As Kitchen of the Month I welcome you to the BBB Sandbox for Granary Loaf.
I always dreaded those essay exams at university and in graduate school. Gad, you really had to know your stuff. Written was awful: you had to know it, organize it in your head and get in down on paper. Then in graduate school you had to be able to write it AND talk it. Now, contrast that with how things work in the sandbox. In our sandbox, the kids (that would be the BBBs and now you) all come together to “play”. When kids play in a sandbox, they have fun, they experiment and they learn. That learning can some times move into unexpected areas.
How did I come across Granary Bread? A friend in Seattle showed me a bread book she’d gotten for Christmas and I came across Granary Bread. I looked at several recipes for Granary Bread on the internet and settled on a trusted source, King Arthur. But this bread sandbox is not so much about the recipe as about playing with a concept with creativity, independence all the while sharing and inciting discovery … even if that discovery takes us into the past where we learn again: there really is very little new under the sun.
In the Granary Loaf, I felt I’d found a classic, simple, conservative recipe with a potentially unobtainable ingredient for most of us: Granary flour is a proprietary blend not available unless you are in England or order it from them. Since we can’t get that special blend, that would require us to play together and come up with ideas that would allow us to create a Granary Style Loaf.
Along the way I explored barley extract, malting process (requires sprouting and drying the grain), malt (diastatic and non) and baking undercover. I don’t feel comfortable putting up all that I scanned from Elizabeth David’s book but if you are interested I can e-mail you some copy if you don’t have the book and would like to read some of it. King Arthur is an excellent source to read up on malt extract as well.
When I started playing in this sandbox, I figured I would not be able to find the proprietary flour the Brit’s have. I was thinking whole grain flours. Sprouted would be a plus. Toasting whatever “wheat flakes” would add some extra flavor in the neighborhood of malted. I think if wheat flakes can’t be found, I’d try oatmeal. Think whole grain and malty undertones.
Almost immediately Heather came up with “I just ordered the flour from Amazon.” Then I had to too … but coming from across the pond gave it a delivery date of March 12 … unless you were willing to pay some $70 to expedite delivery!
Mine came on the 12th and I baked using it on the 13. I followed the directions on the label substituting only potato water for the water and adding in 30 grams of flax meal. The Hovis flour was my second play in the SandBox.
Use your imagination. Remember when you were little and made mud pies. We’re playing around here.
Update Sunday night 15 March: King Arthur has what looks like a sort of updated/more recent Granary style loaf called Malted Wheat Flake Bread that I’m going to be starting tonight. I very much like that it soaks grains overnight.
Authentic is not the goal, good tasty bread is. I leave it to you: loaf or rolls.
Just so not to leave you hanging, Elizabeth David in her “English Bread and Yeast Cookery” was writing about “baking bread undercover” in 1977. She had “discovered” the idea from talking with and reading baker’s from the 1920’s. Now, what does “baking undercover” make you think of? Well, it makes me think about the first time I came across it was when Karen & I turned up baking (after midnight) the New York Times recipe put up by Mark Bittman from Jim Lahey in 2006. Cast iron pot heated very hot and a lid put on it. I thought that was revolutionary. Turns out, not really that new under this sun.
Recipe from King Arthur
Yield: 2 loaves
2 cups lukewarm water
1 to 2 tablespoons barley malt extract
1 cup malted wheat flakes
2 cups King Arthur 100% White Whole Wheat Flour
1 scant tablespoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
3 to 4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose or Unbleached Special Bread Flour*
1. Pour the 2 cups of water into a mixing bowl. Stir in the barley malt, wheat flakes and white wheat flour. Mix in the yeast, and allow this sponge to work for 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Stir in the butter or oil, salt, and about 2 1/2 cups of the all-purpose or bread flour. Add flour slowly until you have a shaggy mass hat begins to hold together and pull away from the sides of the bowl.
*You’ll use less flour if you use Special(meaning bread flour) instead of all-purpose, due to its higher absorption capacity.”
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured or lightly greased work surface, and knead until it’s cohesive. Give it a rest while you clean out and lightly oil your bowl. Continue kneading for several minutes, adding only enough flour (or oil) to keep the dough from sticking to you or the work surface.
4. Return the dough to the bowl, turning to coat all sides, cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap, and let the dough rise until it’s double din bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. Gently deflate the dough, cut it in half, and shape each half into a log. Place the logs in two lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch bread pans. Allow the loaves to rise, covered, until they’re about three-quarters of the way to doubled.
5. Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf registers 190°F. Remove the bread from the oven, remove it from the pans, and transfer it to a wire rack to cool.
First Sand Box Play:
I cut the recipe in half because I wanted to bake again soon with different ingredients.
1 c water (260 g)
1 T barley malt extract became 8 grams brown sugar
1/2 c malted wheat flakes (from King Arthur)
30 grams golden flax meal
1 c white whole wheat became 75 grams sprouted wheat and 75 grams white whole whole
1/2 T yeast
1 T butter
1/2 t salt used 2 grams
150 grams bread flour
used about 1/3 cup more bread flour kneading
Mixed water, br sugar, wheat flakes, white whole wheat and sprouted wheat; allowed to sit 1 hour
Whisked yeast, salt, flax meal and bread flour.
And baked following KA recipe.
Gorn & I both found these two loaves to be excellent. Good as toast; great for a sandwich. A background whisper of malt … sweetness … but just right. The Hovis Granary flour made an excellent loaf but I think there was not a substantial difference from the King Arthur recipe when I baked the two.
I do hope you’ll want to play in the sandbox with us, maybe you will find something new under the sun that we’ve missed.
*** To be a bread baking buddy, post your bread (on your blog, on our FaceBook group, or send me a photo and comment on the bread). In order to receive a BBBuddy Badge and appear in my round-up post at the end of this month you MUST e-mail me at comments my kitchen at mac dot com – you know no spaces and the @ sign – AND use BBB or SandBox on the subject line.
It’s not a fancy shape, just super good bread. See you in the SandBox!