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Bread-making on the rise.

BREAD-MAKING ON THE RISE

In its simplest form a loaf of breadis only a bit of flour mixed with water. Other ingredients--yeast, salt, sugar, eggs, fruits, nuts, and various grains--add flavor and variety, but the real secret behind a truly tasty loaf is the loving care that goes into it. According to a British chef, this ingredient is not only the most important, it is also the only one that really matters.

Creativity and experience are alsoimportant to this labor of love in which various grains are combined, kneaded, and shaped by hand; the choice of grains and the amount of each used will ultimately determine the bread's texture. Whole wheat offers a coarse, hearty loaf. Rye makes a heavy, flavorful bread, and oatbran, amaranth, and Ezekiel flour impart their own distinctive flavors.

Most yeast breads require at least asmall amount of sugar to feed the yeast and to form a thick, brown crust. Bakeries, however, use diastatic malt instead of sugar for the process. This malt, not available at grocery stores, can be made from huskless barley or whole wheat berries. The barley or wheat berries are sprouted, dried, and ground into mean in a blender.

Diastatic malt, rich in enzymes thatimprove the flavor, the texture, and the appearance of homemade bread, helps to keep the bread fresh longer. Substituted for sugar, the malt adds extra nutrients to bread--in particular, B vitamins. A tablespoon of diastatic malt is enough to produce two to four loaves. If more malt is added, the dough will become too sticky and sweet.

Sprouting

Sprouts are easy to make fromwheat berries or huskless barley. Soak the grains in water overnight in a glass jar; drain. Cover them with cheesecloth, secured with a rubber band. Turn the jar upside down and allow it to stand for two to four days; rinse the sprouts several times each day. When the sprouts are about the length of the grain, they are ready to be turned into malt. Sprouts can also be added raw to breads, or toasted to make a Sprouted Wheat Bread.

Sprouts, high in vitamins C and B,are also high in lysine. This essential amino acid, extremely sensitive to heat, may be destroyed along with most of the other nutrients if the sprouts are toasted. It is best, therefore, to add the sprouts raw to the bread. Simply chop them finely in a blender and knead them into the dough before the first rising.

The rising time depends uponthe type of bread and the temperature of the room where the bread is proofing. To speed proofing, set the dough in a very warm place. When the dough has completed proofing, it will be almost double in bulk. Any fingerprints will remain in the dough; if the yeast is still growing, the holes will fill quickly, so the dough will need to proof longer. Whole-grain breads can be kneaded and proofed longer than other breads for a lighter texture.

Starter Dough

Sourdough starter, an oldWestern tradition revived in many modern kitchens, allows bread to be baked without fresh yeast. If you bake bread frequently, you can easily develop a starter dough yourself from the yeast in the air. For a more precise starter, use a commercial yeast, or borrow some from a baker friend. The older the starter, the more flavorful and aromatic it will be. Some bakers claim their starters go back more than 100 years. Included below is a recipe for making your own.

The starter should be used at leastonce a week; it can be frozen up to three to four months. When sourdough starter is the only yeast used, the bread must rise for at least four to five hours.

Starter dough is especially convenientfor bread makers who have nine-to-five jobs. Prepare the dough the night before, shape it in the morning before work, and then bake it for a half-hour before serving it for dinner.

Sunny Spiced-Fruit Muffins (Makes 1 dozen)

Sunflower seeds and apples add a flavorfultouch to sourdough muffins.

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon salt, if desired

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/2 cup sourdough starter

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup cooking oil

1 cup grated apples

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

Combine first five ingredients in mixingbowl. Add egg, starter, milk, and cooking oil; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in applies. Spoon batter into muffin cups; fill 2/3 full. Top each muffin with sunflower seeds. Bake in preheated 400|F. oven until no longer doughy (20-25 minutes). Serve warm.

Diastatic Malt (Makes 1 1/2 cups)

Sprout huskless barley or wholewheat berries to make a malt similar to the type used for specialty breads in bakeries.

1/2 cup huskless barley or whole wheat

Wide-mouth jar

Cheesecloth

Rubber band

Place barley or wheat in jar and fillwith water. Let stand overnight; drain. Place cheesecloth over mouth of jar and secure with rubber band. Turn jars upside down at an angle so air can circulate. Let stand 2-3 days or until sprouts form about the size of the grain. Rinse grains several times each day.

Dry sprouts, if desired, by placingin single layer on baking sheet. Dry in 150|F. oven until moisture is removed from sprouts (6-8 hours). Place dried sprouts in blender or food processor; process until sprouts are a fine meal. Use 1 teaspoon malt for each loaf of bread; omit sugar.

Oat-Bran Bagels (Makes 1 dozen)

Oat bran has been shown to reducethe risk of developing high blood cholesterol. It binds the cholesterol and carries it out of the body. Hidden in a delicious bagel, it makes you wonder why anything else would be served for breakfast.

1 package active dry yeast

1 cup warm water

3 tablespoons cooking oil

1 teaspoon diastatic malt or sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg

2 to 2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour

1 cup oat bran

4 quarts water

2 tablespoons sugar

1 egg yolk, beaten

1 tablespoon water

Sesame seeds, to taste

Stir yeast into warm water and letstand 3-5 minutes or until yeast is dissolved. In large mixing bowl, combine yeast mixture, oil, malt, salt, and egg. Stir until well-mixed. Gradually add flour and oat bran until mixture forms stiff dough. Knead dough on floured board until dough is no longer sticky (8-10 minutes). Place dough in greased mixing bowl and turn to coat entire surface. Cover and let rise in warm, draft-free place until double in bulk (about 1 hour). Punch down dough and let rise until double. Repeat rising procedure a third time.

Punch down dough anddivide into 12 equal portions. Roll each into 6 rope about 3/4 thick. Form circle with each rope; pinch ends together so they won't come apart. Drop each bagel into 4 quarts rapidly boiling water to which 2 tablespoons sugar has been added. Cook bagels until they rise to top. Turn each bagel over and cook 1-2 minutes longer. Remove and place on greased backing sheet. Brush bagels with mixture of 1 beaten egg yolk and 1 tablespoon water. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake in preheated 375|F. oven until golden brown (20-25 minutes).

Sourdough Starter (Makes 2 cups)

Add equal parts flour and water to replenishstarter each time it is used. Starter should be used about once a week. If you don't plan on making any bread, give a cup of starter to a friend.

1 package active dry yeast

1 cup water

1 cup whole-wheat flour

Dissolve yeast in 1 cup water in glassor pottery bowl. (Do not use plastic.) Stir in flour and let mixture sit at room temperature for 4-5 days or until mixture takes on sour odor and small gas bubbles are being released from the mixture. Stir once a day. Keep starter in refrigerator until ready to use.

Add additional 1/2 cup flour and 1/2cup water the day before using starter for making bread. Stir mixture well and let stand 8-10 hours or overnight at room temperature. Remove 1 cup starter for bread or muffins. Replenish starter with 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water. Store in refrigerator.

Sourdough Amaranth Bread (Makes 1 loaf)

1/4 cup high-lysine corn meal

1/2 cup amaranth

1 cup cracked wheat*

1 3/4 cups boiling water

1 cup sourdough starter

1/4 cup molasses

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 to 2 cups whole-wheat flour

1 high-gluten flour or bread flour

Corn oil

Combine corn meal, amaranth, andcracked wheat in mixing bowl. Pour boiling water over grains; stir constantly to avoid lumps. Let stand until lukewarm. Add starter, molasses, and salt. Stir in enough flour to form soft dough. Knead dough on lightly floured surface until no longer sticky (8-10 minutes). Place dough in greased bowl; turn dough to bring greased side up. Cover and let stand in warm place until double in bulk (about 8 hours or overnight).

Shape dough into a loaf and placein greased loaf pan. Lightly oil top of dough and cover. Let rise in warm place until double in size (about 8 hours or all day). Bake in preheated 375| oven until loaf sounds hollow when tapped (30-35 minutes). Remove from loaf pan and cool.

Tip: Whole wheat berries can becracked in blender to make cracked wheat. Process 1-2 minutes or until coarsely chopped.

Sprouted Wheat Bread (Makes 2 loaves)

To make sprouts, follow recipe fordiastatic malt. Do not dry sprouts. Use meat grinder or blender to finely chop sprouts.

1 package active dry yeast

2 3/4 cups water

1/3 cup cooking oil

2 teaspoons diastatic malt or1/3 cup honey

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

6 to 6 1/2 cups whole-wheatflour

1/2 cup high-gluten flour orbread flour

1/2 cup finely chopped wheatberry sprouts

Dissolve yeast in water. Placeoil, malt, and salt in large mixing bowl. Add yeast mixture. Gradually add flours to form stiff dough. Knead dough on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic (8-10 minutes). Knead wheat sprouts into dough. Place dough in greased bowl; turn once to bring greased side up. Cover with damp cloth and let stand in warm place until double in bulk (1-1 1/2 hours).

Punch down dough and shape into2 loaves. Place in greased loaf pans; cover. Let rise in warm place until double in bulk (3/4 to 1 hour). Bake in preheated 350|F. oven until loaf sounds hollow when tapped (30-35 minutes).

Pita Bread (Makes 8)

1 package active dry yeast

1/4 cup water

3 cups whole-wheat flour

1 cup high-gluten flour or bread flour

1 teaspoon diastatic malt

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup warm water

Corn meal

Dissolve yeast in water. Add remainingingredients and stir until well mixed. Turn dough out onto lightly floured board and knead until smooth (5-10 minutes). Place dough in lightly greased bowl and turn dough over to bring greased side up. Let rise until dough is double in bulk (1-1 1/2 hours). Punch down dough and divide into 8 large pieces. Roll dough into balls, and with palms of hands, pat out dough into circles about 1/4 thick. Place each circle on baking sheet lightly sprinkled with corn meal. Cover with damp towel and let rise 30 minutes.

Bake in preheated 450|F. oven untillightly browned (8-10 minutes). Serve warm with favorite filling.

Photo: Greet your guests this holiday seasonwith a mouth-watering array of homemade breads, bagels, and muffins.
COPYRIGHT 1986 Saturday Evening Post Society
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Author:Rae, Jacque
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Nov 1, 1986
Words:1921
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