January 11, 2013

In Search of the Perfect Loaf #2

So last weekend, I started up my brand-spanking new Bread Machine and after 2 attempts at making Multi-Grain bread ... I was left with 2 half-loaves of dense bread that no one would touch about 30 min after the loaf had been cut into. Both loaves tasted great while still warm ... but they turned out to be bricks when allowed to cool. So this entire work week, as and when I got the chance, I researched recipes and techniques for multi-grain bread. One of the cool websites I found - The Fresh Loaf -has lots of interesting tips and recipes and even a primer for the novice bread-maker. One of the interesting things I read this past week, is that even supposedly whole-grain breads actually are "cheater" breads in that they are made predominantly with white flour with a portion of whole-grain flour mixed in. So that's why my loafs were like bricks. I can't find the website where I read this ... but I know I did. 

Also, this week, I saw a McDougall Moment video about the use of white rice vs brown rice. And one of the things Dr. McDougall says in this video is ... white rice is OKAY!! ... brown rice is better, but white rice, white pasta and white bread, are not deal breakers. So I decided to make an about face - no I'm not switching to white bread completely. But, I'm going to first find the perfect white loaf ... and then, I'm going to tweak it with whole grain flour, seeds and nuts and whole grains where possible to make it as nutritious as possible. Sound like a plan?? Here's the first recipe I'm trying today. I found it online Its intended for bread machines and uses 1/2 a cup of Oatmeal and 1/2 a cup of sunflower seeds and white all-purpose flour. So, its not all bad!! :)

Oatmeal Sunflower Seed Bread
Adapted from the Betty Crocker website:  Bread Machine Oatmeal-Sunflower Bread

Prep Time: 10 + ~3.5 hours in a bread machine

Ingredients: (8 servings/slices):
  1. 1cup water
  2. 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
  3. 2 tbsp Apple sauce
  4. 3 cups All-purpose White Flour
  5. 1/2 cup Oats (quick-cooking or old-fashioned)
  6. 1.25 tsp salt
  7. 2.25 tsp Active Dry Yeast 
  8. 1/2 cup Sunflower Seeds
The Perfect Loaf?
Place all ingredients in the order they are listed into the baking pan of your bread machine, with the exception of the Sunflower Seeds. Start the machine using the menu selection for Basic white bread. Set the crust to medium or light. According to the original recipe - do not the delay cycle (I'm not experienced enough to know why!). Start the cycle and when the machine beeps at the 'add ingredient' stage (just before the last 5-10 minutes of kneading), add the sunflower seeds.  Allow the baking cycle to complete, remove the bread from the pan onto a baking rack and allow to stand for 20-30 minutes before slicing/cutting into the loaf.

My Assessment: First off, I liked adding the nuts at the end of the kneading cycle. The last 2 times, the poor sunflower seeds I added were beaten to a pulp by the time the bread was done. This time I could see the whole seeds in the dough and also on the crust. Secondly, we had air ... yes, the dough actually rose and we had air pockets in the middle and the bread was soft and spongy. Lastly, it wasn't perfect. It was a great recipe and the bread came out real good - but tasted a bit sweet. I think I may need to cut back on the maple syrup. The sunflower seeds added a good amount of chewiness to the bread. And guess what? It was not a brick!!! :)

See the air in that baby?
Nutrition Facts (Per Serving): Calories 237
Total Fat 2.3 g; Cholesterol 0 g; Carbohydrates 47 g; Fiber 2.3 g; Sugars 6.3 g; Protein 6.5 g

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