Daily Archives: October 1, 2009

Healthier and Whole Grainier Artisan Bread…part trois, I think?

Last night with our Chicken and Barley Soup with Spinach and Mushrooms, we ate the last of the most recent batch of plain white bread from the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes cookbook. (Previous posts here and here.) Now I’m starting to mess with recipes and try newer things. (But do I actually follow a recipe that’s actually in the book? Of course not!)

My goal: to develop and refine the healthiest but still most kid-acceptable ur-bread recipe I can manage.  When the bread gets too brown, my kids get suspicious.  (And yet they still aren’t wise to the green zucchini-skin-colored flecks in their favorite “spice cake”…)

Starting with the recipe for Oat Flour Bread on page 104, I made some adjustments: The recipe called for 5 1/2 cups of regular flour and 1 cup of oat flour.  This isn’t near whole grain-y enough for me, so instead I used 4 cups regular unbleached flour, 1 cup white whole wheat flour, 1 cup oat flour, 1/4 cup flaxseed meal, and 1/4 cup oat bran.  I also reduced the salt from 1 1/2 tbs to only 1 tbs.  And added a little sugar. (Hopefully not enough to kill the yeast or anything, just maybe 1 tbs or so. I added it for the deeply scientific reason that I had about 1 tbs of sugar left in the bag and I’m tired of moving it around, so I tossed it into the dough.)  Other than that, I left it as it was.

GROWNUP VERDICT:  This is a very nice bread–not the kind to make you take a bite and swoon like the earlier version, but really nice nonetheless.  Just enough “other” stuff to give it a very slight whole grainy taste, but not enough to have that This Is Seriously Healthy Whole Grain Bread thing going.  The reduced salt was a very good thing; the added sugar also seemed to add a little sweetness to the final product. We might be able to increase the oat/whole wheat proportions just a little against the plain white and still sell it to the kids, but for now this is a good start.  Only other thing I’d change: I followed the recipe and baked it the full 45 minutes, which gave a really hard brown crust, something my husband and I aren’t crazy about, and the interior of the bread wasn’t nearly as moist as previous loaves. Next time I’ll only go 30 or 35 minutes, which should be plenty.

KID VERDICT: I sent  a ham sandwich to school today.  Most of it got eaten, part of it came home.  (“I ran out of time because I was chatting,” was the reason.  Since he never uses the word “chatting,” I’m assuming a teacher has been getting on his case about it.) Once home this starving boy whom I obviously never feed (not) gobbled down the rest with great gusto.  He didn’t mind the heavier crust, and he didn’t mind the brown flaxseed flecks in the bread; he liked it.  So I think we’re onto something here.

There’s enough dough in the refrigerator for at least two more loaves of Something from this bread; I’ll probably try a foccacia and maybe another cinnamon loaf since that seemed to make the kids extremely happy.

I wish I could find a way to reconcile trying to lose those last 15 lbs. and experimenting with new recipes, especially when my recipes are starting to actually work out well with greater consistency…