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Posts Tagged ‘grain bread’

After making the hazelnut and grain loaves recently, I was left with a large quantity of cooked grains in the fridge…

I was loathe to waste these, so I made up two more recipes from Dan Lepard’s The Handmade Loaf.

The first was a variation of his Ale Bread with Wheat Grains – an attractive loaf, although the soaked grains in both cases made the dough very wet. I was concerned it would stick like glue to the banneton, hence the crazy amount of rye flour on the loaf above.

The finished loaf had a soft crumb and pleasant taste, although I think my decision to replace the ale in the recipe with apple cider might have been a bit rash…

. . . . .

The second recipe was an adaptation of Dan’s Alsace Loaf with Rye.

Despite the finished loaves looking like kindling (according to Pete), the bread had a deliciously sweet  flavour, a tender but elastic crumb, and a lovely crunchy crust. It was so good in fact that we struggled to put anything on it – and settled for simply eating it plain.

Here’s my take on Dan’s recipe:

  • 300g soaked mixed grains, well drained (see instructions here)
  • 550g bakers/bread flour
  • 320g water
  • ¾ teaspoon dried yeast
  • 25g honey
  • 150g sourdough starter at 80% hydration (ie. fed at a ratio of 100g flour to 80g water)
  • 1¼ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 25g grapeseed oil

Cooking and soaking grains before adding them to a dough is an old-fashioned breadbaking technique, and one that’s rarely employed by modern day bakeries.

If you’re baking at home though, do give this a go – the grains soften up, and the resultant loaves are delicious, keep well, and don’t destroy your fillings when you bite into them!

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‘So it is,’ they answered. ‘But we call it lembas or waybread …. One will keep a traveller on his feet for a day of long labour, even if he be one of the tall Men of Minas Tirith.’

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

My breads don’t often fail, but this time I’d been impatient – I hadn’t let my starter reactivate properly prior to mixing up the dough.  Regardless of how brilliant the flour is, an inactive sourdough leaven can’t produce  great bread.  The mixed grain rolls I’d intended for school lunches came out like heavy lumps of clay.  Pete, unwilling to waste food, patiently chewed his way through half a roll and announced that whilst it was dense, it was also extremely filling and satisfying – akin to Elvish bread.   He and Maude declared that I’d created lembas and that half a roll would have been sufficient to sustain an Elven warrior through a day of battle.  It’s just a shame I don’t have any Elven warriors to feed it to – not sure what I’m going to do with the other eight hockey pucks…

. . . . .

Averse to failure, I had to make more grain bread straight away.  I was much happier with this batch, which was made with a ripe starter and given lots of time to prove overnight.  Lesson learnt – patience leads to better bread!

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not lembas 3

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