Sunday, January 25, 2009

Rye Bread with Raisins and Rosemary

The combination of rye, whole wheat, bread flour, and cornmeal gives this Raisin-Rosemary Rye Bread a very good texture and shape. The bread also has a very unique and satisfying flavor. It tastes a little sweet from the raisins and has a wonderful aroma from the rosemary. Very interesting indeed!

Raisin-Rosemary Rye Bread

The recipe for this flavorful and unique bread is from Wine, Food & Friends by Karen MacNeil.

Makes: 1 loaf
Yield: 20 servings (serving size: 1 slice)


  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (100° to 110° )
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 1/3 cups bread flour, divided
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 1/3 cup nonfat dry milk
  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried rosemary
  • Cooking spray


Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water in a large bowl, let stand 5 minutes. Stir in oil.

Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups, level with a knife. Combine 2 cups bread flour, whole wheat flour, and next 5 ingredients in a bowl.  Add flour mixture to yeast mixture.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes); add enough of the remaining bread flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands.

Knead in raisins, walnuts, and rosemary.

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85° ), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

(Gently press two fingers into dough. If the indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)

Punch dough down; cover and let rest 10 minutes. Form dough into a ball; place in a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 400°F . Uncover dough.  Score top of loaf.


Bake at 400° for 50 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped.  Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.

To serve bread, cut loaf in half crosswise. Place cut sides down, and cut each half into slices.
  This bread is very good. It smells wonderful and it tastes very interesting.

Happy Baking!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

This whole wheat bread is made with a sourdough starter. Working with starters is fun! First, you make a sponge of whole wheat flour, water and a cup of sourdough starter. The sponge bubbles and foams for 24 hours, then you mix it with the dough to form a loaf of whole wheat bread.

The bread takes a couple of days to make because you need to feed your starter and let it sit several hours. Then you create the sponge with the starter and let the sponge sit overnight before making the bread. It's not complicated, all it takes is a little bit of planning.

Sourdough Whole Wheat Bread
Makes: 2 loaves
Recipe from Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads

Preparing the starter for use in the recipe:

The starter I used in this recipe was created in 1847 on the Oregon Trail. A few years ago, you could visit for more information and request a dried sourdough start from Carl Griffith's 1847 Oregon Trail Sourdough Starter; however, I think the site has since been taken down.

I received my dry start this past summer and started reviving it in August. It's been developing in my refrigerator ever since. This is actually the first time I've used this starter. I usually have at least three starters going at any one time in my refrigerator. I just have to remember to feed them.

To prepare the starter for use in this recipe, a couple of days ago, I discarded 1 cup of starter and fed the remaining starter with 1 cup of all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup of water. I covered the mixture and let it sit overnight.

I used the amount called for in the recipe and then fed the starter again with 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water and put it back in the refrigerator for use next time (or the next feeding whichever comes first).



  • 1 cup starter of choice
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (105° - 115°)
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour

  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 to 4 cups whole wheat flour (I'm using freshly milled whole wheat flour from hard red spring wheat, but you can use any whole wheat flour.)
  • 1 cup bread or all-purpose flour, approximately
  • extra water for hydrating


Preparation: 8-10 hours or overnight

To make the sponge, the night before mix the starter, water, and flour in a mixer or mixing bowl. Cover with a length of plastic wrap and put in a warm place (80° - 85°) for 8 to 10 hours, or overnight. The sponge will bubble and foam and rise to double it's original volume.

Mixing: 20 minutes

To make the dough, stir down the sponge, and sprinkle yeast over the surface of the mixture. Add the salt. Using a mixer, attach the flat beater, and measure in the whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup at a time. Mix for 2 minutes at medium speed.
When all of the whole wheat flour has been mixed in, let the dough rest for 8 to 10 minutes while the flour completely absorbs the moisture.

Attach the mixer dough hook and mix in the white flour, 1/4 cup at a time, to make a soft dough that forms a rough mass.

The ball will be somewhat sticky because of the large volume of whole wheat flour.

I added more water at this point before continuing because the dough mass was not sticky it was too dry and needed to be hydrated.

Kneading: 10 minutes

Add white flour, a tablespoon at a time so that a soft ball forms around the revolving arm. Knead by hand or with the dough hook until the dough is soft and elastic. 10 minutes. If it persists sticking, sprinkle on additional small portions of white flour.

Resting: 15 minutes

Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a towel and let rest on the work surface for 15 minutes.

Shaping: 10 minutes

Push the dough down and knead for 30 seconds to press out the bubbles.

With a sharp knife or bench knife, divide the dough into two pieces. Shape into balls, and let rest for 3 to 4 minutes.

Form each loaf by pressing a ball of dough into a flat oval, roughly the length of the baking pan.

Fold the oval in half, pinch the seam tightly to seal, tuck under the ends, and place in the pan, seam down.

Rising: 2 hours

Place the pans in a warm place, cover with wax paper, and leave until the center of the dough has risen to the level or slightly above the edge of the pan, 2 hours.

My loaves did not rise to the top because I used bigger pans than the recipe called for. I used the 9 x 5 pans rather than the 8 1/2 x 4 pans. The bread bakes more evenly in these pans, that's why I'm using them.

Baking:  Preheat the oven to 425° 20 minutes before baking.

Slit the top of each loaf lengthwise with a stroke of a razor blade or sharp knife.

Brush with water, and bake in the hot oven for 20 minutes. Brush the loaves again with water, reduce the heat to 350°, and continue baking for an additional 35 minutes, or until the loaves are browned and test done when tapped on the bottom with the forefinger.

I spritzed my loaves (and the inside of the oven) with water several times during the first 15 minutes of baking to get the hearth-baked effect.

Midway during the baking period and again near the end of it, shift the pans in the oven so they are exposed equally to its temperature variations.

Place bread on a metal rack to cool.


Here is the baked and cooled loaf of bread. Enjoy!

I'm not a big fan of really sour, sourdough bread. I tried a piece and this may be a little too sour for me.  However, it does taste good warm with butter. My son said it was too sour for him, but he did like when I warmed it and spread it with butter.

1/20/09 update: This bread seems to mellow with age. It's been sitting on my kitchen counter for a couple of days and I just tried a warm slice with butter. It tastes really good. Not too sour... just right. I guess all it needed was a little time.

Happy Baking!


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Whole Wheat Walnut Bread

These 100% whole wheat loaves are moist, open-textured, and rich with nuts. This bread goes well with any meal or occasion but is especially good for breakfast or brunch.

The recipe for this walnut wheat bread is from Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads. This cookbook is becoming one of my favorites. I love the way Mr. Clayton writes and the descriptions he provides for the breads and the people behind the recipes. The book is very easy to use and is filled with wonderful bread recipes.

I'm using freshly
milled whole wheat flour from hard red spring wheat to make these loaves. They should taste a little sweeter than store-bought whole wheat bread.

Walnut Wheat Bread Recipe
Makes: 2 loaves (8 1/2" x 4 1/2")
Source: Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads.


  • 5 to 6 cups whole-wheat flour; approximately
  • (I used about 5 1/2 cups of freshly milled whole wheat flour from hard red spring wheat)
  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
  • 2 1/4 cups hot water (120° - 130°)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped English walnuts



Grease 2 medium loaf pans. In a large mixing bowl measure 3 cups whole-wheat flour, the yeast, salt, and dry milk.  Stir to blend.  Pour in the hot water and add the honey and butter.

Stir the thick batter like dough vigorously 75 strokes with a wooden spoon or under a mixer flat beater.  Add 1 cup whole-wheat flour, working it into the batter with a spoon or the beater. Add the balance of the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the batter forms a moist and sticky mass. (More flour will be added momentarily.)

Let the dough rest for 4 or 5 minutes to allow the wheat particles to absorb their full quota of moisture. Replace the flat beater with a dough hook. Continue adding flour, a small portion at a time, until the dough is a shaggy mass that can be lifted out of the bowl onto the work surface -- or left in the mixer bowl to work with the dough hook.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead with a strong push-turn-fold motion for about 8 minutes, or until the dough is soft, elastic, and feels alive under your hands. Or knead for 8 minutes in the bowl with a dough hook.

Place the dough in a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and leave at room temperature until it has doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. It will be puffy.

Turn back the plastic wrap, punch down the dough, and transfer it to the work surface. Flatten the dough into a large oval and place the walnuts in the center.

Fold in the sides to enclose the nuts.

Knead them into the dough. This will take about 5 minutes. Let the dough rest for a few minutes before shaping the loaves.

Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Press each piece into an oval.

Fold in half lengthwise, pinch seem closed, and drop into the pan, seam side down. Cover the pans with wax paper and let rise until approximately doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375°F about 20 minutes before baking. Bake the loaves in the moderately hot oven for 45 minutes. The loaves will be a deep brown and will pull away from the sides of the pan when done. They can also be tested with a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf. If it comes out dry, the bread is down. Remove the bread from the oven and turn the loaves onto a wire rack to cool before serving.

The bread keeps well in a plastic bag for at least a fortnight. This bread tastes great warmed or toasted with butter.

Today is my mom's birthday so I'm bringing over one of the walnut wheat loaves for lunch. She's supposed to be eating heart healthy foods so this bread fits the bill. I'm also bringing some homemade vegetable soup. This should go well with it. I can't wait!

Happy Baking!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Rustic Cracked Wheat Bread

This rustic cracked wheat bread is very easy and tasty.  The mixture of cracked wheat, whole wheat and bread flour makes it very nutritious. The dough can be mixed and kneaded in a stand mixer or a bread machine, but it should be baked in the oven.

I got a stand mixer for Christmas so I've been having lot's of fun with it. I love to bake bread the conventional way (by hand), but the mixer sure does help especially when you're a little tired but you still want homemade bread. I found that the stand mixer is perfect for this recipe. It handles the wet dough very nicely and you can let the dough rise right in the bowl. Perfect!

Cracked Wheat Bread Recipe
Makes: 1 large loaf
The recipe is from A Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman.

The cracked wheat (also known as kasha or bulgur wheat) is added to make a moist, and flavor-packed rustic bread.

  • 1/2 cup cracked wheat or bulgur wheat
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (100°F to 110°F)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups stoneground whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 to 2 cups, or as required, white bread flour
  • Cracked wheat, cornmeal, and bran, for dusting counter


In a medium bowl, cover cracked wheat with boiling water and let stand 20 minutes.

Whisk the warm water and yeast together  in the mixing bowl and let stand 2 to 3 minutes to dissolve yeast. Add whole wheat flour, honey, salt, and soaked bulgur and mix well.

Add most of the white bread flour and then knead with dough hook on lowest speed of mixer, adding more white flour as required to make a soft dough, kneading on low speed 6 to 8 minutes.

Remove dough hook, spray dough with nonstick cooking spray, and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until almost doubled, 45 to 60 minutes.

Generously dust a work surface with cracked wheat, cornmeal, and bran.
Gently deflate the dough and roll it into a large ball.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Shape it into a tight ball (or a loaf shape). Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let it rise 30 to 45 minutes. 

Bake until done, 35 to 45 minutes.  Cool the loaf on a wire rack.

This bread looked so good, I couldn't wait for it to cool completely to have a slice. Believe me, this bread is as good as it looks.  I asked my son if he wanted to test what I had been making and he said "sure." When he took a bite, his eyes lit up. He said "this is really good" and ate the whole piece. If you're like me and have picky teenagers in your house, you just might find that they actually like this bread.

I took the bread over to my friend's house. Needless to say "he liked it!" This is all that was left when I came home with it.

Happy Baking!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread

I decided to do a test bread today. I made whole wheat pumpkin bread by adapting one of my favorite white flour pumpkin bread recipes - Spiced Pumpkin Nut Bread. It is a very moist loaf with a delicate spice flavor.

The process actually began in November. I had several big pumpkins for fall decorations and I couldn't bring myself to throw them away especially given the current economic times. I would've kept the pumpkins out as decorations but I decided it would look funny to have pumpkins mixed in with the snowman display on my hearth.

So after Thanksgiving, I cut the pumpkins into big chunks and roasted them on a baking sheet until the meaty part was soft and the outside just peeled off. Then I pureed the pieces in the blender and added spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger) and sweetened the pumpkin to taste. I froze most of the pumpkin mixture but kept enough for a couple of batches of bread. Now that the busy Holiday season is over, I actually had time to make the bread.

I created my whole wheat pumpkin bread recipe by adapting the Nestle Spiced Pumpkin Nut Bread recipe. The original recipe calls for a can of pumpkin and 4 cups of all-purpose flour. I used 2 cups of whole wheat flour (that I ground in my
grain mill from hard red spring wheat) and 2 cups of all-purpose. I also used 2 cups of pumpkin that I had roasted and pureed. I must say that I really like the end result. My taste tester liked it as well.

Spiced Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread
Makes: 2 loaves


  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (I used freshly milled whole wheat flour)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups pumpkin roasted, pureed and spiced (or 1 can (15 oz.) pure pumpkin)*
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped nuts, divided (optional)

Note: I use roasted pumpkin puree and added additional spices to the roasted pumpkin mixture before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients to give it a burst of flavor. I've tried making the bread without adding additional spices and sugar to the roasted pumpkin mixture and just using the spices called for in the recipe but the bread tasted rather flat. It didn't taste bad, but it wasn't great.


Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans. Sift flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt into medium bowl. Combine pumpkin, sugar, juice, eggs, oil and vanilla extract in large bowl; stir well. Stir in flour mixture and 3/4 cup nuts just until moistened. (I left the nuts out this time since this was a test. I didn't want to waste them if the bread didn't turn out good.)

Spoon into prepared loaf pans. Sprinkle remaining nuts over top of loaves. Eventhough I omitted the nuts, it still tasted really good.

Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

I was very pleased with the results. Next time, I'll probably add even more spices to give it more flavor, but I liked this version.

Happy Baking!

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