Friday, May 16, 2014

It Started in Forestville

Long, long ago (well about 30 years ago or so) there was a little cafe in the tiny town of Forestville, CA. They apparently made all sorts of wonderful food, but everyone raved about the bread. From that small beginning, Brother Juniper's Breads grew to a local company that wholesaled breads in the area where I live, and eventually the force behind Brother Juniper's, Peter Reinhart, became a world renowned artisan bread baker.

My local market used to carry Brother Juniper's Wild Rice and Onion Bread. It was wonderful for sandwiches and made a savory toast, too. You can imagine my delight when our wonderful Kitchen of the Month, Baking Soda of Bake My Day, chose this bread from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Bread Every Day book to be the May bread for the Bread Baking Babes. It has wild rice and onion, a nice crust, a bit of chew and a lovely fragrance. Do try it!

I only made a few ingredient substitutions. I substituted some whole wheat flour for some of the bread flour, used caramelized onions, and less yeast...about 2.5 oz. instead of 19! I gave it plenty of time to have the yeasties grow in the fridge...4 I wasn't worried.

I'm afraid that I didn't follow the directions. I put the liquid and yeast together and let it bloom, put the yeast mixture in the stand mixer along with the cooked rice and onions, put on the dough hook, added the mixed dry ingredients in to create a dough, let it knead for 3 minutes, then did the rest of the kneading by hand. Worked like a charm. I love the texture of this bread and the slight chewiness. The crust would have been better if I added some steam, but it was fine.

I made the half batch of dough up into two short baguettes, each with about 13 oz. of dough. We had one with salad for dinner last night and will have the second one on Sunday when we take a picnic to a winery. The second one is a bit flatter, but it was the fault of my shaping technique, not the dough.

Thanks for choosing this bread Baking Soda! It is a winner. Dear Readers, please check out the other Bread Baking Babes to see how they handled this artisan bread:

Bake My Day - Karen
Blog from Our Kitchen - Elizabeth
Bread Experience - Cathy
Girlichef - Heather
Life's a Feast - Jaime
Living in the Kitchen with Puppies - Natashya
Lucullian Delights - Ilva
My Diverse Kitchen - Aparna
My Kitchen in Half Cups - Tanna
Notitie van Lien - Lien
Thyme for Cooking - Katie our BBBB with the wonderful round-ups

If you would like to be a Buddy, and why not?, e-mail Baking Soda at bakemyday (at) gmail (polkadot) com with a link to your post or Facebook post and a photo if you would like to be included in the round-up. Get it to her by May 29th and thank her and Brother Juniper for this lovely bread. Bake on!

Wild Rice and Onion Bread
(Peter Reinhart: Artisan Breads Every Day)

After struan, wild rice and onion bread was the most popular bread at Brother Juniper’s Bakery, and a version of this recipe appears in my first book, Brother Juniper’s Bread Book. The recipe calls for wild rice, but it can also be made with brown rice or a combination of wild and brown rice, or any other cooked grain. At Brother Juniper’s, during the holiday season we even added parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, and black pepper, which made for a wonderful bread for stuffing turkey. Note that it only takes about 1/4 cup of uncooked wild rice to make 1 cup (6 oz, by weight) of cooked wild rice; still, if you’re going to cook wild rice especially for this recipe, you might as well make a bigger batch and freeze 1-cup packets for future use—or have it with dinner!

This new version uses the overnight fermentation method. The yeast is added directly to the bowl, not re-hydrated with the warm water and buttermilk. You can use either dried or fresh onions, and you can form the loaves into any size or shape. Dried onions are about one-tenth the weight of fresh onions and will absorb water from the dough, while fresh onions will leach moisture back into the dough. If you use dried onions, don’t re-hydrate them before adding them to the dough, but do be aware that you may have to add an extra 2 to 4 tablespoons (1 to 2 oz) of water while mixing.

6 cups (27 oz / 765 g) unbleached bread flour
2 1/4 teaspoons (0.6 oz / 17 g) salt, or 3 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
2 tablespoons (0.66 oz / 19 g) instant yeast
1 cup (6 oz / 170 g) cooked wild rice or another cooked grain
1/4 cup (2 oz / 56.5 g) brown sugar
11/2 cups (12 oz / 340 g) lukewarm water (about 95°F or 35°C)
1/2 cup (4 oz / 113 g) lukewarm buttermilk or any other milk (about 95°F or 35°C)
1/4 cup (1 oz / 28.5 g) minced or chopped dried onions, or 2 cups (8 oz / 227 g) diced fresh onion (about 1 large onion)
1 egg white, for egg wash (optional)
1 tablespoon water, for egg wash (optional)
Do Ahead
Combine all of the ingredients, except the egg wash, in a mixing bowl. If using a mixer, use the paddle attachment and mix on the lowest speed for 1 minute. If mixing by hand, use a large spoon and stir for 1 minute. The dough should be sticky, coarse, and shaggy. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium-low speed, or continue mixing by hand, for 4 minutes, adjusting with flour or water as needed to keep the dough ball together. The dough should be soft, supple, and slightly sticky.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough for 2 to 3 minutes, adding more flour as needed to prevent sticking. The dough will still be soft and slightly sticky but will hold together to form a soft, supple ball. Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and immediately refrigerate overnight or for up to 4 days. (If you plan to bake the dough in batches over different days, you can portion the dough and place it into two or more oiled bowls at this stage.)
On Baking Day
Remove the dough from the refrigerator about 2 hours before you plan to bake. Shape the dough into one or more sandwich loaves, using 28 ounces (794 g) of dough for 4 1/2 by 8-inch loaf pans and 36 ounces (1.02 kg) of dough for 5 by 9-inch pans; into freestanding loaves of any size, which you can shape as b√Ętards, baguettes, or boules; or into rolls, using 2 ounces (56.5 g) of dough per roll. When shaping, use only as much flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking. For sandwich loaves, proof the dough in greased loaf pans. For freestanding loaves and rolls, line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone mat and proof the dough on the pan.

Mist the top of the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until increased to about 1 1/2 times its original size. In loaf pans, the dough should dome at least 1 inch above the rim. If you’d like to make the rolls more shiny, whisk the egg white and water together, brush the tops of the rolls with the egg wash just before they’re ready to bake.

About 15 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C), or 300°F (149°C) for a convection oven.
Bake the loaves for 10 to 15 minutes, then rotate the pan; rotate rolls after 8 minutes. The total baking time is 45 to 55 minutes for loaves, and only 20 to 25 minutes for rolls. The bread is done when it has a rich golden color, the loaf sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom, and the internal temperature is above 185°F (85°C) in the center.
Cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes for rolls or 1 hour for loaves before slicing.


  1. What a joy to have been around for the original bread! How funny that you only made a few substitutions ... me too ... and you did all kinds of the directions differently ... me too ... and still we bake wonderful bread!

  2. You know something, I always let the yeast bloom for 10 minutes even in recipes like this. I loved this recipe and love the story behind it. It does make wonderful bread for cheese or cold cuts and definitely great toast! Yours look wonderful!

  3. I love that fact that you know how the 'real' bread tastes. I didn't have the patience (or the room in my fridge) to leave it for 4 days, but that must have added some extra nice taste to it. beautiful bread!

  4. Wow. You really did use way less yeast. And clearly, it's no problem at all!

    Four days in the fridge....

    Your bread looks beautiful! (And thank you for the idea to use caramelized onions. They're delicious, aren't they?)

  5. That's so fun that you actually had and remember this bread from the bakery! That level of nostalgia surely lifts it up to a whole 'nother level. Lovely loaves!

  6. Love the story - and I want the toast. I love savory breads like this!

  7. What beautiful bread and nice personal touch. Hope you are enjoying the beautiful spring weather.

  8. What a beautiful crumb you got! I love those short stubby french loaves, good thinking!

    How wonderful to have been able to taste the original!

  9. YOu've eaten the original bread? Lucky you.
    I also caramelised my onions and cut down on the yeast. Thought it was too much yeast for the given flour, especially with an overnight slow rise.

  10. That's very cool that you tasted the original version of this bread. I bet the baguettes were great!