Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Handed Down Homemade


I love cookbooks, and I know I'm not alone in that feeling. I read them like novels, and hunt down vintage books sometimes to only read the forewords. Talk about social anthropology! 

When my friend Karen and I were roommates, I gave her one of my favorites that she often borrowed, and it's nice to see she's still putting it to good use (it may be the worse for wear, but that's not always a bad thing!):



Today's post and recipe are actually from K. Crane, that same friend who is also an Art Therapist and Artist in Lexington, KY. Her words follow (with an insert from me below the title):


Nana's Oat-Wheat Bread. From Jane Brody's (falling apart) Good Food Cookbook(and the 'Handmade' element to this story is the lovely wood cutting board sitting under the bread. It was made by the author's father, given to her mother, who always thought it 'too nice' to use. K, on the other hand, thinks it's too nice NOT to use!)

(My notes): This is a healthy bread, with 3 types of grain, sweetened with molasses (I used local). Local sorghum would work too. The recipe calls for one kneading, but please note that I always use two. In the photo, the bread on the left was kneaded twice and the one on the right only once. The one on the right still tasted great, but you get a more beautiful rise if you knead twice, plus, it only takes a couple minutes to give it that second kneading. Listen to me, talkin bout bread like I know what I'm doing. I just know I like this bread a lot.

Also, the original recipe calls for the traditional way of blooming yeast but I now use instant yeast (thank you Alton Brown), so I'll put my instant yeast directions in parenthesis.

1. If using traditional active dry yeast, do the following:
place 1/2 cup warm water (105-115 degrees) in a small bowl, and stir in 1 1/2 packages (4 teaspoons) active dry yeast), and set aside until the yeast starts to bubble.....OR you can use 3 teaspoons of instant yeast (see below)

1/4 teaspoon ginger
3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats (I use old fashioned oats myself)
3 1/2 cups boiling water
4 TBSP butter or vegan margarine such as Earth Balance
1/2 cup light or dark molasses
1 TBSP salt
1 cup of 100% Bran flake cereal
2 cups whole wheat flour
4-5 cups white flour

2. Place the oats in a big-ass bowl along with squares of the butter, molasses, salt, and ginger. If using intant yeast instead of the traditional active dry, put that in now too. Pour the boiling water over it, stir to dissolve and combine well.

3. Add the bran cereal, whole wheat flour, and, if using the traditional proofed yeast, put that in now too.. Combine well, Start adding the white flour. You will probably get through about 4 cups of flour and use the 5th cup after you turn out the dough to start kneading. When the dough starts to pull away from the bowl easily turn it out.

 

4. Turn out the dough ona floured surface and knead it for 8-10 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic. Dough will be soft not stiff. Put the dough into another large bowl that has been greased and turn it to coat it. cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and set in a warm, draft-free place to rise until is has doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. (see photo)

5. Punch down the dough, take it out and divide into thirds. Briefly knead each little loaf, about 3-4 minutes then put each in a bread pan (9x5x3), cover with a towel and let them rise until they double in size, about another hour or so.

6. Bake the bread in a preheated 350 oven for about 35 minutes or until the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

 

Let them cool then release them from the pans and enjoy.