Monday, July 16, 2012

Third Time is the Charm for Easy Little Bread


It's a good thing that Sara invited us to experiment with the recipe she gave the Bread Baking Babes this month! With a new 2 year old dog on the house I was looking forward to the easy part of the Easy Little Bread that Sara of I Like to Cook, our Kitchen of the Month, gave us. I had forgotten how much a young dog is like a toddler, but it is also rewarding in that, like a toddler, you gets lots of affection back for the care given. His name is Pi (like the mathematical term) and he is a rescue dog and a gorgeous black Labrador with a sweet disposition. Unlike most young labs I have known, he is mellow and doesn't' try to jump on people. The only time he is puppy-like is when he is playing with his dog toys which leads to lots of laughter and fun.


The easy little bread turned out to be not so easy for me. For my first attempt I followed the recipe exactly and ended up with a dense and fairly flavorless bread even though I followed the recipe closely.

That might have been the problem since I almost always add some sort of twist to recipes, even ones I've never tried. I love, love, love oatmeal bread so I decided to try it again but to cook the oats before adding them to the batter, plus I put in 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds for flavor. Unfortunately I both misjudged the amount of liquids to use and left it to rise too long. I ended up with a gray bread that I didn't even try to eat.

The third time was the charm! That's the one in the photo at the top of the post. I took half of the rolled whole grains (in this case a mixture of rye, wheat, oats and barley) and cooked them for a minute and a half in the microwave with 3/4 cup of water. The other 1/2 cup of grains went, uncooked, into the bowl with the flours. I also increased the plain flour to 2 1/4 cups and used bread flour because I ran out of all-purpose flour making the other two breads and a loaf of banana bread (more about that another day) plus the cup of whole-wheat flour. I increased the water by 1/2 cup. If you include the water used to cook the grains that were cooked, that is an additional 1 1/4 cup water offset by an additional 1 1/4 cup flour. The resulting bread was good. It rose, it had lots of flavor and a much better texture and crumb than the first one. It makes great toast.



Oddly enough it isn't like the twists from last month even though both are oatmeal breads. This Easy Little Bread has no kneading involved and has a much more open crumb and rough texture. Should be great with soup!

This photo is for comparison of bread #3 and bread #1 (the shorter one):
The changes I made only add five minutes to the process (for cooking and cooling the oatmeal) so it is still a very quick and easy bread. This is also a healthy bread with only a tablespoon of honey and no milk, eggs, or butter in the dough. Do give it a try. It might become you favorite go-to bread for quick and easy bread making.

If you'd like to be a Buddy you can use the original recipe, below, or try your own variations. The Third Time is the Charm version is below the Easy Little Bread recipe in case you want to try my version. Once you have baked YOUR version, send an e-mail with a photo and a link to your blog to Sara at iliketocookATshawDOTca by July 29th to be included in the round-up and to get a Buddy badge. Do visit the other Babes' sites to see their breads this month. I'm sending this over to Susan at Wild Yeast for the weekly Yeastspotting event, a wonderland of yeasted breads that you should visit regularly if you love baking breads.

The following is from Susan's post...just to keep my readers up to date :) Thanks Susan!

And now for something a little different:

The Babes will bake and post on August 15th in honor of Julia Child’s 100th birthday, and we would love for the Buddies (that is, anyone who would like to play), to join us in posting on that day. Big thanks to Elle for creating the invitation. For the recipe we will be baking, please email Susan: susan at wildyeastblog dot com (NB: This is an invitation for NEXT month, August. THIS month (July), Buddies are still invited to make the Easy Little Bread.)


Easy Little Bread
from 101 Cookbooks

1 1/4 cups / 300 ml warm water (105-115F)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast (one packet)
1 tablespoon runny honey
1 cup / 4.5 oz / 125 g unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup / 5 oz / 140 g whole wheat flour
1 cup / 3.5 oz / 100 g rolled oats (not instant oats)
1 1/2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted, for brushing

In a medium bowl, sprinkle the yeast onto the warm water and stir until the yeast dissolves. Stir in the honey and set aside for a few minutes, until the yeast blooms and swells a bit - 5 - 10 minutes.

In the meantime, mix the flours, oats, and salt in a large bowl. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir very well.

Brush a 8-cup loaf pan generously with some of the melted butter. Turn the dough into the tin, cover with a clean, slightly damp cloth, and set in a warm place for 30 minutes, to rise.

Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C, with a rack in the middle. When ready, bake the bread for 35-40 minutes, until golden and pulling away from the sides of the pan. I finish things up by leaving the bread under the broiler for just a heartbeat - to give the top a bit deeper color. Remove from oven, and turn the bread out of the pan quickly. Let it cool on a rack so it doesn't steam in the pan. Serve warm, slathered with butter.

Makes 1 loaf.

Adapted from Gran's Kitchen: Recipes from the Notebooks of Dulcie May Booker.

Prep time: 10 min - Cook time: 35 min



Third Time's the Charm Easy Little Bread
based on recipe from 101 Cookbooks

1/4 cups warm water (105-115F)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast (one packet)
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup rolled oats (not instant oats)(I used a mixture of rye, wheat, oats and barley rolled whole grains)
1 1/2 cup warm water (105 - 115F)
1 tablespoon runny honey
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I used part bread flour...ran out of all-purpose)
1 cup / 5 oz / 140 g whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats (not instant oats)(I used a mixture of rye, wheat, oats and barley rolled whole grains)
1 1/2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted, for brushing (I used spray canola oil to oil the bread pan)

In a medium bowl, sprinkle the yeast into the 1/4 cup warm water in a small bowl and stir until the yeast dissolves. Set aside for a few minutes, until the yeast blooms and swells a bit - 5 - 10 minutes.

While yeast is blooming, cook the 1/2 cup rolled oats/mixed grains with the 3/4 cup water in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Cool. Mix in the 1 1/2 cups water and the runny honey and stir to mix well. There may be some clumps of cooked grain...that is OK.

In the meantime, mix the flours, 1/2 cup oats/mixed rolled grains, and salt in a large bowl..

Add the yeast mixture and the wet mixture to the dry mixture in the large bowl and stir very well.

Brush a 8-cup loaf pan generously with some of the melted butter (or spray with cooking spray). Turn the dough into the tin, cover with a clean, slightly damp cloth, and set in a warm place for 30 minutes, to rise.

Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C, with a rack in the middle. When ready, bake the bread for 55-60 minutes, until golden and pulling away from the sides of the pan. If the top is too pale, leave the bread under the broiler for just a heartbeat - to give the top a bit deeper color. Remove from oven, and turn the bread out of the pan quickly. Let it cool on a rack so it doesn't steam in the pan. Serve warm, slathered with butter. Makes great toast!

Makes 1 loaf.

Note: Total water used for Third Time bread is 2 1/2 cups. Total flour and grains is 4 1/4. Depending on your flour you may need slightly more or less flour, but batter is meant to be fairly loose and sticky. No kneading is necessary.

6 comments :

tanita davis said...

Hm. A complicated easy little bread! I love oatmeal bread as well, and am glad you perfected this recipe; I have a new bread baker friend in Scotland I want to try it. His breads tend to turn out like your #1 try, and I am not quite sure why... we need to go back and back with him a bit.

Elle said...

Tanita, it's true that my version is a bit more complicated, but I made the changes because I think the first version doesn't have enough liquid...the uncooked grains suck up the moisture so the yeasties don't have enough extra liquid to grow. Fewer yesties means dense flavorless bread. Cooking half the grains takes care of some of that and the uncooked grains add texture. The additional water helps, too, but is offset by the additional flour so the dough isn't overly damp (as the second batch was). It is still pretty easy and quick and a rustic bread. Now it is also tasty and has an appealing texture and crumb.

Elizabeth said...

Aren't you brilliant to have fixed this bread? Your 3rd loaf looks wonderful - light and fluffy.

I didn't know that about the yeast requiring liquid to grow. I thought it could feed off of the flour and honey. (That would explain why my easy little bread was so flat - I cut back on the yeast!)

What a beautiful dog Pi is!! I particularly like the blueness of his black coat.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Haha oh my Pi is a beauty!!

Tanita says it well for you and I: a complicated easy little bread.

You have all my admiration for you try it till you get it. I follow exactly the little bread flour and more water would both truly add to more rise and better crumb in this one. More power to you!

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Glad it all worked out in the end!
And Pi is gorgeous!

katiez said...

The third time is always the charm..... Love Pi!