Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bread With a Real Job

You know how there's all this talk about "functional foods" or nutraceuticals these days, right? I'm not talking about the natural, whole foods that are already full of benefits, like the eye-protecting lutein in spinach or the cancer-fighting lycopene available en masse in cooked tomatoes - I'm talking about the kind of things that fall under the "sneaky" category. Like how all of a sudden there's now 2 grams of fibre in every pot of one yogurt, or mac and cheese made with cauliflower, or now you can have a bowl of sugar-laden cereal (with 3 grams of fibre, mind you!), top it off with a cup of similarly fortified milk and clock in with a total of 7 grams of fibre for breakfast!

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but when did milk and yogurt become fibre-rich food sources? And cereal and pasta, provided you're choosing "whole grain" options - well they do provide nutrients, but when you get into the nitty-gritty there is nothing redeeming in a box of Froot Loops. But everything seems to be fortified these days, not just with fibre but with Omega-3's, soy protein, bacteria of all kinds and sterols, and it's beginning to look like a losing battle at the grocery store. So what can we do? Well, make the best choices we can, according to the needs of our lifestyles. It's one thing to eschew the probiotic / inulin fibre-packed / vitamin enriched stuff if you normally eat a diet full of their natural sources, have the time to prepare the whole foods and have a family that will eat them (the constant battle), but if you're not so blessed... pick your battles. If you use one or two "cheat" sources of whatever you need in order to keep a balanced diet, all the power to you, but if your entire diet is labelled "Smart", "Super" and "Invisible"... what are you really eating?

So while I know not everyone out there has the time or inclination to make bread each week for their families, or the roasted berries (perfect on any cereal, by the way) or even the granola I made from Michael Ruhlman's recipe, I encourage everyone to at least cook for their families. Get back to a few things your mom made from scratch - they don't have to be hard or long processes - and relish what you've created.

This loaf is not only functional in it's ingredients, from strawberries to oats, wheat germ and flaxseed, but it also does a "job" of it's own - the berries that aren't completely oven dried form a type of "jam" ribboning through the bread, and the granola that's crammed into every available space gives every slice the equivalent of your own bowl of cereal!

I'm submitting this to Susan's YeastSpotting event this week at WildYeast.

Omega Fibre Bread with Roasted Strawberries
Makes 1 loaf, 16 slices
8.1 oz (230 grams) strawberries, cut into pieces, divided
1/2 tbsp instant yeast
3 cups whole wheat bread flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup psyllium fibre husks
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
3 tbsp whole flaxseed
2 tbsp instant mashed potato flakes (optional, makes for tender crumb)
1/2 tbsp salt
1 cup low-fat soy (or dairy) milk, warmed
1 cup warm water
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup (41 grams) strawberry-banana granola

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 and line two baking sheets with parchment.
  2. Spread 2/3 of the berry pieces on one sheet and 1/3 on the other, keeping pieces in one layer.
  3. Bake 35 minutes, then remove the sheet with the lesser amount of berries on it and rotate the other sheet.
  4. Continue baking for another 15-20 minutes, until withered and slightly dried out. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl whisk together the yeast, flour, oats, wheat germ, psyllium fibre, ground flaxseed, whole flaxseed, potato flakes and salt.
  6. In another bowl combine the milk, water and brown sugar, stirring to dissolve.
  7. Add to the flour mixture and stir in to moisten, then add egg and beat well for 5 minutes.
  8. Add olive oil and knead for 15-18 minutes, until elastic.
  9. Cover and allow to rest 30 minutes.
  10. Knead in the granola and roasted strawberries, trying to evenly disperse them throughout the dough. It will look like an impossible task, but they do all fit!
  11. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
  12. Shape into a loaf and place into a greased loaf pan.
  13. Cover and allow to rise until almost doubled, about 1 hour.
  14. Preheat oven to 350F.
  15. Bake loaf for 40-45 minutes, tenting with foil if the top browns too quickly.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 177.0
Total Fat: 3.8 g
Cholesterol: 13.3 mg
Sodium: 70.8 mg
Total Carbs: 33.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 6.0 g
Protein: 6.2 g

1 comment :

Mimi said...

You are preaching to the choir on this one but I think you said it better than I try to.

Thanks for another lovely bread recipe!