Saturday, January 14, 2012

Breakfast Loaf with Sesame Seeds and Raisins

Brian Erskine, my former chef, and now friend once told me "David I am going to share a bit of wisdom that my father once shared with me:  FAILING TO PREPARE IS PREPARING TO FAIL." This advice has always stuck with me and I am a firm believer in this.  However, sometimes, lessons must be relearned. My experience with this bread is a good example of that. More importantly, it was a great reminder of a lesson learned and a good chance to reminisce about my time with Brian. 
This was my first loaf made from Daniel Leaders Book: Bread Alone, and there was a lot going on in the kitchen. A lot of Leader's recipes from this book call for 20% bran wheat flour. This is a flour variety that can easily be purchased.  It can also be prepared by combining bread flour and whole wheat flour in a ratio of three parts bread flour to one part course ground whole wheat flour.

To further complicate the process, I grind my own whole wheat flour. So I was grinding the wheat flour, so that I could prepare a 5 pound batch of 20% bran flour.  While this was happening I was scaling out the ingredients for the Raisin and Sesame Loaf. Most bread recipes designed for the home baker make about two loafs of bread, and since I prefer making two different loaves rather that two of the same, I always cut these recipes in half.  I usually do all of the math ahead of time and write it on the formula page.  This time, I forgot to do this. (You can see where this is going). 

Also Leader's formulas do not figure the exact weight of the flour.  They provide a range, so while all of the others things I mentioned were going on, I scaled out the 20% flour using the maximum of the range. I was planning on adding flour until the proper dough consistency was achieved. Then I was going to see how much 20% bran flour was left and I was going to make a note of exactly how much flour I used.  However, in the heat of the moment I scaled out the flour for two loaves, rather than just the one.

As soon as I added all of that flour to the mixer I said "oh shoot" (my language might have been a bit stronger) and I turned the mixer off. I was tempted to toss it, but the mistake was already made. I figured that with my knowledge of bread and the science behind it, I could make this work.  It might be a little bland because of a lower salt content and it might take bit longer to rise due to a low yeast content. In any event, I figured that I could make it edible. 

I added about 1/4 cup of water and then every 30 seconds or so, once the added water was accepted by the dough, I added more water in very small doses. (Probably close to 1 tablespoon at a time.)  I did this until the dough had the consistency that I thought I was looking for.  I chose not to add any additional yeast because I am a fan of long and slow fermentation.  I feel that it provides a better flavor, so I let it proof for an additional hour. 

Leader recommends that these be baked in loaf pans because it lends itself to sandwiches, particularly breakfast sandwiches. The loaves came out beautiful, and since the raisins were in such a high proportion (and I only used 8 ounces rather than 16 because I was halving most of the recipe). Man, each slice has tons of raisins in it. The recipe called for golden raisins, but I didn't have enough, I used about 3 ounces of golden raisins and 5 ounces of california dark raisins. This is a bread that I am definitely going to come back to. I was really surprised. It was such a great bread. I had two medium sized loaves and I am excited about coming back to this bread in a couple months and making it properly. I can not provide you with a picture of a whole loaf because I forgot to take one, but here is a picture of the loaf with the crumbs showing.

I strongly recommend finding this formula and giving it a try. Bread Alone  by Daniel Leaders is a great book for those bakers who are just starting and I recommend it strongly. If you have questions please do not hesitate to comment.
Bake On!

I strongly recommend finding this formula and giving it a try. This is a great book for those bakers who are just starting and I recommend it strongly. If you have questions please do not hesitate to comment.
Bake On!


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