The Boy and I recently took a food-themed walking tour of Chinatown. (Side-note: do you know new parents who need a baby-friendly pseudo-date outing? I highly recommend walking tours. Especially if they include snackety treats at some of the stops.) Aside from introducing us to a number of places we hadn’t tried before and allowing us to replenish our supply of frozen dumplings, our tour guide also mentioned her blog, so I had a new local food blog to add to my reader!
Drifting over to it, this post about bread immediately caught my eye. Whole wheat? I am constantly trying to up the ratio of whole wheat to white flour in my baked goods. And buttermilk? Always on the look out for somewhere to use up all the whey I produce! Clearly I needed to try this bread.
Now, the recipe is not a difficult one, but the whole “knead and let rise for n hours before doing something else” thing doesn’t really work for me these days. After our reconciliation, I decided that I’d test-drive the recipe in the breadmaker. I halved the quantities on the blog and gave ‘er. The result? Delicious! My only complaint was that it didn’t use the whole breadmaker pan. So, after a little tweaking I re-jigged the quantities to create a “full” loaf*.
* Note: so the first time I baked this, the loaf came just up to the lid of the bread machine without touching it. The second time, it totally squashed itself up into the window. I wish I could tell you what I did differently, but I have no idea. I suspect I allowed the yeast mixture to sit a little longer the second time.
Edit: After a little more experimenting, I’ve reduced the amount of yeast.
2/3 cup warm water
2 tsps yeast
2/3 cup “buttermilk” (see note below)
1/4 cup (scant) sugar (I use brown)
1/4 cup (scant — aim for about 50mL) oil
1 large egg
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tbsp salt
Dissolve the yeast in the water and let it proof. Once foamy, stir in the buttermilk, sugar, oil, egg and whole-wheat flour. Whisk everything together, scrape it into the bread machine and let it sit for 10 minutes or so.
Throw the AP flour and salt on top, set your machine for standard white loaf, and hit go.
A couple hours later, devour.
I can not tell you how happy I am with this bread. It is gloriously light and fluffy, is 50% whole wheat, ridiculously easy to make and very flexible in terms of the dairy. In place of the buttermilk, I’ve used yoghourt, whey and milk, and the bread has always turned out. (Pretty sure it was most tender when I used the yoghourt, in case you’re wondering.)
Last comment: the original directions have you mix the salt in with the yeast mixture from the beginning. As salt acts to slow down the action of the yeast, and I have a long and sad history with stodgy loaves, however, I always separate out the salt to add in a little later. In the case of this loaf, it works!