Happy Wednesday my healthy-food-lovers and healthy-food-lover-wannabes. What a perfect day to bake some bread.
Really? Is it though? Why does today become the perfect day to bake bread when the perfect day has yet to come along in the last 31 or so years? Well, I actually made this amazing fresh baked loaf of bread over the holidays when I had time to play in my kitchen and read other people's blogs, something I LOVE to do, when time permits me the luxury.
My whole grain bread recipe was inspired by this simple goodie by Alex of Open Ended Questions, who did an internship with me last Spring. Her blog post title called "Artisan Bread You Can Make In Your Sleep" caught my attention.
Up until this amazingly successful baking adventure, I had yet to enter into the world of active yeast. It was kind of scary to me. I had made my own sourdough starter before using wild yeast (the kind you catch in the air with your dough) and that was the extent of it. I was scared of baking because, let's be honest, I have an inability to accurately measure anything- hence the forgiving recipes you find on my blog. Using yeast wasn't even a thought.
Am I the only one who first thinks of the icky pesky infection that comes with the same name as this baking ingredient? I doubt it- and so often we associate that pesky recurring, hard to eliminate lady problem with this ingredient. Are they related?
The short answer is sort of. The problem though of the lady yeast issues is more an issue of microflora imabalnce often due to the birth control pill, antiobiotic use, stress, high meat diets, and eating loads of refined flour and sugar. So unless you suffer from this aforementioned imbalance or have severe seasonal allergies, you have nothing to fear with yeast.
So then what is yeast? Yeast is a tiny plant-like microorganism that exists all around us - in soil, on plants and even in the air. It's kind of been around forever and has been referred to as ‘the oldest plant cultivated by man.' The main purpose of yeast is to serve as a catalyst in the process of fermentation, which is essential in the making of bread- it's what makes it rise.
The purpose of any leavener is to produce the gas that makes bread rise. Yeast does this by feeding on the sugars that naturally occur in grains and expels carbon dioxide in the process. The thing is, when you use whole grains, there isn't as much sugar available and so your bread won't get quite as airy and fluff-tastic. I'm okay with that.
I made this bread by grinding whole grains from scratch. Aren't I living like it's 1856? Love it. The best whole grain flour for you to use, however, is the one you have in your cupboard. Oh and wait until next week when I tell you my absolute favourite bread topping! You might be surprised by this one.
Real Baked Bread
3 cups ?our (I used teff, buckwheat and rye- but make yours gluten-free if you like!)
1.5 cups water
1 tsp active dry yeast
1.5 tsp sea salt
1/2 to 1 cup extra ?our
- Mix ?our, salt, and dry yeast until well combined
- Add liquid and mix into a wet dough.
- Cover bowl with a cloth and let sit on counter for 12-15 hours
- Once dough has rested and risen, add the extra ?our
- Let it max and relax (ie- sit covered) for another 30 mins.
- Preheat your oven to 450
- Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil (safe at high heat) and dust with a little flour.
- After the dough has puffed again, transfer to the pan and cover with tinfoil.
- Place covered pan in oven and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake for another 8-15 minutes. Until browned on the outside and firm when you press down on it
- Remove from oven, let stand for 5 minutes and then remove from pan and let cool on a cooling rack.
Question Of The Day: Have you ever braved the world of bread baking?
Check out these bread options that don't use active yeast: