Monday, January 7, 2013

Cracked Wheat Bread, Two Ways

We're finally getting back into the "swing" of things after all the holiday hubbub, and one of the first things my mom asked for me to make when she went back to work was some hearty whole grain bread to go with the "leftovers" soup I made from the turkey carcass (hope to get that one up this week!). I turned to one of my favourite "bread books", Prairie Home Breads: 150 Splendid Recipes from America's Breadbasket by Judith Fertig and found the perfect candidate - Cracked Wheat Bread. 

Whenever I think of cracked wheat, I think of my grandma's stories of eating it with breakfast. It's a hearty, wholesome and cheap porridge, that just so happens to be great in bread too! When shopping, I picked up some, trying to remember what the recipe said, but didn't get enough. Hm... do I make half the recipe? Nah - not when I had some other grains to play with! I wound up using up the cracked wheat, some 12 grain hot cereal and a handful of bulghur (pre-cooked, cracked wheat), and the combination worked perfectly! 

Cracked Wheat Bread

Like I said, the recipe makes two loaves. Well, I wasn't content with leaving the dough well enough alone, not when it was such a wonderful blank canvas! So, I divided the lot in half after the first rise and while one half went on it's merry way to becoming a nice wholegrain sandwich bread, I brought out the mix ins for the rest of the batch. I didn't go too crazy though - just sunflower and pumpkin seeds for crunch and a handful of soaked raisins for sweet pops of moisture. While my mom liked both, I know her well enough to spot the "redux" loaf disappearing a little faster than the plain Jane one. Take your pick, or toss in your own favourites! You can't go wrong... unless you really try!

Cracked Wheat Redux
Sending these loaves to YeastSpotting at Wild Yeast.

Cracked Wheat Bread, Two Ways
Adapted from Prairie Home Breads: 150 Splendid Recipes from America's Breadbasket by Judith Fertig.
Makes 2 loaves, 18 slices each
1 1/2 cups cracked wheat or bulgur
1/4 cup 12 grain cereal
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 2/3 cups boiling water
4 cups whole wheat bread flour
2 cups flour
2 tbsp instant yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 tbsp softened butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt

Redux (for 1 loaf)
3/4 cup dark raisins, soaked in hot water and drained
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the cracked wheat, 12 grain cereal, honey, brown sugar and boiling water. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight.
  2. In a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook) whisk together the flours and yeast.
  3. Add the warm water and begin mixing on low speed to combine the ingredients, then add the soaked mixture and mix in to form a dough.
  4. Add the butter, oil and salt.
  5. Knead on medium-low speed for 15 minutes.
  6. Cover and let rest 45 minutes.
  7. Punch down and knead briefly, then shape into two loaves and place in greased loaf pans.
  8. Cover lightly and let rise 1 hour.
  9. Preheat oven to 350F.
  10. Bake loaves 1 hour, rotating pans halfway through and tenting with foil if necessary.
For "Redux" Loaf:
  • If desired, knead raisins, sunflower and pumpkin seeds into half the dough after the first rise. Continue as usual.

Amount Per Serving (plain loaf)
Calories: 120.0
Total Fat: 1.2 g
Cholesterol: 0.8 mg
Sodium: 37.7 mg
Total Carbs: 26.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.0 g
Protein: 3.6 g

Amount Per Serving ("redux" loaf)
Calories: 136.1
Total Fat: 1.7 g
Cholesterol: 0.8 mg
Sodium: 40.3 mg
Total Carbs: 29.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.2 g
Protein: 3.9 g

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