Thursday, February 3, 2011

"If you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you knead"

February has been a rough month thus far for Sar and I - I know, it's only the 3rd, but a lot can happen in 3 days.  The gist of it is that my beloved kitty cat that I've had since I was 4 (which means he's 20 years old) has kitty lymphoma and is not going to make it much longer.  Reality bites, as they say, and I'm pretty sad about it.  Poor Sar also had a trauma yesterday: one of her 7-year-old students accidentally shot a small toy into her open eye, which resulted in a pretty painful injury from which she is recovering - hopefully quickly.  Needless to say, we're a little depressed given our current circumstances.

Now, this post isn't going to be a sad one - I just wanted to give you some background into why this loaf needed (kneaded) to be particularly wonderful.  Sar and I probably couldn't take another disappointment.  Luckily, this was one of the most successful sandwich loaves I've baked - it's comforting to think how something as simple as a perfect loaf of bread can lift my spirits.  The 15 minutes of kneading was also a pretty great way to work out some feelings...and my triceps...just sayin'.

The recipe I used was my own adaptation of Allison and Son of White on Rice Couple's adaptation of Good to the Grain's Whole Wheat Oatmeal Sandwich Loaf.  I won't re-post the whole recipe, as Allison & Son do a great job of it on their blog, but I replaced the bread flour (of which we ran out a while ago) with a mixture of 1 cup light rye flour, 1 cup oatmeal flour, and 1 tablespoon of vital wheat gluten.  I didn't replace the full 2 1/2 cups since both of these flours are whole grain, and whole grains soak up more liquid than non-whole grain flours.  I did end up needing to add about 1/4 to 1/3 cup all-purpose flour as I kneaded in order to get the dough to the right texture.  It worked out beautifully.

I made this loaf starting at 8pm, so you can imagine that the lighting in our kitchen was less-than-ideal for photography, so here are a very few, badly lit pictures:
Although it rose perfectly in the pan in under an hour, I was still not convinced that this was a good sign.  I've had a ton of loaves rise perfectly to this point, and then just stop rising entirely when they get put in the oven...

...but WOW did this guy rise.  I was so happy.

My mom will be happy to know that this turn of events reminded me of a song she would always sing to me when I was little and being particularly annoying and asking for a zillion things that I couldn't have: "You can't always get what you want" made it seem like the Rolling Stones had made a song just to give my mother ammo against my begging and pleading for extra TV time or whatever it was that I was begging for at the moment.  But they were right - "If you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need".  I really needed a win, and this loaf was a definite winner.  Silly as that sounds.

The morning light was a bit better, so these pictures aren't quite as awful as the previous ones.  This bread toasts beautifully, makes a fabulous sandwich, and is all-around fantastic.  It was the perfect pick-me-up breakfast.

Here's to getting just what you need - big or small.



  1. I'm sorry to hear about your kitty. :[

    Your bread looks wonderful though! You put the dough in the oven when it just rose above the rim of the pan, and it rose again in the oven?

    1. I know that this reply is painfully overdue, but yes, there was a big rise in the oven, as well. I think that's often referred to as the "oven spring" - most bread should do it, but sometimes we'd have a loaf that refused to do any rising in the oven whatsoever.

  2. I can't believe that you would remember that "you can't always get what you want".... Loved it, Lily - love you