There are few virtues a man can possess more erotic than culinary skill.
Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses
by Isabel Allende

Starting in November of 2009 Michelle at the Big Black Dog formed a group to bake its way through Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Zoë François and Jeff Hertzberg. I loved Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, so I signed up with the group. Michelle first had us do a couple of warm-up assignments, which were my first attempt at blogging. The first "Official" post was on January 15, 2010, and it was followed by 41 more, on the 1st and 15th of each month. When I signed on I said I would bake the whole book, and like Horton (the elephant) I meant what I said and I said what I meant. I finished baking the book on October 1, 2011. Having completed that challenge, now I am just going to do some stuff, and post about it. As part of that stuff Michelle is posing a new, and different, challenge for us each month.

I am still baking bread, mostly the Five Minutes a Day kind, and if you would like to try the Five Minutes a Day bread method there are some links, with recipes, in the right hand column to get you started. Please give it a try.

But first, a word from my sponsor . . .
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This day be bread and peace my lot.
Alexander Pope

How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?

Julia Child

Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough but not baked in the same oven.
Yiddish proverb
(And some are only half baked.)

There is no love sincerer than the love of food.
George Bernard Shaw, via Sharon

Of all smells, bread; of all tastes, salt.
George Herbert

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Whole Wheat Bread (19 of 42)

This time around were were tasked with making Grissini, Pizza and Baguettes.  A nasty job, but somebody has got to do it.  As the basis for these breadstuffs Michelle gave us some options for the whole wheat dough we could use.  I chose the Master.   I did vary the recipe slightly, following a tip from Danielle at Cooking for My Peace of Mind who wrote about using Barley Malt Syrup.  Following her lead, I added 1/2 teaspoon per cup of flour.  For those of you keeping score at home, Barley Malt Syrup weighs 7 grams per teaspoon, 21 grams per tablespoon.  The bread rose well, but I did not notice a huge flavor difference, no doubt in part because the end products here were, themselves, fairly strongly flavored.  I will continue to use it.  Also, Carlyn at Baked With Luv suggested doubling the amount of vital gluten when using home milled flour.  I plan to try that too. 

I first made the Grissini (Olive Oil Bread Sticks).  I rolled the dough out to about an eighth of an inch, cut it into strips with my pizza cutter, sprayed them with olive oil spray, sprinkled them with salt and rosemary, and baked them for about 15 minutes.  They were great. 

Then it was on to Whole Grain Pizza on the Gas Grill (right on the grates).  I love cooking pizza this way.  We had quite a discussion in our Discussion Group about the best way to get the pizza onto the grill, with many good ideas.  I roll the crust out on parchment paper, using some flour so it does not stick too much.
I did not roll it quite as thin as I sometimes do, which makes it a bit easier to handle on the grill.  Then I trim closely around the crust, and flip it onto the grates paper side up.  The paper helps stabilize the dough. 

 Some folks do it paper side down, which is what I do in the oven, but it seems to me to be less likely to catch fire with the paper up.

After a few minutes I remove the crust from the grill, peel off the paper, flip it, top it, and slide it back onto the grates.  A few more minutes and its PIZZA. 

For this pizza, instead of using crushed tomatoes I used some of Michelle's Tomato  Jam. It went really well with the grilled crust.  I also added some sliced mushrooms and, of course, some mozzarella cheese.

The pizza is sitting on my RSVP 10" Oven Spatula, which is a really great size for getting loaves of bread into and out of the oven (or on and off the grill).  It is smaller and much handier than my large pizza peel.

The final assignment was 2 small loaves of Garlic Studded Baguette.  I formed my baguettes, let them rise in my 1x2 couche, and studded them with garlic from the garden. 

I used my Garlic Peeler gizmo to remove the peels, it is pretty handy when you have a lot of cloves to peel and you do not want to crush them. 

 I kept the loaves on the parchment paper when I put them in the oven, so I pulled them out 2/3 of the way through the cooking time to take them off the paper.  I noticed that some of the cloves had popped out, so I took the opportunity to tuck them back in,  it seemed to work pretty well. 

The roasted garlic was great, and we ate the bread without butter, just the garlic.  According to Garlic Central garlic has "a reputation in folklore for preventing everything from the common cold and flu to the Plague!  Raw garlic is used by some to treat the symptoms of acne and there is some evidence that it can assist in managing high cholesterol levels. It can even be effective as a natural mosquito repellent."   Of course, eaten to excess it can also be a means of birth control.  Did you know that the most effective birth control for lawyers is their personalities?

I still had some dough left, and when we made doughnuts last time Michelle baked hers in a mini-doughnut pan.   Sounded like a great idea, so I got one, but I got the one that makes 6 regular size doughnuts, rather than 12 mini doughnuts.  I mean, who are we kidding?  Who is going to eat just 1 mini doughnut?   I rolled out the dough and used my biscuit cutters just as I had to make the fried doughnuts.  I sprayed the pan and let the doughnuts rise about half an hour.

Then I baked them at 325 for about 20 minutes.  As soon as they came out I shook them in a paper bag with some sugar and pumpkin pie spice.  Although this was not an enriched dough, they were pretty darn good.

In my spare time, I decided to do a 'speriment I had been considering all summer--zucchini bread.  I used the Carrot Bread recipe from HB in 5, but substituted zucchini.  Since zucchini is so wet, I shredded it, tossed it with a little sugar to draw out the moisture, and let it drain in a colander.  Then I squeezed more moisture out using my potato ricer.  I saved the zucchini liquid and used it as some of the water in the dough.  Also, I meant to double the spices, which is what I did, for the full recipe, but since I only made a half recipe . . . .

Despite all my efforts  and good intentions the dough was still a bit wet, but that meant the result was a little more dense, more like a typical zucchini quick bread.  I am not sure I would change it. 

I used my smaller loaf pan, but a half recipe of the HB in 5 doughs is a bit larger than in AB in 5, and a regular loaf pan would have worked better, avoiding the overflow.

The result?  I think it was pretty good.  My old Zucchini Bread recipe had 3 eggs, 2 cups of sugar and a cup of oil in it.  In contrast, the half recipe of this bread I made had no eggs,  1/4 cup of brown sugar, and no oil. This version was way healthier, though obviously not as sweet or rich.  But that is a good thing in our healthy bread paradigm.  (Just keep saying that to yourself--over and over and over.) 

So that is it for this time.  Be sure to see what everyone else did at the Big Black Dog, and check back next time.


  1. So glad you liked the Baked Doughnuts!

    Great idea to squeeze out the extra moisture in your potato ricer. I would have never thought of doing that! And I wondered if the tube garlic peeler would work or not. But now I think I will get one!

    Your method for putting the dough on the grill is a great idea and I'm going to try it out next time. And the pizza looks delicious! And I wanted to let you know that I added some of the Tomato Jam to my meatloaf last week. The Tomato Jam really made an impact on the taste and my husband noticed with his first bite!

    I, too, love the breadsticks and crackers made from the HBinFive WW doughs. the attorney humor!!

  2. That's a great idea to use parchment paper on top of the pizza on the grill. I'll have to try that next time. I love making pizza on the grill.

    I liked the bread sticks. Haven't made the garlic bread yet. I'm looking forward to it.

    Love your humor. :)

  3. Everything looks great! I'm going to try the donuts like this--we have the pan.

  4. Wow, what a creativity spurt!

    Everything looks great. I'll have to try the pizza again, with parchment paper on TOP!!

    I had shredded some zucchini from the farmers market last year and froze it. When I defrosted it, the water had separated. I thought the less wet zucchini would be a problem, but it wasn't. Maybe freezing is something you might want to try?

  5. Wow you've been busy!!! As always everything looks fantastic. The barley malt syrup doesn't add a huge flavor difference....just a slight sweetness that I happen to enjoy (maybe cuz I have a major sweet tooth). I'm going to have to try your method for the baguette. Mine spread so much that I don't think it could be considered a baguette anymore!