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Harvest loaf.

Shaped like a wheat sheaf, this freeform loaf serves as an edible centerpiece for a harvest meal. The slender stalks get crisp like breadsticks; the plumper ears turn into small, crusty rolls.

Cutting and snipping with knife and scissors give the wheat-flecked yeast dough its textured surface. Form a quadrilateral of dough, then follow the steps shown below to form stalks and heads of grain.

Harvest Sheaf Loaf

1 package active dry yeast 1 1/4 cups warm water (about 110 degrees) 1 tablespoon molasses 3/4 teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, at room temperature

2/3 cup whole-wheat flour 1/3 cup untoasted wheat germ 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 CUPS all-purpose flour 1 large egg 1 tablespoon milk

Kosher salt (optional)

Sprinkle yeast over water in a large bowl; let stand about 5 minutes to soften. Stir in molasses, salt, and butter. Beat in wholewheat flour and wheat germ.

To knead with a dough hook, set at low speed and gradually beat in 2 1/4 cups of the all-purpose flour until moistened. Then beat on high speed until dough pulls cleanly from side of bowl, 3 to 5 minutes, If dough is sticky, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.

To knead by hand, use a heavy spoon to gradually stir in 2 1/4 cups of the allpurpose flour until blended. Turn out onto a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding as little flour as possible to prevent sticking. Place dough in greased bowl; turn over to grease top.

Either way, cover bowl with plastic wrap; put in warm place until dough doubles, about 1 hour. Punch down; knead briefly on floured board to release air.

Pinch off a 2-inch-thick dough ball; roll into a 14-inch-long rope. Lay rope across center width of a greased 12- by 15-inch baking sheet. Form remaining dough into a quadrilateral about 10 inches long, 6 inches wide across top, 3 inches wide across bottom. Set dough atop rope; press onto pan to adjust size and even thickness. With a knife, score dough from top to bottom at 5 equal intervals. Following scored marks, cut through dough to pan do not cut through center where dough rope lies. Spread strips apart at top so they don't stick together.

On bottom section, twist each strip, stretching slightly to reach 1 to 2 inches beyond pan's bottom edge. Flare strips at base, fitting snugly against edge of baking sheet. Tie dough rope loosely over sheaf. Turn pan so top section faces you. Starting 1 inch in from dough rope, snip strip 2/3 of the way through at a 45 degree angle to top of dough; repeat at 1 -inch intervals Lift and turn each snipped section alternately to opposite sides. Repeat for each strip.

Cover sheaf loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until puffy, 20 to 30 minutes. Beat egg and milk to blend. Brush dough with egg mixture; sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.

Bake in a 400 degree oven until bread is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool. Serve warm or cool. If made ahead, cool, wrap airtight, and store at room temperature up to 8 hours, or freeze up to 1 week. Thaw and reheat, uncovered, in 350 degree oven until warm, 5 to 10 minutes. Break off pieces to eat. Makes 1 loaf (about 1 1/2 Lb.), about 12 servings. Per ounce:90 cal.; 2.8 g protein; 2.3 g fat; 15 g carbo.; 100 mg sodium; 18 mg chol.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Publication:Sunset
Date:Oct 1, 1989
Words:604
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