Saturday, February 9, 2013

Imagine it is Thursday

Are you imagining it yet? I hope so. This morning, I woke up to the rain, an unset alarm, and half my blankets off my bed. I put on my running shorts, strapped on my knee brace, turned on my garmin, opened the front door: felt the wind, felt the rain, closed the door and said, "I am making bread."

With wintery rainy mornings scarce, and ones without class even more so, I saw this morning as an omen - to lay low. Sure I thought about running, but then I asked myself the question "what do you want to do?" and I didn't have to think twice. I wanted to make bread, and juice, and do laundry and chemistry homework in my yoga pants, and that is how I spent my morning.

I have been having a great deal of fun with grains lately. Every day I cook up either red quinoa, farro, black rice (the three grains I've got on hand), and have been using kamut flour in homemade pasta. If you haven't made pasta from scratch please put it on your list of things to do pronto. The texture is chewy and amazing, not to mention the savings! And it sounds pretty rad to say you made your own pasts. Am I right? Don't answer that. Just make some dang pasta.

Another thing I am totally hooked on making slash baking is rye soda bread. I've made two loafs in one week and have no intention of stopping any time soon. My favorite way to eat it is by tearing up chunks and dipping it in whole milk yogurt. The combination of the dense, dark, and slightly salty bread with the thick tart yogurt is just most satisfying. I also enjoy wrapping up a wedge and taking it in tow with my books to campus, just in case I need a pick me up of real food.

This recipe is adapted from Heidi Swansons' version in Super Natural Everyday. One of my most tried and true cookbooks. The first time I made this, I followed the recipe exactly (using the weights for flour measurements), and the bread was perfect. However, when I made it a second time, I substituted kamut flour for the all-purpose flour. Assuming that kamut weighed more, I reduced the weight in grams, and I found the result to be much more flavorful and there was little texture difference - the second being only slightly denser. I also ran out of buttermilk (oops) and subbed about 200 ml of whole milk yogurt to compensate; I was quite happy with the results.

Rye Kamut Soda Bread

makes 1 loaf 

2 1/3 cups / 9.75 oz / 275 g rye flour

1 1/2 cups / 8 oz / 215 g kamut flour

about 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour for kneading and dusting

1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/4 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt

2 cups / 475 ml buttermilk, plus more for brushing


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F with a rack in the middle of the oven.

Sift the flours, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the flour and pour in the buttermilk. Stir in just until everything comes together in a dough. It may be piece-y, don't add liquid. Turn out onto a lightly floured countertop and knead for 30 seconds or so, just until the dough comes together into a cohesive, slightly flattened ball without cracks.

Lightly flour a baking sheet and place the ball of dough on the flour. Drizzle over, or brush, the top and sides of the bread with buttermilk and sprinkle generously with flour, roughly 2 tablespoons. Slice 8 deep slashed across the top of the dough, two-thirds of the way, not completely, though the loaf.

Bake for 35 minutes, then quickly move the rack and the bread up a level, so the top of the bread gets nice and toasted. Bake for another 15 minutes, or until a hard crust forms and the bread is baked through. It should feel solid and sound hollow when you knock on its base. Cool on a wire rack. Try to restrain yourself for at least 20 minutes, and then consume merrily.

1 comment:

  1. 1) Homemade pasta may require your assistance the next time I attempt it.
    2) I will make this soon - with the addition of caraway??

    I will report back soon.