Friday, December 12, 2008

A Lucky Loaf

This past week, I could have used all the luck I could get (and boy, I had a good run there! Check out my 2nd place recipe here on Yahoo, or here on my blog!). But now exams are over, and I have a nice loooong stretch of vay-cay to enjoy. I'm not kidding either... I have a full month off! Hey, who said college was a bad thing? I haven't had to think yet! I said think, not work... I need the break (don't we all!).

One of the things I did do while avoiding the inevitable study sessions was bake, and I believe bread is a prime candidate for any stressed out student! Think about it... you get to beat the snot out of something for a good long while (the longer the better, usually!) and in the end you wind up with a delicious, endorphin-releasing block of carbs that smells up your house something awesome. Even better is that you can control the quality of your home-made loaf, so you can make a "body temple" type of loaf full of whole grains and seeds or (if you're feeling devilish) you can make a butter-packed, sugar-swirled brioche begging for a smear of peanut butter or Nutella.

For me, I wanted something different. Something wholesome, yet still tasty, that would be at home as a sandwich or plain toast. Better yet, I wanted something that would keep me and my family going for the rest of the week without leaving us with the guilt typical of post-Christmas life. What I began to develop (starting from this recipe by Alicia) was a protein and fibre-rich, high-rising loaf with a buttery flavour not reminiscent of the secret ingredient at all - even my mom didn't know what it was (until I let the cat out of the bag... d'oh! She still ate 1/2 the loaf though...). Go figure - it's not even Christmas (though More than Words is keeping track! 13 days? Eek!) and I'm already using the lucky New Year's food - black eyed peas - in my recipes! Who knows, maybe we'll all be in for a set of lucky stars this year?

The tradition of black eyed peas (they're actually a kind of lentil... I didn't know that!) as "lucky food" dates back to the U.S. Civil War, when Southern soldiers were able to live off of them during seiges from the North. Seen as animal fodder, they weren't deliberately destroyed and even prospered! When they're eaten with greens, the dish is symbolic of prosperity (from the swelling of the beans) and money (the green leaves).

Though this bread is devoid of greenity (unlike the last loaf I made!), it does have colour - I used yellow cornmeal in the dough which added a great texture and crunch as well as a rich "southern" flavour, and the touch of molasses-y dark brown sugar lent a bit of interest to the mix. I highly reccomend this as a school day sandwich bread or a breakfast side with some good jam! Check out YeastSpotting this week for the roundup of other good bready things!

Black-Eyed Bread
14 Slices
1/4 cup warm water
1 tbsp dry active yeast
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
3/4 cup boiling water
1 tbsp instant nonfat milk powder
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 cup cooked black-eyed peas, pureed
3 cups flour
  1. In a large bowl, combine 1/4 cup warm water, yeast and sugar. Let stand 10 minutes, until foamy.
  2. Combine remaining water, milk powder, oil, salt and cornmeal. Let stand 10 minutes to cool slightly.
  3. Add the cornmeal mixture to the proofed yeast, followed by the bean puree. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Begin beating in the flour, one cup at a time. Dough will be very soft and slightly sticky, but do not add more flour! More flour = heavy brick bread... not yummy!
  5. Knead about 5 minutes by mixer or 10 minutes by hand on a lightly floured board.
  6. Place in greased bowl, turning to coat well with oil.
  7. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size (about 1 1/2 hours).
  8. Punch down and place in a lightly greased pan. Cover and let rise 1 hour.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 168.5
Total Fat: 1.8 g
Cholesterol: 0.1 mg
Sodium: 8.2 mg
Total Carbs: 33.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.2 g
Protein: 4.4 g

5 comments :

ttfn300 said...

i had no idea that they were a lentil!! crazy talk! enjoy the vacation :)

DaviMack said...

Sounds yummy! What shall you do with all that vacation? ;)

Vegetation said...

Wow, the idea of black eye pea's in a loaf of bread is intriguing me. It looks yummy!

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

Thanks for the info about black-eyed peas. Great loaf!

Mary said...

A surprising and totally different loaf with an unexpected ingredient. I never would have guessed.