Archive for May, 2008

Buckwheat Sourdough

Posted in Recipes on May 21, 2008 by cbucholz

Buckwheat flour is perhaps my favorite flour to use in baking, even though I do not use it very much. In appearance it is of a soft gray or ashy hue and very fine grained. It smells richly of nuts, earth, and smoke. I always inhale deeply before I bake with it, delighted with the exotic possibilities that it holds. Buckwheat flour is not used in bread baking very often perhaps because it contains no gluten. It therefore must be combined with a strong wheat flour to ensure integrity and structure of the final loaf.

Buckwheat flour

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A Bit on Rye

Posted in Musings on May 20, 2008 by cbucholz

I realized that all of the recipes I have posted so far have rye flour involved in some way. Some are 100% rye, while other use a slight touch of rye for the subtle nuttiness and depth that it gives to a finished loaf. Since it is evidently an integral part in my baking, I’ve decided to dedicate this entry exclusively to rye. I’ll talk a bit about its history, its use in baking, and other useful, interesting tidbits. Continue reading

Sweet Rye Bread

Posted in Recipes on May 13, 2008 by cbucholz

Rye breads come in many different shapes, flavors, and consistencies. Sweet rye bread are often similar to the Swedish limpa. Swedish limpa uses a combination of rye and wheat flours and is yeasted, enriched, sweetened with molasses or brown sugar, and spiced with fennel seeds, anise, and orange zest. The following recipe is my first attempt at a sweet, rye bread, but it is not limpa. Rather, it is a unique recipe that I have only found this single variation on. It is made with 100% rye flour, incorporates sourdough and no commercial yeast, uses a thick batter rather than a dough, involves a long, slow rise, and is baked for a couple of hours. With that said, this bread is dense, moist, and perfect for breakfast with a bit of butter, plain yogurt, or ricotta to compliment the simultaneous sour and sweet flavor. Although a little wary about this unconventional recipe at the beginning, I was pleasantly surprised by the final loaf and will be sure to make this one again.

Slices for breakfast

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Sour Rye

Posted in Recipes on May 12, 2008 by cbucholz

I began baking rye bread when I first met my boyfriend. As a nervous new girlfriend, I wanted to impress him with a fresh, homemade loaf of bread, so I asked him what his favorite kind was. Rye with caraway was the reply. I had never made any sort of rye bread before so I ran back home, began researching, and fervently started a rye sourdough starter, hoping that it would be ready by the time I had promised a completed rye loaf. Since then, I have made many, many rye loaves, all slightly different, searching for the one that will satisfy my boyfriend’s palate. This one has been a success, not just with my boyfriend, but with many of my friends. It is sour, has a soft crumb, explodes in the oven, and is filled with delightful caraway seeds that add a complex and intriguing flavor.

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A Simple Sourdough

Posted in Recipes on May 7, 2008 by cbucholz

A simple sourdough is possibly the most rewarding loaf for a baker. It connotes a certain degree of autonomy in that a successful rise does not depend on commercial yeast or other artificial leavening agents. The rise comes from the care and nurturing of the baker as she coaxes the sourdough starter to maturity. Then, with a bit of patience and persistence, the starter is encouraged to do a little more magic by combining it with flour and water, developing the gluten in the dough, and letting the friendly yeast and bacteria celebrate in their new environment up until their glorious end in the a hot oven.

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Barley and Rye Bread

Posted in Recipes on May 6, 2008 by cbucholz

The quest for a bread containing barley began when I impulsively bought a 5 lb bag of barley flour at the store, telling myself, “Of course you will use it.” But, the bag of barley flour sat untouched and unused for a week and then a month and then two months. Recently, I finally decided that it was time that I put it to use and explore the qualities of baking with barley flour.

Barley or Hordeum vulgare is a member of the grass family Poaceae. It is used most commonly in animal feed, but it also an important ingredient in beer, whiskey, and many health foods. Barley is originally from Ethiopia and the southeastern regions of Asia. Both the Greek and Roman cultures highly valued barley for its use in bread making and as an essential food for athletes. Indeed, Gladiators were called hordearii, which translates as “eaters of barley.” In the Middle Ages, many breads were made from a combination of barley and rye due to the scarcity and expense of wheat.

Icelandic Fields of Barley

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