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Great Whole Grain Breads

Illustrations by Susan Gaber
Copyright Date: 1984
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 368
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  • Book Info
    Great Whole Grain Breads
    Book Description:

    With more than 250 sweet-and-savory recipes, easy-to-follow, step-by-step techniques for mixing and kneading, and special hints for working with whole grains, Great Whole Grain Breads should find a place in every baker’s kitchen.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9481-5
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xiv)

    My mother tells me I was a hungry baby. Before I was one year old, I would wake in the middle of the night and eat a snack of rye bread she had placed beside the bed each evening—one hundred percent stone-ground rye bread. Why rye bread? Well, my family is of Finnish extraction, and to the Finns, bread isn’t bread unless it’s rye. What’s more, the loaf had to be round and crusty, with fork holes lacing the top. It was always made from ryemeal,a coarse form of rye flour. It had no sweetening in it...

    (pp. 1-20)

    Bread, whether whole grain or not, has two basic ingredients: flour and water. Indeed, the simplest unleavened breads, such as the tortillas of Mexico, are merely mixtures of these two ingredients—sometimes with salt added—that are baked on a griddle. But when most of us think of bread, what we’re thinking of are yeast-leavened loaves. Leavening not only gives the bread more lightness and shape, it also adds an interesting taste. Breads can also be raised by means of sourdough starter, eggs, or baking powder. All have their distinct qualities, and all can produce delectable loaves. I have included...

    (pp. 21-32)

    Here is a collection of the simplest of all yeast-raised whole grain breads. They are easy to assemble, quick to mix and bake, and delightful to eat. They go from bowl to oven to table in just about one hour. If you’ve never baked bread before, this might be the perfect place to start. And if you’re a seasoned baker, you’ll find these eleven fast breads great quick-to-make treats for busy times.

    I got the idea for these stir-and-pour breads from a combination of past experiences. From my childhood days on the farm, I remember my mother and my grandmother...

    (pp. 33-44)

    Casserole breads are for the baker who is short of time. They offer an easy way to old-fashioned breads that require no kneading. Some are batter breads that are simply beaten until smooth (and are similar to my Stir-and-Pour Breads), but others are fairly stiff and appear ready to knead but you don’t have to knead them. All, however have a higher proportion of liquid to flour, and most of them require just one rise, right in the casserole in which you plan to bake them. If you have the time, let these doughs rise once in their mixing bowls...

    (pp. 45-80)

    Wheat is the backbone of bread baking, because it is the grain that contains the most gluten, which gives bread doughs the elasticity to capture and hold the carbon dioxide given off by yeast or other leavening agents. The most common way we use wheat in bread is as white flours designated as “bread flour” or “all-purpose flour.” Usually a recipe calls for about half or more of white flour so that the dough will have enough gluten to make it easy to handle and give it a lighter texture. One hundred percent whole wheat bread is a close textured,...

    (pp. 81-116)

    As a child, I lived on dark, wholesome, homemade rye bread. Even the bread that we bought at the baker’s in our little northern Minnesota town had full-bodied character to it. Most of it was rye or whole wheat in big, fat, round loaves with crackly tops. You needed a really hefty knife to cut it. I have recently enjoyed hefty rye bread in the Scandinavian countries, especially in Finland.

    Rye is one of the important cereal grains of the world and grows in more “difficult” conditions than wheat—on poorer soil and in colder climates. In the United States,...

    (pp. 117-134)

    “So you and I nor no one knows how oats, peas, beans, and barley grow.” I remember this folk song from quite a while back. My first-grade teacher had us all in a circle singing, clapping our hands, and stamping our feet. Even though I was the child of a farmer, I never questioned the words. Yet my father planted these grains on our farm in northern Minnesota, and I knew from his talk that oats and barley were hardy grains that grow in soil that isn’t rich.

    Oats were first found growing in western Europe among the barley. These...

    (pp. 135-146)

    Most of us are familiar with the mild, nutty flavor of barley in soup, but few of us have probably eaten a barley bread. Yet this grain once was one of the most widely used in breads. In Deuteronomy the Lord promised the Israelites a land “of wheat and barley.” And it was five barley loaves that Jesus divided to feed the five thousand in the story of the loaves and the fishes. Until about two centuries ago, barley was probably the chief bread grain of continental Europe and was carried to the New World by the early settlers. Today...

    (pp. 147-160)

    Corn is one of the first foods that the American Indians introduced to the English settlers in America. And very soon after, colonial women were using ground corn to make all sorts of breads. Recent interest in regional cooking and in interesting breads has restored cornbreads to a place of honor on American tables. Once again advocates of Southern cornbread vie with Yankee diehards to lay claim to the best cornbread recipes. To those of us outside the fray, both Northern and Southern versions seem delicious and we like to alternate. But there are also some excellent yeast breads that...

    (pp. 161-176)

    Many a newcomer to the art of bread baking gets tempted by the thought of combining grains to produce the best-tastingandmost nutritious loaf of all time. But it is easy to go too far and end up with bread that has lost the rich, nutty flavor and firm, chewy texture of the well-balanced loaf and which acquires a disappointingly gritty texture and lackluster flavor. There is an art to mixing grains!

    One is always safe combining wheat, triticale,* rye, and oats. The textures of these balance each other when cooked. The flavors blend well, too. Wheat is nutty...

    (pp. 177-186)

    Golden brown pancakes with maple syrup are what most people think of when they hear the word buckwheat. Or they conjure up buckwheat blini, those Russian yeast-raised pancakes served with dollops of sour cream and caviar. In Finland, buckwheat blinis with their traditional trimmings are a classic Shrove Tuesday meal. And they have become so popular that they are often served as a first course other times of the year as well, especially when served with fresh whitefish caviar.

    But buckwheat flour has been used in many different countries to make a variety of breads. It has been used, for...

    (pp. 187-190)

    Triticale is a rather new variety of grain that is a hybrid—a cross of rye, durum wheat, and red winter wheat. It is high in protein, containing a complex of amino acids that combines with other grains to increase the utilization of protein in the diet. You can purchase triticale as a whole grain, in flakes, or ground into flour. All are available from natural foods stores.

    Cooked whole triticale is delicious as a hot breakfast cereal. Flaked triticale has been rolled to produce a texture similar to rolled oats; it too can be cooked and added to bread...

    (pp. 191-210)

    As the gold miners in the 1840s rushed to California, many carried with them, in a pouch strapped to their bodies, a sourdough starter. In the evening, flour and water were added to the contents of the pouch arid it expanded to more than twice its volume. In the morning, a portion was saved and the remainder made into pancake batter.

    Today we tend to think of sourdough breads as being made with white flour, but in the days of the early prospectors and settlers, when they “ground their own,” the flour was whole wheat, not white, and certainly not...

    (pp. 211-228)

    Now that we are aware of the nutritional bounty of whole grain flours, it seems only natural that home bakers should turn to creating delicious whole grain coffee breads and mouth-watering sweet rolls. Whole grain flours have an innate nuttiness and richness that seem an ideal marriage with the spices, fruits, and nuts usually found in sweet breads. Think of a cinnamon-scented apple-walnut filling for sweet whole wheat rolls or a cinnamon-pecan streusel topping for a quick, light whole wheat coffeecake. And raisins, almonds, or citrus peels also combine superbly with hearty whole grain flours.

    For holiday time and other...

    (pp. 229-242)

    Fruits combine with whole grains in breads as naturally as they do with nuts in any other kind of baking. In fact, fruits add a delicious moistness to breads that might otherwise be dry or a bit dull. One day when I was tired of making loaf after loaf of whole wheat bread, I chopped up some tart apples and kneaded them into the dough. The result was a delicious, rustic, rather peasanty loaf that we (and a few friends) devoured along with a hunk of well-aged Jarlsberg cheese.

    Here is a selection of different fruits either kneaded into the...

    (pp. 243-254)

    Vegetables add a special quality to whole grain breads. Ingredients such as potatoes, carrots, beans, squash, tomatoes, and pumpkin add color and delicate textures to breads as well as flavors and aromas. When added to yeast-risen breads, these vegetables do not produce the same qualities or flavor that they bring to quick breads, which are really more familiar to us.

    Over the years I have incorporated almost every vegetable you can think of into a bread. If I have leftover cooked vegetables or vegetable soup, I simple purée it, then incorporate it into a bread dough, adding it as a...

    (pp. 255-264)

    Bread and cheese has been a time-honored combination as far back as historical records go. So it isn’t surprising the idea of adding the cheese to the bread dough also appears in breads around the world. The two seem made for each other.

    Cheese mixed into bread dough adds richness and flavor. Shredded cheese will tend to make the bread more dense as the cheese melts into the crumb of the bread. Cube cheese or chunked cheese must be no larger than in about ½-inch pieces, but when used, creates an interesting texture in a loaf of bread. In my...

    (pp. 265-286)

    Wait till you taste these delectable treats! These are easier to make than the classic croissants, which require rolling in layers of butter, but they are remarkably good.


    2 packages active dry yeast 2 cups whole wheat flour, preferably stone-ground

    11/4cups warm water, 105°F.115°F. 2 teaspoons salt

    1/2 cup nonfat dry milk 3 sticks butter, cut into1/2-inch pieces

    4 tablespoons honey

    2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon milk

    In small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water; add milk and honey; set aside until yeast is foamy. In large mixing bowl,...

    (pp. 287-302)

    Flatbreads made with whole grains may have been the first breads ever made by man. A simple mixture of flour and water that is pounded and flattened, cooked perhaps on hot stones next to a fire or on a flat stone just above the heat to crackerlike crispness or to a soft and pliable chewiness, is familiar to cultures around the world. I’ve often pondered the coincidence of flatbreads. How is it that the Mexicantortillais so similar to Norwegianlefse?Or that American Indian frybread is so similar to thepooriof India? Similar breads, made by similar...

    (pp. 303-328)

    It was 1856 when a Harvard University professor received a patent on the first baking powder, an agent which would produce the carbon dioxide necessary to leaven dough. The first leavening powders combined sodium bicarbonate with an acid and cornstarch, which served as a stable vehicle for other ingredients. When water or milk combined with the acid in the mixture, carbon dioxide was produced from the sodium bicarbonate.

    But before this in England and early America cooks had been making their own “baking powder.” They would take fluffy wood ashes from the hearth, add water to make a lye solution...

    (pp. 329-342)

    Everyone knows that breads can make a sandwich, which can make a meal. The natural extension of that idea is a bread that has a topping or filling baked right in, such as a pizza or the lamb-topped lahmajoun of the Middle East. This is one of my favorite categories of baking. They’re great for a party!

    Besides being delicious, these breads have the great advantage of also being economical and unusually nutritious. These combinations are ideal meat and cheese extenders. Because breads, especially whole grain breads, are high in protein, B vitamins, and fiber so essential for health, they...

  25. INDEX
    (pp. 343-353)
  26. Back Matter
    (pp. 354-354)