Friday, 16 July 2010
I CAN’T believe it!! It turns out that whining works! After months of whinging, wheedling and subliminal begging, I’m flabbergasted to report that I am now a
As you can imagine, I was absolutely thrilled to be invited to join the prestigious BBB group! Of course, I had to think about it first… for a couple of seconds…
It’s true that there’s something in me that loves to whine and complain and put up the wannaBe (BBBwB) sign. But I must confess that I really really wanted to be a Bread Baking Babe. I’ve always secretly wanted to be a babe. Any kind of babe. I’ve never been a babe before…. I was worried that I’d have to actually get my hair and nails done. And iron my apron too.
How on earth could they be letting me be one of the babes?!
But the Babes magnanimously urged me to join just as I am – a little wrinkled, frizzy hair pulled back with a chopstick, with flour smudges on my shirt.
And then I looked at my first assignment: the recipe for – Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeek! – Laurel Robertson’s Yeasted Sprouted Wheat Bread. Talk about trial by fire! And my immediate response was:
Wait!!! I’ve changed my mind!! I’ve changed my mind!!! I don’t want to be a babe! I’ve NEVER wanted to be a babe!!
They said no. They said the die was cast. They cracked the whip and told me I’d better get started.
Actually, they didn’t do that at all. This is what they really said:
Subject: about your invite ..
Date: Sun, 04 Jul 2010 07:40:31 -0500
Everybody finds it diabolical that you've been invited when we're doing the sprouted wheat recipe. I promise you it wasn't actually done with intent that way.
Even so, I had a distinct picture of seasoned babes fiendishly grinning.
There are four of us who are new babes: me, Astrid, Pat and Susan. I kept waiting for the email telling us that this was like frosh week and that the others were hiding in their kitchens for a week or so before they came bounding out to put us poor new babes out of our misery and tell us that they were just kidding and that the real July recipe was something seasonal like “simple hamburger buns”.
But no. Once again, I was wrong. The babes were serious. They really really intended to make bread without flour. And now that I had unwittingly agreed to be a Babe, they intended for me to make bread without flour too. (This is so great, I can complain almost as much as when I was a BBBwB!!)
I am SUCH an idiot. Did I read the recipe through properly? Of course not. I just knew that I had to sprout wheat first. And of course, because I’m an expert at sprouting (ha) I thought I already knew how to do that. (The only sprouting I’ve done has been with Indiatown seeds in the soil in the little tray at the bottom of my ex-birdfeeder.)
I tried and tried to get those wheat berries we already had to sprout. No go. I was ready to give up. (This bread was beginning to feel a bit too reminiscent of my ultra sour wild yeast bread woes.)
Here’s what I managed to read:
Yeasted Sprouted Wheat Bread – from Laurel’s Kitchen bread book
makes 1 loaf
- 3 cups hard spring wheat berries (1-1/4 lb or 575 g), about 6 cups sprouted
Rinse the grain and cover with tepid water, letting it stand 12 to 18 hours at room temperature. Allow the longer period in cooler weather, the shorter period in warm.
[…eye glaze… fiddlee dee dee, I’ll read the rest later…]
Drain off the liquid, rinse the grain with fresh, tepid water, and store in a dark place with a damp cloth over the top of the container.
Try as I might, even after finally reading and correctly following the instructions, the Indiatown wheat-berries refused to sprout. So, I went out and bought some organic wheat berries from the health food store. There was no label saying “spring” or “winter” but figuring that most of the bread we make uses hard wheat rather than soft, I chose “hard” wheat berries over “soft”. (Rrrrmmmm… can I read??? The recipe very clearly calls for “hard spring wheat berries”. Of course, “hard” was the correct choice.)
As an experiment, I put a few of the expensive new wheat berries into filtered water and left them overnight. The next morning, I was rinsing the organic seeds and putting them into new water and wondering if the little nodules I was seeing were sprouts. I took a look at everyone else’s successful sprouts and thought, “Hey!! Why aren’t theirs floating in water?” (Quel moron I am!!)
And finally, I read the recipe all the way through.
So. I overnight-soaked and DRAINED a few organic wheat kernels and put them in a dish with a dark bowl covering them. I started soaking some more of the Indiatown wheat kernels as well. The Indiatown wheat kernels refused to sprout. The organic wheat berries NEEDED to sprout! T tasted the sprouted wheat and said, “Mmmm, wheaty.” I tasted one and said, “Hmmm, gluey wheat.”
At that point, it was 11 July; the heat wave had broken (thank God!) and it was a much more manageable 27C outdoors. I was pretty sure I just might be able to get a loaf of sprouted bread baked in time for the Babe deadline.
…a few days passed and another heat wave rolled in….
On Tuesday, I took a big gulp, steeled myself and began in earnest by dumping all of the organic wheat berries into a bowl of filtered water to soak. By Tuesday night, the little sprouts were beginning to emerge. To ensure that I wouldn’t get a wet doughy result, I put the sprouted wheat in the fridge as SOON as it started showing sprouts.
I left the sprouted wheat in the fridge overnight and did the mixing, kneading, etc. on Wednesday morning. It took me AGES to do the measuring and mixing. I kept having to re-read the recipe. And reading it again. The same sentences over and over and over. I don’t know why I had so much difficulty retaining what I read. I must have read the stupid thing well over a hundred times. And still, I know that I’d fail miserably if I were tested on the contents of this recipe.
In spite of my inability to read the recipe properly, I was so sure that I would learn from all the others and make a presentable loaf. Alas. I think I may have played just a little too fast and loose with the measurements. I made a third of the recipe because, of course, I was having reading problems and imagined that the full recipe made two or three loaves.
Like the other babes, I too saw gluten strands when I was using the food processor. But I was so afraid of over-kneading – I never use a machine for making bread – ever since I broke the shaft on our food processor when using it to mix slack dough. (Don’t ask. Suffice it to say that that particular bread cost around $35. Okay okay: if you really want the sordid details…). Anyway, this sprouted wheat dough was always pretty wet and sticky. I allowed it to rise twice before shaping it – hoping that it might turn into regular looking dough if it was left to its own devices. The dough never really became smooth.
I baked it free-form – starting it on well oiled parchment paper (thank you, Susan, for the tip) in a pie plate and then moving it directly onto the stone. I baked this little tiny loaf for 40 minutes and STILL it appears that it’s not really done inside. Of course, I THOUGHT it was done. Even though it was heavy as anything when I hauled it out of the oven, it sounded hollow when I knocked on the bottom.
It didn’t help that it’s pukingly hot again here so I was NOT popular for turning on the big oven for so long in the evening.
So. We sawed into the bread and tried it yesterday morning. Pretty terrible as is on its own. It clearly wasn’t done in the center. So we thought there might be improvement if it were cooked some more.
We sawed off a little more and toasted some slices and… son of a gun… not bad. Not bad at all. T said, “Mmmm, it’s like warm cereal.”
I’m so relieved that we won’t have to throw any of it away. I think it will be really good thinly thinly sliced, toasted and then slathered with butter, goat’s cheese and apricot jam.
While the bread is definitely brick-like (but not at all like the discus I made with one of my wild yeast attempts), we will finish eating it though. I made cheese snacks for yesterday’s lunch with it – thinly sliced and toasted first, then I put cheddar cheese, left-over stir-fried chard and left-over chili con carne on top and stuck the slices in the toaster oven to melt the cheese. I have to say that lunch was brilliant. (But not brilliant enough to go through the ordeal of making the bread again.)
In spite of the possibility that with proper baking time, it might be turned into good bread, I’m not going to make this again. It’s way too labour intensive. And I really prefer to make bread by hand rather than use a machine. That being said, in the end, it was a fun adventure. I’m so glad I said yes to the invitation. (As if I’d have said no! I get to say I’m a Babe now!!) But if I weren’t a babe, I would NEVER have done the buddy-version of this.
But don’t let my inability to read properly stop you from trying this yourself. Just make sure that you check first that your wheat will sprout before you start.
Here’s the recipe we were to have followed.
And here are the quantities I used to make one really really small dense disc:
Sprouted Wheat Flourless Bread
based on “Yeasted Sprouted Wheat Bread ” in Laurel’s Kitchen bread book by Laurel Robertson
- 1¼ c organic hard wheat berries (to produce about 2½ c sprouted wheat)
- ¼ scant tsp active dry yeast
- 2 tsp lukewarm water
- 2/3 tsp seasalt
- 1 tsp honey
- At least two days before you are going to bake the bread, rinse the wheat and cover with water. (I used filtered tap water.) Set aside at room temperature overnight.
- The next morning drain the wheat, rinse and place in a pyrex bowl. Cover the bowl with an opaque plate (the wheat is supposed to be in the dark) and wait til the wheat begins to sprout and is chewable (taste one – wheaty, isn’t it?) Rinse and drain every 12 hours. As soon as a tiny sprout is just starting to show, put the bowl in the fridge overnight.
- The next morning, read the instructions several times through, then rehydrate the yeast in the small amount of water.
- Put about 2 cups of sprouted wheat into your food processor. Add a third the amount of salt, a third the amount of honey and a third the amount of yeasted water. Process until the wheat starts to come together. Push the wheat down from the sides of the bowl and process a bit more. If it starts to fall apart, stop processing. Remove from the bowl and repeat with the remaining sprouted wheat and other ingredients. Knead the dough together into a ball. Note: the dough is sticky and wet. Wet your hands to stop it from gumming and glamming onto and between your fingers.
- Proofing: Put the dough into a clean dry bowl, cover and allow to rise in a non-drafty area at room temperature (or in the cold oven with only the light turned on) until the dough has doubled. Because the kitchen was ridiculously warm, it took no time for this to happen. A good way to tell if the dough has doubled is to dip your finger in cold water and poke a hole in the top of the dough. If the hole fills up, it hasn’t risen enough. If there is a whoosh of air and the dough deflates a little, it has risen too much. If the hole stays in exactly the same configuration and the dough remains otherwise intact, it is ju-u-st right.
- Press the dough flat, then reshape into a ball. Put it back in the bowl, cover and allow to rise again.
- Shaping: Form the dough into a ball and place in a pie plate on a well oiled piece of parchment. Cover and allow to rise to double. (To tell if it has doubled, gently press on the side of the loaf. The indentation should slowly return.)
- Baking: Bake the bread at 375F for a total of 50 to 60 minutes. Turn it around at least once during the baking to allow for uneven heat in the oven. Because the bread is so wet, take it out of the pan half way through baking and place it directly on your stone (or oven rack) for the remainder of the time.
Allow to cool completely (it’s still baking when it’s hot out of the oven) before sawing into thin thin slices for toast.
:: Tap water is fine to use – just make sure that it has stood for at least 12 hours so that the chlorine has dissipated. Under no circumstances should you use water from the hot water tap. Of course, saying that it is unsafe to use water from the hot water tap might be an urban myth, but why tempt fate? Heat the water in a kettle or microwave and add cold water until it is the correct temperature, (use the baby bottle test on the back of your wrist – your fingers have no idea of temperature!) Or you can use a thermometer. The temperature should be BELOW 120F because yeast begins to die when the temperature is higher than 120F.
:: Get organic wheat berries. The wheat berries that I had on hand from Indiatown have been treated in some way to STOP them from sprouting.
Did I remember to say thank you ?! I really would be remiss if I didn’t thank the Babes for inviting me to join their prestigious group. I really couldn’t be more excited to be included. Many many thanks! (Now excuse me, while I go to find my hair brush.)
Lynn (Cookie baker lynn) is the host of July 2010’s Bread Baking Babes’ task. She wrote:
Tuesday, 1 June 2010
In July we’re going to tackle making bread straight from the grain. Sprouted Wheat Bread. It makes me feel a bit like a hippie, but I’m excited to try it. This recipe is from Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book. […]
If you’d like to bake along (and I think you do!!) and receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site, bake the sprouted wheat bread and post it before the 25 July 2010.
And while you’re sprouting your wheat, please wander through your bread books and recipes. The babes’ anniversary is coming up in February and we have decided we’d like you to pick the Anniversary Bread recipe for February 2011. You have until November to think about it. In November, we’ll remind you to mail us the recipe that you love the most or the recipe that scares you the most. We’re have more details in the coming months.
For complete details about the BBB and how to become a BBB, please go to:
- Kitchen of the month: Cookie Baker Lynn:
:: July 2010 recipe Yeasted Sprouted Wheat Bread from The Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book by Laurel Robertson
- BBB guidelines
- about the BBBabes
Please take a look at the other Babes’ results:
- Astrid, PaulChen’s FoodBlog: Yeasted Sprouted Wheat Bread
- Elizabeth, blog from OUR kitchen: Sprouted Wheat Flourless Bread (BBB July 2010)
- Görel, Grain Doe: The Babes are Sprouting and Growing!
- Ilva, Lucullian Delights
- Karen, Bake My Day: Bread Baking Babes bake without flour. Huh?
- Lien, Notitie van Lien: BBBabes bake without flour!
- Katie, Thyme for Cooking: The Bread Baking Babes are Sprouting
- Lynn, Cookie Baker Lynn (Kitchen of the Month) Bun out of the Oven
- Natashya, Living In The Kitchen With Puppies: The Babes Get Sprouting
- Pat (aka Elle), Feeding My Enthusiasms: Bread Baking Babes Boot Camp
- Tanna, My Kitchen in Half Cups: No Flour allowed! BBB Yeasted Sprouted Wheat Berry Bread
- Susan, WildYeast: Look Mom, no flour!
Each week, Susan (Wild Yeast) compiles a list of many bread-specific recipes from across the web. For complete details on how to be included in the YeastSpotting round up, please read the following: