place in prepared pan; cover loosely with prepared plastic wrap, oiled side down. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until center is 1½ inches higher than pan, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F. Gently pull plastic off dough. Place bread in oven; bake until deep golden and instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 180°F, about 30 minutes. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Run small knife around bread to loosen and turn out of pan. Cool completely on rack.

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With my bread rising in the kitchen, I had some time to pop outside and work on my vegetable garden. It felt good to get out and dig around in the warm earth, and I cleaned out the onion patch, re-caged my tomatoes, and harvested and re-sowed carrots. Like with my herbs and onions, I'm letting some of the carrots go to seed to replenish my seed stores for next year!

Today's carrot harvest.

Winter's carrots-in-waiting.

Next year's carrots.

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