Saturday, April 18, 2009
Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
I have a great boss. He understands priorities, and has an amazing way of always being able to step back and consider the bigger picture. I have learned much, and yet have much more to learn from him. He enjoys eating healthy, and believes it's a stewardship issue of our bodies, which ultimately belong to God. However, he's also helped me to accept where others are in their own journey to health, with humility and grace. (This is all indirect of course; I doubt if he has any clue.)
Mark is one of those "others." He intuitively eats well. He craves fruit for a snack, hardly overeats bread (even when it's delicious and free, like at Not Your Average Joe's, one of our favorite date spots), starts his day with eggs with nary a craving for a sweet bowl of cereal, and has no problems filling up on fresh vegetables instead of greasy snacks and fake foods. I envy him. He hasn't read a book on real food, nor has he ever taken a course, listened to a food revolutionary, or read blogs that continually, and rightfully IMO, lambaste the food industry. He has been diagnosed with Crohn's disease, and because of that, he's done a little research into what foods might be better during a flare up, and what foods can help cure his body of the disease. But other than that, he doesn't sweat it, and never has. He makes smart choices 90% of the time and likes him some good fried clams every now and then. Honestly, I am so blessed to have a husband with a desire and a taste for real, healthy foods. So...I won't complain when he wants me to buy him bread for his turkey sandwiches. Here's the rub though: I can't do it. I mean, physically I can't make the purchase. I went to THREE markets/grocery stores today getting our food for the week, and I couldn't bring myself to spend the $5.69 it cost for a loaf of chalky Ezekiel bread, nor did I want to spend $3 on a loaf of artisan bread that would be stale the next day. I kept taking the bread off the shelf, putting it back, reading the ingredients, putting it back, checking the price tag, walking away.
Thus, I came home breadless. Mark was plugging away on a power point presentation, so he didn't notice, which gave me a few extra hours to procure a loaf. I knew I could bake something that tastes like sandwich bread, with real food and minimal mess, at a fraction of the cost. And I did. For roughly $2.25, I came out with this beauty. Crunchy, glossy crust; soft crumb; pliable slice; complex flavor.
I really think you should try it. It's delish and frugal and sometimes soaking the flour and sprouting the wheat or using sourdough just doesn't cut it. Mark doesn't enjoy the bread with the aforementioned "nourishing" modifications, and like I said, he makes many great choices. I'm choosing my battles. Bread isn't one of them.
(Where I give options, I've bolded what I chose for the loaf pictured.)
2 cups 100% stone ground whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached bread flour
1 cup rolled organic oats or steel cut oats
2 t SAF yeast (I swear this stuff is miraculous)
1 1/2 c milk, buttermilk, or water
2 T coconut oil, olive oil or butter
3 T molasses, honey, or maple syrup - Warning: molasses gives off a STRONG flavor!
1 1/2 t sea salt
1/4 c sunflower seeds
additional oats for topping
Add milk, oil, and molassess to bread machine. Top with flours and oats so that the liquid is totally covered. Add yeast.
Select dough cycle. Check after a few minutes to make sure that your dough isn't too wet or dry. You may need to add some flour or water to get it to be a bit sticky. When the timer goes off for "add fruit," about five minutes before it starts to rise, throw in the salt and sunflower seeds.
When the cycle is finished (90 minutes for my Breadman), transfer dough to stoneware or regular greased loaf pan.
Preheat oven to 350. Allow dough to rise a second time, until it rises about 2 inches over the top of the pan. Brush or spray top of bread with water or egg white, and sprinkle oats on top.
Bake for 45 - 60 minutes, depending on your oven and the pan you use. I'm horrible at timing, so I use my handy oven thermometer and stick it into the center of the bread after about 45 minutes. You want the bread center to register 190 degrees Fahrenheit before you take it out.
Let cool on a wire rack. Since Mark probably has five slices of bread a week, I decided to cut and freeze. If you don't cut right away, you can just leave it out on the counter. When you do cut it, place it in a brown paper bag, cut side down, or wrap just the open side with saran wrap or something like that. If you wrap up the whole loaf in plastic or whatever you use, it will get soggy and moldy. Yuck.