Sunday, February 26, 2012

Multigrain Canvas

I was looking to experiment with a new bread recipe that took me beyond the basics of white, whole wheat or rye. I consult my Ruhlman “Bread Baking Basics” app and learn that multigrain recipes offer an infinite number of possibilities. Like the artist in Stephen Sondheim’s “Sunday in the Park with George” there is an inherent creative challenge and thrill in “Putting It Together.”

Working off the basic flour formula for two loaves of whole wheat bread – a ratio of bread flour and whole wheat flour – an additional 16 ounces of “other non-wheat grains” are added to the dough. After much consideration, and a trip to the market, I choose Amaranth flour, a whole grain that’s been cultivated for 8000 years, and was used in religious ceremonies by the Aztecs.

I add to this, a more ordinary but no-less-desirable cupful of good old-fashioned oats, along with a couple of tablespoons of honey gathered at Restoration Farm.

The initial texture of the dough is quite sticky compared to other recipes. This may be due to the fact that the Amaranth contains no gluten.

However, after feeling as if my hands have been submerged in wallpaper paste, the dough does begin to smooth out.

I do wonder if the experiment will be successful as I examine the squiggly cylinders of dough in the bottom of each loaf pan.

Patience is rewarded and the loaves blossom. A handful of oats is sprinkled on top for garnish. Perhaps next time, I will roll the dough in oats prior to the second rise as the oats do tend to flake off a bit after baking.

The result is two deep golden loaves flecked with oats.

Look, I’ve made a multigrain loaf! The slices are tender but chewy, and the Amaranth adds a slightly sweet malty taste reminiscent of sourdough.

I’m now contemplating the combinations of grains and the possibilities to explore with future loaves. Bit by bit, putting it together…

©2012 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved