Sunday, March 15, 2015

Cornbread & sprouted whole wheat bread

Yesterday I made two tasty breads:
  • Bread Machine Sprouted Grain Bread, from the One Degree organic foods website
  • Company Corn Bread, from p. 305 of the Better Homes and Gardens New Baking Book (which was new in 1998)
I wanted to make a sandwich bread, but I couldn't use my normal recipes because I'm almost out of regular bread flour. (Most of the sandwich bread recipes I like are about 50% whole grain.) I'd had some sprouted wheat flour for a while and not known what to do with it, so I searched the web for recipes that use 100% sprouted wheat flour. Of three recipes that looked reasonable, this was the only one with reviews, and the reviews were positive.

I made the following changes to the One Degree recipe:
  • 1 t salt (instead of 1.5 t)
  • 1.5 t yeast (instead of 2.5 t; next time I might try 1 t)
  • raw cane sugar (turbinado) instead of coconut palm sugar
When I opened the flour bag, I realized that the flour smelled a little stale. Sure enough, it was 3 months past its "best by" date. Oops.

Best by 3 months ago

I went ahead anyway. We needed bread!

I set up the bread to cook on a delay. It was too early to set it up for the next morning, so instead I timed it to be done by an hour before the latest time I expected we'd be home. We ended up coming home early, and the bread hadn't even begun to cook. I'd forgotten to reset the bread machine clock when time sprang forward the week before. I was too tired to wait for the bread, so the cooked bread stayed in the machine for hours. Oops.

Despite the stale flour and extended time sweating in the bread machine, this was still a tasty loaf of bread. It had a bit of a flying roof, but mostly the texture was very nice. The recipe had said to set the crust to light, but I didn't, and I'm glad.

The worst of the flying roof
On to the cornbread. It's a simple, quick recipe that I'd made before and was sure would work. I made the following adjustments:
  • no salt instead of 3/4 t
  • TJ's roasted hazelnut oil instead of plain cooking oil
  • sodium-free baking powder (Hain's Featherweight)
Delicious. This stuff is great warm or cold, and nobody missed the salt. The recipe has quite a bit of fat (1 T butter in the skillet plus 1/4 cup oil in the recipe). The fat no doubt helps the flavor, and the pan required no cleanup afterward.

I'd used roasted peanut oil the previous time I made this cornbread. I loved the taste (roasted peanuts, yum!), but some of our guests didn't seem so enthralled by it. The hazelnut oil is more subtle, and it's been great in every bread I've used it in. (Walnut oil, on the other hand, didn't make a good tasting bread.)

The cornbread cooks in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in a 400-degree oven. The texture is great, but the bread could be thicker. Next time I might try an 8-inch skillet. The recipe suggests a 9-inch round baking pan as a substitute, but I love using cast iron to cook.

The cornbread in the skillet 

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