Well, from the blog anyway. Certainly not in real life, which is truthfully where I could use a good summer vacation the most. I’m starting to regret now all that time during actual summer vacations that I spent in an air conditioned house watching hours of Disney channel (does anyone else remember when Disney was a subscription only channel? We only got it during the summer when we were out of school because that’s the only time mom was willing to pay for it) and Nickelodeon instead of doing productive, creative things. Anyway, I’m fully aware that when Spring and Summer roll around I start neglecting this place. We spend all our time outdoors negotiating with our weird, stubborn weather, doing all those fun outside things with plants and building things, just walking around absorbing the sunshine. Lately I’ve gotten a little too much sunshine – in an effort to fix the severe farmer’s tan I usually have going on I went out in a tank top and no sunscreen (yes, I know, I’m a complete idiot sometimes) and I burned. Man, did I burn. I assume it’s karma’s way of getting back at me for threatening to set so many people on fire. I felt like I was on fire for a week and a half. And the peeling stage (which still isn’t quite finished yet) was horrendous. I didn’t just peel, people, I molted. But that’s gross and that’s not what I came here to talk about really. I came here to brag about some bread making that’s been going on. I have fully weaned myself from buying store bought yeasty products and have successfully kept a sourdough starter active for a couple months now and I have made our week’s bread from that every Sunday. But I also wanted a little variety as well as something a bit healthier than just white flour bread. I found this recipe using 7 grain hot cereal as a base and coupled with a mixture of white and whole wheat flour, I have successfully baked a multigrain loaf of bread that I don’t find dense, chewy and unpleasant. This is the complete opposite of standard store bought multigrain breads, matter of fact. The texture is luscious – absolutely tender and soft and it stays that way for far longer than standard home baked white bread. Plus the chewiness of the grains inside and the oats baked on top are not yucky and toothsome – they lend a really lovely texture to the bread that is really kind of fun to eat. Plus it’s super simple and I’m a huge sucker for simple, especially this time of year when I’ve got one eye on my kitchen projects and the other on the gardens and all the fantastic (and sometimes evil) sunshine.
recipe from Our Best Bites
1 1/4 cups 7 grain hot cereal mix (this was located near the oatmeal in my grocery store, with the other breakfast cereals)
2 1/2 cups boiling water
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup honey
4 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
3/4 Tablespoon salt (as always I use kosher)
1/2 cup old fashioned style oats
Put the cereal in your stand mixer bowl. Pour the water over it and stir it up a bit. Let the mixture stand for about an hour, stirring it once in awhile, until it gets thick. Mine never totally made like a porridge type of consistency and it baked up just fine so if after an hour it’s not all um porridgy, don’t worry about it, I say. Mix your flours together in another bowl. After your hour waiting time, add the honey, butter and yeast to the grains. Mix this up for a minute until everything is combined. Add 2 cups of your flour mixture and continue to mix (I switched to the dough hook at this point). Add more flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough is tacky but not super sticky. When you touch it, it won’t stick hardcore to your fingertip is when you know it’s right. I ended up using most of my flour mixture and only had like, 1/4 cup left over. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes. Mix in the salt and knead it for a few minutes more. Grease another bowl (yeah I know, so many bowls) with cooking spray, put your dough into it, turn to grease all sides, cover and let it sit in a warm place and rise until doubled in size. Grease 2 standard size loaf pans (9×5 I think mine are). Cut your dough in half with a bench scraper. Shape those two halves into loaves and place in the pans. Spray the tops of the loaves lightly with the cooking spray. Gently press the oats into the top of each loaf. Cover and let them rise for another hour or so. Preheat the oven to 375 the last 20 minutes of rising time. Bake until the loaves are golden brown and the insides register 200 degrees when you stick a thermometer in them. Let them cool on a wire rack (so the bottoms don’t get soggy). Then eat them or store them. I found these froze really, really well.