Friday, January 30, 2009

Seven Grain Honey Bread

Today Dylan and I baked another of my favorite Hensperger recipes from my falling-apart-at-the-seams copy of her Baking Bread: Old and New Traditions.
The recipe calls for seven grain cereal and I only had five grain but I used it and hoped for the best.

Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup seven grain cereal (I used five-grain cereal)
  • 1 1/2 T active dry yeast
  • pinch sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup warm buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup local honey (as a beekeeper, I was thrilled to use my own honey from my backyard bees)
  • 3 T corn or other vegetable oil
  • 2 T unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 eggs (we were almost out of eggs and had only two but I soldiered on)
  • 1 T salt
  • 4 1/2 - 5 cups unbleached bread flour.
And here's what you do:
  • Pour boiling water over the cereal and allow to stand for 1 hour
  • Proof the yeast in the warm water with the pinch of sugar (about 10 minutes)
  • In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk, honey, oil, butter, eggs, salt, and 1 cup flour.
  • Beat hard until smooth
  • Add the cereal mixture and the yeast
  • Add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time until the dough clears the sides of the bowl.
  • Knead the dough until it is soft and springy (about 3 minutes), adding flour as necessary
  • Let rise in a greased bowl covered with plastic wrap for about 1 t0 1 1/4 hours
  • Turn dough onto work surface and divide into three parts.
  • Make round loaves - I have round baking pans - they are actually called pudding pans - and I used those
  • Let rise about 30 to 40 minutes
  • About 20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 375.
  • Bake until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped about 35 - 40 minutes.

Dylan's favorite part is licking the beater!

Here are the three loaves. I'm lucky they came out at all. I had baked rolls in my convection oven at 375 and thought it was still on when I put the loaves in the oven, but actually I had turned it off.

When the timer went off for me to take the bread out, I realized the oven wasn't even on, the bread was pale blonde and although it had achieved "spring" in the oven, it wasn't done in any way. I left the bread in the oven, turned the convection back on at 375 and baked it for another 20 minutes.

Despite the rocky baking experience and the lack of one egg, the loaves turned out pretty. They are a little softer than I would have imagined and the loaf on the left in the group picture shows the indentation from the cooling rack.
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