Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Whole Wheat Flubber

This was my first attempt at bread-from-scratch in at least 10 years. I do have a bread machine, but I've been making The H's gluten-free bread in it and I don't want to risk cross-contamination. I've also been purchasing wheat and/or multigrain bread from a local baker, but I ran out before payday/shopping day and thought I'd attempt it on my own.


I used this recipe from the Clean Eating Magazine website. Seems simple enough... flour, yeast, water, honey, oil, salt, all of which I have readily available all the time. (Well, my wheat flour was "readily available" because it's been ages since I've used it. And though it gets stored in the refrigerator, I did not have high hopes for its level of freshness.) After the initial 30 minute rest period as I was beginning the first knead/rise cycle, two things caused me slight concern:

1. The dough smelled like cupboard.
2. It was the texture of Flubber.

When I went to knead it the first time, I seriously feared it would glom over the edges of the board and onto my kitchen floor.


Back into the bowl it went. I whipped it around with a spatula to incorporate the other ingredents. I did the same for the second knead/rise cycle and then let its rubbery self flump into my olive-oiled loaf pan for the last rise.

I'm glad I had the foresight to put a baking sheet underneath the loaf pan for the final rise...


And although I may have killed the end result in the process, I decided right then to split the loaf between two pans. There's no way I wanted *that* cooked onto my oven, thankyouverymuch.


The loaves came out short (duh) but tasted fine enough. I still think my flour is too old.


The texture is lovely; airy and light but substantial enough to not fall apart when buttered. I tried some with SmartBalance 50/50 blend, that's how I know.


But there was a nagging voice in the back of my head, asking, "What if you DIDN'T split the loaf? Would it have really overflowed the pan?" Wanting to be sure, I decided to make another batch. Seriously, the ingredients are so minimal and it only takes about 2 hours from start to finish. The H's gluten-free loaves take 2 hours and 39 minutes, and while that is hands-off time thanks to the machine, most of this recipe is pretty hands-off, too. Besides, if nothing else, making another batch would help me use up the bag of flour so I can buy a fresh one. If it ends up tasting funky, I'll let the little guy feed it to the ducks on our next run through the park.


Here is the second loaf on its final rise:


Yep, overflowage. It had the same rubbery-elastic texture that the first batch had. There is no kneading of this recipe, folks. Don't even try. Stick with old fashioned stirring. This time, rather than freaking out and dividing it, I carefully folded the escaping edges back over the top and gave it a few gentle pokes to deflate it a little, but not flatten.


Only a few minutes after it went into the hot oven to bake, I could see it crowning smoothly above the top of the pan--not awkwardly climbing over the sides. Hooray! The top was a bit more rounded before I opened the oven to peek. Oops.


Now that's more like it!


Happy sandwich-making to me! I really love how simple the recipe is: flour water yeast, honey oil salt. Clean AND cheap.

3 comments:

  1. Wow, that looks yummy! Just out of curiosity - does the honey make it "clean"? Since I make bread from scratch using basically the same ingredients except I substitute sugar, I thought I'd ask. :-)

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  2. Yep! Honey is a clean-eating acceptable sweetener, to be used in moderation. White sugar is not.

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