Saturday, March 12, 2011

Buffalo Barn Raisers Wheat Bread

Do you love surprises? I think it's fun to plan and give a gift that is totally unexpected, but my husband usually falls in the opposite camp. He knows what he wants, and doesn't like to wait or be surprised. That doesn't stop me from trying, however. Every now and then I manage to find a gift that both surprises and delights him.

This Christmas, the tables were turned. My husband presented me with a grain mill and a selection of different wheat varieties. I had never even considered a grain mill, but it was a perfect next step for my two-year bread baking journey! We wanted to grind the wheat and bake the first loaf together, but our schedules have been a little crazy, so it took a couple of months before we found a free weekend for baking.

Meanwhile, our daughter ALE has been baking up a storm in her kitchen in Western New York. She blogs about her life and creative adventures - including her bread baking - here, and when I saw her post about the bread she baked at a Buffalo Barn Raisers workshop, I tried it out immediately. It produced such a nice loaf that I knew it was a perfect recipe to inaugurate the grain mill.

n.o.e.'s notes:

- We decided to use hard red wheat, and ground a bit extra to use in other baking projects.

- My husband set up the mill and did the actual milling of the grain. He did such a good job that I think I need him around every time we need freshly ground flour!

- I modified the bread's method just a bit, incorporating some rest time before kneading the dough. I've learned that technique from baking so many of Dan Lepard's loaves. The recipe, as I baked it, is below.

- We doubled the recipe so that we would have plenty of bread, and used two 8.5" x 4.5" pans.

- I usually bake bread with weight, rather than volume, measurements. For the flours I assumed 4.5 ounces per cup.

- I had saved some of the dough from the first batch of this bread in the fridge, and we added it as a pre-ferment to this batch.

- My husband had baked yeast breads before he met me - over 30 years ago! - and it was fun to show him how I bake, with a digital scale, dough rising bucket, bench scraper and digital thermometer.

the verdict:

The bread had a firm, sturdy crumb that made the loaf perfect for toast or sandwiches. The best part was the flavor of the freshly ground wheat. This recipe will be a definite repeat for us.

the recipe:

Buffalo Barn Raisers Bread (borrowed and slightly adapted from the recipe my daughter posted here)

3/4 t instant yeast

approximately 1 cup of warm water

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/4 cup white flour

1 t salt

2 T honey or sugar

1 T olive oil

Prefermented dough (optional)*

Combine dry ingredients with yeast in large bowl. Add water, honey, oil, preferment if using, adding more water if necessary, to form a cohesive ball.

Knead on floured surface for several minutes, adding more flour if necessary, until dough feels lighter than when it started, is only slightly tacky, and approaches the windowpane test (it’s whole wheat, so it might still be more tear-y).

Let rise in a rising bucket or bowl in a warm place until doubled in size.

Shape into loaf and let rise in loaf pan.

Slash the top with a knife and bake at 350 until the interior temperature is 190.

Messing around: Play with proportion of white to wheat flour, add herbs, or make into a pizza: after the first rise, when doubled in size, roll out into a circle or stretch over the backs of your hands, top as desired, and bake at 450 until crust is crisp.

* The Barnraiser recipe introduced a technique I haven’t used – reserving some of the dough from one batch of bread, letting it slowly develop in the fridge, and adding it to the next batch of dough. If this is a bread you’d be interested in making more than once, try reserving part of your first batch to add to the second and see whether it makes a difference!

I'm submitting this bread to Yeastspotting, a wonderful weekly showcase of all things yeasty, baked in kitchens around the globe. Stop by on Fridays to see all the delicious breads!


Kayte said...

How fun...I can just see the two of you in your kitchen baking bread together! This was a great loaf of bread and it made wonderful toast and grilled cheese, too. I need to get my post done on it and a couple of other breads I've done...lagging behind in bread posting. It was fun making this with you and with ALE's very useful insights and information along the way. Your bread looks great. I can't wait to hear more about that mill.

Abby said...

This is so cool! I love that you got your own grain mill and that your hubby surprised you. This recipe sounds really fun...I'll have to try it. What kind of mill did you get?

More Cowbell said...

This sounds like my grandmother's bread, half white, half wheat etc. She grew up on a farm and was an amazing baker. She saved bacon fat and those little crispy crumbs left in the pan. She used a little of that in the bread along with some finely chopped walnuts. Heaven!