Somehow, I trick my mind into believing that using whole or gluten-free flours is not as bad when it comes to counting calories. They might be healthier, but the amount is large either way. Bread is bread, especially slathered with butter or jam.
I don´t think I ever baked a white bread to have lying around the house for myself. It just lingers there, like the prisoner before questioning, until it starts to dry out and I give it away or make a strata. Considering the cheese and extra ingredients the latter has, you´re right to question my judgment. But that´s not our point here.Let´s focus on interesting breads, preferably with one or more different ingredients. Have you ever tried carob powder? It´s definitely interesting, with it´s cocoa powder look and incredibly deep and bitter taste. A small amount goes a long way. Don´t ever try to substitute one to one with cocoa. You will have a nice, impossible to eat little brown brick. A reminder of my high school days, when I went through a healthy period and decided to eat what I would call macrobiotic. It involved dark, brown bread and honey for breakfast and then the idea just got lost by lunch time, with my absolute resolution to start over the next day.
I have, by now, baked a few breads involving seeds, oats and alternative flours. And a few others, one with amaranth and another with lemon and rice flour, that never made the cut.
But I´ll keep trying, like my friend Kat and her gluten free cupcakes.
According to the book, a similar version of this bread is made by nuns at a cloistered monastery in Hollywood, CA. Isn´t that an unlikely place to pray for your soul?
MONASTERY OF THE ANGELS BROWN BREAD
from The Pleasure ofWhole Grain Breads, by Beth Hensperger
2 ¼ cups warm water
1 ½ Tbs active dry yeast
Pinch of light brown sugar
3 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup carob powder
½ cup nonfat dry milk powder
3 Tbs sesame seeds
1 Tbs salt
1 cup bread flour
4 to 4 ½ cups whole wheat flour
Additional sesame seeds, for garnish
Pour ½ cup of the warm water into a small bowl. Sprinkle the yeast and pinch of sugar, stir to dissolve and let stand at room tº until foamy, a few minutes.
In the bowl of stand mixer fitter with the paddle attachment, combine remaining 1 ¾ cups water, butter, sugar, carob, milk powder, seeds, salt, bread flour and ½ cup of whole wheat flour. Beat until smooth, about 1 minute.
Add the yeast mixture and beat for 2 minutes longer. (You can also do this in a large bowl using a whisk and beating vigorously).
Add the remaining whole wheat flour, ½ cup at a time, beating on low speed until a soft dough that just clears the sides of the bowl forms, switching to a wooden spoon when necessary if making by hand. Keep this dough soft, as it stiffens up easily.
Using the dough hook, knead until smooth and elastic, about 2 minutes. If you’re kneading by hand on a floured surface, it will take from 4 to 6 minutes. Add extra flour, 1 Tbs at a time, only if needed, just enough to prevent a sticky dough.
Transfer dough to a greased deep container, turn once to coat all sides, cover and let rise at room tº until doubled in bulk, about 1 ½ to 2 hours. Gently deflate and let rise for another 30 minutes.
Lightly grease the bottom of two 8x4 inch loaf pans.
Turn the dough onto the work surface, divide in 2 equal portions, pat each portion into a rectangle and roll into a loaf shape.
Place the loaves, seam side down, into the prepared pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or clean towel and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 40 to 50 minutes.
About 20 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 375º F /190ºC.
Using a sharp knife or lame, make a slash along the entire length of each loaf. Sprinkle the top of the loaves with some cold water and sesame seeds.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the tops are a deeper color and the loaves sound hollow when tapped with your fingers.
Remove onto a wire rack and let cool completely before cutting.
Makes 2 loaves.