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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One person, Greg Craven, has suggested changing the question from "which side is right" to "what is the wisest thing to do given the uncertainties and the risks involved?" To me, this seems like a very productive way to refocus the conversation. So, if you are confused about, concerned by, or interested in the issue of global warming please take a few minutes to watch his VIDEO. If you find it interesting or helpful, please pass it on to others.

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

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Buckwheat Bread and 10-Grain Bread

Hooray hooray, it's the First of May--and we ALL know what that means.  LAW DAY!!!!!!  Brought to you by the people who brought you the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. 

I for one am glad to see the back of April.  I know April Showers bring May Flowers, which in turn bring Pilgrims, but--DAMN!  Enough rain already.  I have DUCKS in the garden.

The first assignment this time was for Buckwheat Bread.  Despite its name, buckwheat is not a wheat.  And buckwheat contains no gluten.  According to Wikipedia,"[t]he name 'buckwheat' or 'beech wheat' comes from its triangular seeds, which resemble the much larger seeds of the beech nut from the beech tree, and the fact that it is used like wheat."  Common buckwheat is the usual crop variety, but there are a couple of relatives as well.  
It is well known that the companion planting of buckwheat and radishes has the salutatory effect of keeping wolverines off your land, as the following clip demonstrates
We planted radishes in our first garden.  In our enthusiasm we planted a 20 foot row.  That is a lot of radishes.  We would put them into paper grocery bags, paper was the only kind back in the olden days, leave them on neighbors' doorsteps, ring the bell, and run.  We also discovered that radishes are good cooked.  They can be sauteed, and they are good roasted with carrots

The Buckwheat Bread recipe uses not only buckwheat flour, but also buckwheat groats.  According to Wikipedia, "[g]roats are the hulled grains of various cereals."  Wheat groats are also known as bulgur, and buckwheat groats are also known as kasha or kashiBecause groats are usually hard to chew buckwheat groats are typically eaten as a porridge.  According to Wikipedia, "Groats were the most widely used form of buckwheat worldwide during the 20th century, eaten primarily in Russia, Ukraine and Poland," and they are "often considered the definitive peasant dish."
I have made this bread before, and was looking forward to making it again.  I like it a lot.  The dough this time seemed a bit wet, but it turned out pretty well.  I used my perforated bread pan, and the wet dough oozed through the perforations.  When I pried the loaf out of the pan it left behind all these little bread granules.  
 Not to waste them I sprinkled them on our salads.  This did three important things: (1) it made use of the granules; (2) it added a bit of crunch to the salad; and (3) since I was using lettuce fresh from our garden (overwintered in cold frames), it camouflaged any bits of grit that might have escaped my rinsing.
The bread was great, although of a somewhat funky shape due to its wetness.  But as a result of the wetness it also had a nice crumb.

I also used some of the dough to make a pita.  It did not puff, which did not surprise me given the groats, but it was easy to open up and made a very serviceable vehicle for some ham salad made with leftover Easter ham. 

 Since I was on a buckwheat roll  (technically a buckwheat pita, but that does not have the same ring to it) I decided to make sourdough buckwheat waffles.  I came up with a whole wheat sourdough waffle recipe that I think is pretty great.  It is patterned after a recipe from SOURDOUGH JACK'S COOKERY And Other Things by Sourdough Jack Mabee.  (I have the 1972 version.) 

To 1 cup of starter add 70g of AP flour, 100g WW flour and 190g water (1/2 c AP flour, 3/4 c WW flour, and 7oz water).   Next morning take out your cup of starter to save and add 3 TBS eggbeaters (1 egg), 2 tsp canola, and 1 Tbs skim milk.  Mix 1 tsp sugar with 1/2 tsp baking soda and sprinkle on top of the batter, then stir in gently.  This makes 3 waffles, which is good for the two of us, and of course the batter can also be used for pancakes.  (I have a scaled up version of this recipe if anyone is interested.)  For waffles in my iron, I use a 7 inch Belgian Waffle iron, I use 2/3 cup batter and for cook for 6 minutes.
You may have noticed that many of your finer hotels, Sleep Inn, for example, have do-it-yourself waffles for breakfast.  They use waffle irons that rotate, so you fill the iron then flip it over, which makes for a more even distribution of the batter.  To accomplish the same thing I put my heated waffle iron top down on a cutting board, open it, pour the batter onto the top, close it, and flip it over.   

For buckwheat waffles I subbed buckwheat flour for the whole wheat flour (90 grams of buckwheat flour, it being 120 grams to the cup).  I expanded my starter the day before, so I could have a separate batch of starter to use with the buckwheat flour.
Not to brag (which is of course exactly what I am doing), but the waffles were so light you could see through them when you held them up to the light. 

Next up--10 Grain Bread.   The Neat Cheat here is to use Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Hot Cereal.  Bob makes his 10 Grain Cereal from "stone ground high protein hard red wheat, rye, triticale, oat bran, oats, corn, barley, soy beans, brown rice, millet, and flaxseed."

I confess I am not quite sure what I thought about this bread.  I had high hopes, which can be the kiss of death.  In contrast to the Buckwheat Bread this dough was on the drier, and heavier, side, and did not get as good a rise.  As a result, the loaf looked good, but it was pretty dense.  Also, at first bite it had a distinctive flavor that I was not sure I liked, but that grew on me. 
All in all, I think I need to try this bread again.  

So that is that.  We are into May.  And we all know the adage about May nights: "many are cold, but few are frozen."


  1. I WANT WAFFLES!!! Everything looks delicious as always Geoffrey! Keep up the good work :)

  2. Um, I want that 10 grain bread. I'll pay you to make me a loaf. Love, your other daughter, Marissa

  3. Nice photo of the Rose-breasted Grosbeak. We have a few of them here but they are so shy, I'm afraid I could never be quiet enough to catch a photo.

    You're right about the roasted radishes...we just love them and I make them all the time!

    Your buckwheat bread looks very good and I bet it was delicious toasted! And I like the idea of sourdough buckwheat pancakes or waffles too! My Dad used to make us buckwheat pancakes every Sunday after church.

    I've made 10-Grain bread several times, but not the HB5 recipe and it was not dense at all. I'm wondering if it was just to much water in the recipe?

  4. Thanks for the waffle and radish recipes! My husband doesn't like radishes, but he would probably enjoy them roasted. One of the farmers at our market said planting is 2 weeks behind this year because of all the rain. Normally, he said, corn is planted mid-April, and as of last week, no one was yet planting any corn...I enjoy hearing about all your baking experiments!