Monday, December 10, 2007

Bread And More

I'm always looking for new and delicious ways to incorporate a variety of whole grains into my diet. Truth-be-told, I'm also a fan of quick breakfasts, because I'm always rushing around in the morning and need something that will stick with me for a few hours. I've played around with granola recipes for years, but finally have developed a recipe for one that tastes great, is high in fiber, low fat and makes a large batch at a time. The recipe is on Everyday Dish (click here for the recipe), and I highly recommend you bake up a batch. Feel free to play with the fruit/nut/flavor combos any way you like. It's called Not Your 1970's Granola. Believe me when I say that, because I remember the 70's granola of my childhood.

My friend Heather gave me the idea to add millet to it, which gives it a really nice additional crunch and nutrition boost to 'bout.

Next up, homemade bread. Bread is so easy to make from scratch and is so much better than store-bought. You can also customize it any way you like, by adding fresh or dried herbs for a savory version. Although I love crunchy rustic breads, I also love American-style soft breads for sandwiches or French toast. Here's a recipe that I make often, which is a veganized oat bread recipe from King Arthur. It's very delicious and easy to make. I make mine in my beloved Bosch mixer, which is excellent for bread and heavy doughs. You can also make it by hand, in a bread machine or even in a large food processor. Oh, and you can substitute some whole wheat flour for some of the all-purpose flour (about a cup or so), though it will make the bread a little heavier and less fluffy (but a little more nutritious). I sometimes also throw in about 1/2 cup wheat germ to the recipe as well. If you do add the wheat germ, you might need to cut back a touch on the flour.

OATMEAL TOASTING & SANDWICH BREAD
Adapted from a King Arthur recipe

3 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
1 cup rolled oats (old-fashioned oats)
2 tablespoons Earth Balance, softened or oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast OR 1 packet active dry yeast*
1 1/4 cups lukewarm soymilk (or 1 1/4 cups warm water plus 3 tablespoons soymilk powder)

*If you use active dry yeast -- dissolve it in the warm milk before combining with the remaining ingredients.

Manual Method: In a large mixing bowl, or in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all of the ingredients, mixing to form a shaggy dough. Knead dough, by hand (10 minutes) or by machine (5 minutes) till it's smooth. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and allow it to rest for 1 hour; it'll become quite puffy, though it may not double in bulk. Shape as directed below.

Bread Machine Method: Place all of the ingredients (except the fruit) into the pan of your machine, program machine for manual or dough, and press Start. About 10 minutes before the end of the second kneading cycle, check dough and adjust its consistency as necessary with additional flour or water; finished dough should be soft and supple. Add the raisins or currants about 3 minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle. Shape as directed below.

Shaping: Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled surface, and shape it into a log. Place the log in a lightly greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap or a slightly damp clean kitchen towel, and allow the dough to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, till it's crested 1 to 2 inches over the rim of the pan.

Baking: Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 190°F. If the bread appears to be browning too quickly, tent it with aluminum foil for the final 10 minutes of baking. Yield: 1 loaf.

Rising bread before baking


Freshly baked bread

I've also been playing around with a grain mill, which is really awesome and I will post about soon. There is nothing cooler (or healthier) than freshly ground flour. I've done white whole wheat, whole wheat pastry, regular whole wheat, rice and bean flours. Yes thats right, you can grind dried beans into flour. It's really amazing. The dried bean flour can be used for quick soups (black bean, split pea, white bean, etc...), as sauce thickeners (think white bean flour) and any other recipe where it might call for chickpea or garbanzo bean flour. Very, very cool.

15 comments:

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

I'm always looking for more bread recipes! My husband loves sandwiches, so this sounds like a good option for him!

jessica~ said...

Hi Julie! I love your blog & everyday dish... I have a question about your granola. Do you know how long will it last if kept in an airtight container? I'd like to make one large batch, but don't want it to go stale. Thanks!

julie hasson said...

Hey Melisser. My husband loves sandwiches too.

Hi Jessica. Thanks! My granola keeps for weeks in an airtight glass crock. Hope you enjoy it.

Paulina said...

I agree with you, home made bread is so much healthier and better for you than the store bought kind. I was just discussing that with my mom the other day :)

Johanna3 said...

this looks good!

thanks for the recipes.

Emilie said...

cool--i had this mental block about grain mills. my parents have this gorgeous old one and i just could never imagine a modern version that i might be able to have. thanks for pointing them out and for the inspiration to make good use of fresh milled grains.

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Ooh, I just found your blog; it's terrific :o)

Melody Polakow said...

Your bread looks delicious...as does your granola recipe. Low fat, healthy granola is a winner in my book... I can't wait to try it!

Vegan_Noodle said...

This reminds me how much I've been wanting to make granola for the past few months!! I really must commit to it. I like the idea of adding millet...

K.E.N. said...

the cranberry and rice pudding below looks so tasty, julie!
some patient brought in some homemade granola to my coworker(who is a massage therapist) and i had a bite and since then i've been wanting to make my own. especially since i have some dried cherries begging to be used..

VeggieGirl said...

the granola looks incredible; and the homemade bread!! ahh!! I've been wanting to make homemade bread for quite a while now. sounds quite scrumptious :0)

happy holidays!!

julie hasson said...

Happy holidays everyone! Thanks for all your great messages, and visiting the blog.

Hi Paulina. I agree. Homemade bread is the best.

Hi Johanna3. No problem, I love sharing recipes.

Hey Emilie. Yeah, grain mills are pretty amazing. I think some are supposed to be better than others, but I'm super impressed with what they can do.

Hi Chocolatecoveredvegan. Thanks for visiting the blog.

Hi Melody. Yeah, you can't go wrong with a low-fat high fiber breakfast. I love that once it's made, I don't have to think about "cooking" breakfasts most mornings.

Hi Vegan Noodle. The uncooked millet adds such a nice crunch to the granola. I also like to sometimes toss a little millet into cookie batter for a nutty crunch.

Hey Karla. The pudding was really good. Too bad it's all gone. You should definitely make some cherry granola. It sounds really yummy. I think I might have to try some in my next batch.

Hi Veggiegirl. Thanks. There really is nothing better than homemade bread with a little Earth Balance melted on top.

Katy said...

I've been experimenting with granola too after finding a very simple and delicious recipe on cdkitchen.com. There is something so rewarding about homemade granola and soy milk for breakfast - nourishing fruits of your own labor. Can't wait to try your recipe!

Latayy said...

I came across your cooking show on everyday dish tv and you inspired me to make my own granola and I did.
We never use to do this stuff here in the Caribbean but I am very happy that I can save some money, make healthy granola where I control the sweetness. Thanks so much Julie!
Cheers
Tay

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