I have brought many loaves into the world over the years: German Rye, Swedish Rye, French Baguette, Challah, Sally Lunn, Farmhouse, Wheat, lots of different kinds. Now I have finally hit upon the most fabulous, I love it, oh boy bread ever.
The recipe is based loosely on Challah, with substitutions and additions.
Flint Springs Loaded Egg Bread
2/3 cup warm water
3 T sorghum molasses (I just drizzle some in)
3 T Butter
A little salt
1C plain flour
1C whole wheat flour
1C multigrain flour
handful of nuts (I love walnuts)
Note: the bread machine breaks up the nuts during processing. If kneading by hand, decide how big you want the nut bits.
handful of dried fruit (cranberries, blueberries, raisins, currants)
a little cranberry, cherry or such juice as needed for kneading
2-1/2 t yeast (I buy bulk yeast and keep it in the freezer)
3 T dough conditioner
3 T vital gluten (These last two ingredients help the whole wheat and multigrain behave)
This is a high riser! I let mine bake in the bread machine, but you could easily bake one big or two small loaves as you would any whole wheat recipe.
I crowed about the bread conditioner and gluten and the healthy ingredients. I gave myself unwarranted confidence. Sunday I made a Sally Lunn with 2/3 whole wheat and a handful each of blueberries and walnuts, my standard. Instead of molasses, I used demara sugar. I’ve never had trouble with a Sally Lunn.
This loaf came out half the height I expected. A little better than that, but not lofty like the others Dogged if I know why. I did use half the conditioner as usual as I thought I was being to profligate with it. I may have cut back too much but thought it only affected texture.
Yes, yes, I know: Measure twice, bake once. The main thing might be not enough of the demara sugar; I usually put a calibrated slurp of sorghum molasses in but don’t have the feel for how much of the sugar. I’m ‘sticking’ with sorghum molasses for the foreseeable future.
Here’s the funny, the Dog Puzzle on the front porch!
I’ve had great River Whole Wheat Bread Flour and a Great River mixed grains flour on my wish list at Amazon for the better part of a year. Just think, whole wheat bread flour! Only making one loaf a week, my brain said another 50 pounds of flour for the bugs to get into was not justified. More barrels like I use now would take up way too much space. Sensible, but no fun.
Two things tipped the balance. I hit the bottom of the barrel when scooping my current whole wheat flour AND a good-sized, compact, stackable and sealable food grade storage container went on sale half price. All my qualms were taken care of! (Hush about my compulsion to buy 50 lbs flour to make one loaf a week.)
So, here I am at the cabin with my two grand sacks of flour and I will not open them. Duh? I left the nifty storage containers in town, a nearly three hour round trip to go fetch. That will teach me not to be in such a blasted rush to pack up and head to the cabin on Friday evenings. As if a lesson like that would diminish the siren call of home come Friday. Next week to get started on it will be soon enough.
My current kick is to toss a handful of dried blueberries or dried cranberries or even dried cherries into my mostly whole wheat bread,
along with some walnuts, pecans or some other tree nut. True or not, this bread with sorghum for sweetening seems much healthier that what you buy most places. Besides, I’m crazy about the flavor with smoked ham and aged Swiss or sharp cheddar on it.
My progression of bread was first getting a 25 pound sack of Great River organic whole wheat flour via Amazon. From making whole wheat loaves before, I knew they did not rise as much and seemed drier. I searched for and found a large economy sized can of gluten from Honeyville, just what the whole wheat needs to rise better. That same company sells a dough conditioner. Taking a chance, I got that delivered to my town doorstep in that same box. I packed them straight to the cabin, eager to try them out.
What an amazing difference! My whole wheat (1/3 white flour) rises stupendously well and is so soft and moist. I experimented with a whole wheat Sally Lunn and some others, but my favorite is Challah – Jewish egg bread – in a loaf. They were coming out wonderfully, however I felt something was still missing.
I added oats and chopped black walnuts for a while. Okay. I added honey and sesame seeds a while. Pretty good. Then I bought a couple packets of Ocean Spray Craisins that were marked for clearance. Wow! I repeated that, adding some whole English walnuts. Oh boy! Now I get dried fruit by the pound, also via Amazon.
Handful ‘o nuts and handful ‘o berries! Whole wheat nirvana!
A few years ago, central Kentucky experienced an extended drought. Before it ended, my 160 foot well got really low. I scrimped on water, packing water from work for bathing and flushing to get me past the crisis. I must live in town during the week. My dear brother ran the water freely while I was away and killed the well.
Note, he denies this. I had the well drilled to the silver sand, the best according to the driller. I found sand in the shower, in the sinks and a 3/4 inch layer of sand in the tank of the commode when I arrived that Friday night to no water at all. When I drained the water heaters, silver sand poured out. I found the breaker for the well on although I had left it off the previous Monday morning. Need I continue?
I give this preamble to explain why for many months I packed water and scrubbed clothes in the cabin kitchen sink. Hand washing, wringing, rinsing and wringing jeans has a Zen all its own. I finally got the well put back in order and am using the automatic washer once more, happily.
Kneading dough on a floury table is a time consuming chore if you depend on doing it every week, regardless of how you feel. I equate the activity with wash, wring, rinse, wring blue jeans every week. Neither turns out as good as the mechanically-assisted version would have. I much preferring having mechanical help with both needed functions.
Have I not heard of Laundromats? I prefer to spend my free time at the cabin, not sitting for hours in a $10 a week weirdo hangout. I don’t buy bread either.