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

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Apple Barley Bread and Whole Grain Butterfat-and-Yolk-free Brioche (29 of 42)

Barley Malt Syrup is nasty stuff!  (Barley malt syrup is a natural sweetener produced from sprouted barley that is roasted, and slowly cooked into a thick, dark brown syrup.  It is half as sweet as refined sugar and Eden Organic's is 76.13 percent maltose, 15.81 percent glucose, 6.3 percent sucrose, 2.04 percent fructose and the remainder is lactose, for those who care about such things.)  It is thick and gooey and sticky.  And it must be "refrigerate[d] after opening," so it pours even slower than molasses in January.  And when you try to stop pouring, it NEVER STOPS.  It just forms these sticky threads like spider webs that go all over everything.  We used Barley Malt Syrup in the Apple Barley Bread. We also used barley flour.  I ground some pearled barley and used that. 

For the Apple part, we used apple cider, raw grated apples, and dried apples.  That is a lot of apple stuff.  And the raw dough tasted pretty apple-y. The baked loaf--not so much.  It was not bad.  It was just kind of blah.  In my opinion it was just not worth the extra work and all the special ingredients. 

My dough was pretty wet when I made it, but it firmed up quite a bit in the fridge, in part no doubt due to the dried fruit absorbing some of the liquid.  It was still pretty sticky, and I smooshed more than formed it into the pan.  I made a whole batch, having gotten the ingredients, and used half of it for this loaf.  My pan was a bit small for the loaf.  It came out of the pan well, though.

I was going to use a slightly larger loaf pan for the second batch, but then I remembered a long narrow pan I have, and decided to try a Pullman style loaf without the Pullman pan.  The Pullman Loaf  is made in a long, narrow, lidded pan. The lid makes the top of the loaf flat, if you do it right.  The French term for this style of loaf is pain de mie.   One theory of the origin of the name, "Pullman," is that the word was derived from a resemblance between the loaf (or its pan) and the Pullman railway car.

I smooshed the dough into the pan (now the pan was too big) and let it rise, just covered with plastic wrap.  Then  I made a "lid" out of cardboard and wrapped it in foil.  (The loaf bakes at 375, the ignition point of paper is 451 (hence the title of the book Fahrenheit 451) so I figured (hoped) I was good.   (There is a difference between the flash point of paper, which is 350 and the ignition point. The flash point is the lowest temperature at which it is ignitable by an external burning source.  The ignition temperature is the minimum temperature at which the fuel will automatically get ignited in the atmosphere without even an external source of burning.)  

 I sprayed the lid and the top of the loaf with cooking spray, and weighted the lid with pie weights in mini loaf pans.  I baked it for 45 minutes.  When I checked it I decided it could use a few more minutes, and since I had removed the lid to check its temperature (speaking of thermometers, do you know how to tell the difference between an oral and a rectal thermometer?  The taste.)  I finished baking uncovered.

When I put my level on top it was maybe 1/4  of a bubble off (then who of us isn't),

but I thought it worked pretty darned well for a first attempt!  (In my experience with such things, it is often best to quit while you are ahead.)

Our second assignment was the Whole Grain Butterfat-and-Yolk-free Brioche.  I used pasteurized egg whites and I bumped up the vital gluten since I was using freshly ground white whole wheat flour.  The recipe said the dough would be "loose," and it certainly was, but it firmed up some in the fridge.

The dough rose well but I did not get any "oven spring"--the top stayed flat.  The bread was pretty good, and 100% whole wheat.  It made very good toast. 

As you can see, I used my brioche pan, but I still have not figured out the best way to slice it.

And finally, my Blue Bird of Happiness (and his Missus) arrived
though on last Friday they might have wished they had waited a bit.
That is it for this time, check back next time.


  1. HI THERE! Everything that you make looks delicious,and I look forward to eating one of your creations this friday.
    Your favorite daughter <3

  2. I'm glad you mentioned about the barley malt syrup. I might need to purchase some soon and I didn't know it was such a pain to work with. Maybe the non-diastatic malt powder would be better to have. Sorry the apple bread wasn't better, but the loaf looks good!! Neat experiment with the pullman type tin! I love the shape of brioche. I don't have my own pan yet, but I just love the pretty shape. Poor mister and missus bluebird. That reminds me I have to go put out my feeder:) Great post!!!

  3. Gosh, Guff, I always love looking at how you make your loaves and learning about the trivia! So that's Farenheit 451?

    Beautiful loaves. I think I'll try the brioche. I like the idea of less cholesterol.

  4. I never noticed that the barley malt syrup is supposed to be refrigerated! I just assumed (without reading the label) that it could stay in the cupboard like honey and molasses. Oops.'s a sticky mess but I think it's worth it. I've been adding it to my breads (1/2 tsp for each cup of flour) with good results.
    Your breads look great! I'm getting ready to make the apple barley dough in a few minutes. not sure if i'm going to do a straight loaf or play around with it. Thanks for the flavor heads up :)

  5. Love all the trivia you write in your blog. I did not know Barley Malt Syrup had to be refrigerated after opening. But, then, I haven't opened it yet.
    So sorry your Apple Barley Bread was such a disappointment. Your Brioche looked delicious though. Glad your couple made it home from their southern travels. I'm waiting for my Cardinals to arrive, hopefully, before the end of March.

  6. I am wondering if maybe some orange or lemon zest would have enhanced the apple flavor in the Barley Apple Bread? I know we've discussed the WW flavor being so dominate and surpressing the flavors in some of our breads.

    Interesting info on "Fahrenheit 451"! I think this was the first book by Bradbury that I ever read. I was hooked on Science Fiction for years after that! Loved the "Illustrated Man".

    I do like the flat loaf baked in my Pan de Mie pan but I don't like not being able to see the bread as it bakes. I like the idea of making a cover that is easily removed during baking.

    I've never figured out the best way to cut brioche either. Either my slices are way to big or odd shaped!

    My Bluebirds showed up last week and are already staking out their choice of nesting boxes. Last year we had a record amount of eggs, 6, in one nest and all the babies lived! Hoping this year is even better.

  7. Years ago, my husband and I used to make bread machine breads (imagine that?!) from a book called the Breadman, and his recipes used Barley Malt Syrup. First you couldn't get if off the spoon, then you couldn't get it off your finger after you had helped it off the spoon...

    Your breads look good. I think you could author a blog on devising homemade bread-baking equipment. Your experiments are amusing and useful!