Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sandwich Bread Narrative

I have not been able to bake (nor post) much because of my summer class schedule.  This morning, I was in the middle of reading for my children's literature course and I decided to start some bread, even though I have enough reading and writing to keep me busy all weekend, why not break it up a little?  The thing is, I didn't waste time looking in any cookbooks.  I just took out the sourdough starter and got started.  This is what happened:

I measured 1 cup of sourdough starter and poured it into a bowl.  I looked at it.  The sourdough is not happy with our mistreatment lately.  Lil used it last week but I feel like it still knows that I neglected it a couple of weeks ago.  Maybe it's just my conscience.

So, I decided to get out the yeast too.  In a separate bowl I mixed 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon yeast, and 2 tablespoons warm water. While the yeast proofed I added 1 cup white whole wheat, 1/2 cup bread, 1/2 cup rye, 1/4 cup whole wheat flours along with 1 cup warm water.  Oh and 4 teaspoons of vital wheat gluten and 2 teaspoons salt.  The starter burped with delight.  This was getting exciting.

I added the yeast to the sourdough.  A tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, three tablespoons honey... and then I remembered something weird I had read in my dads "El Molino" cookbook.  In their basic sourdough bread recipe they called for some freaky things.  I figured, since I am not playing by any rules, I might as well try them.  They are the secret ingredients.  They are two things that I would never think to put into a loaf of bread.  In they went....

The dough was pretty wet but I waited about 1 hour before attempting to knead it.  I added in about 1 1/2 - 2 cups of white whole wheat flour in my kneading.  I am not kidding, the dough was real wet.  However, I didn't knead for more than 3-4 minutes until the dough was incorporated.  Then, I plopped it into a well-oiled bowl, did some more reading, went to yoga class.

Fast forward 2 1/2 hours.  The dough more than doubled.  I wasn't sure if I should make it into one loaf or two but I decided on going all in on one loaf.  That way, if it came out horrible it wouldn't feel like such a failure.  I oiled one bread pan let it rise again for about 45 minutes.  Then, I turned on the oven to 375 and put a cast iron pan of water in the bottom just as a brilliant idea struck me.  Why not a sweet honey-water wash to help some wheat germ stick to the top of our loaf?  I mixed up a little bit (but too much) water with some honey and sprinkled wheat germ on top.  I put the extra watered down honey into my Kava tea.

I put the bread in before the oven was up to temperature and let it warm with the oven.  I only left the water in there for 20 minutes.  It baked for a total of 40 minutes.  It cooled.  I ate a slice.  Success!  The secret ingredients are phenomenal!  So good, in fact, that I made a little peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
My dad eats a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch everyday.  Alongside a tall glass of coffee and a cup of yogurt.

This is what I made:

Happy Father's Day (and thanks for the El Molino cookbook) Dad.


P.S. Stay tuned for Lily's famous egg salad sandwich recipe!


  1. "the secret ingredients. They are two things that I would never think to put into a loaf of bread. In they went...."

    You won't tell?...I'd really like to know

  2. I am so flattered that you are on the edge of your seats. I had no intention to torture by leaving out the secret ingredients it's great that you asked.. the secrets are: white vinegar and ground ginger. What do you think about that?? Really strange to me but did awesome things for this loaf.