27 Feb 2013

Making Your Bread Badass

I have recently started chatting with a rather lovely guy whom I met online. Some people think that internet dating is a dangerous, nasty business but I think nowsdays it's become far more practical and I think it's become a lot safer than it's ever been before. In fact, I met the last guy I dated online too and in a town where the majority of men are either already fathers, seeing someone or are complete and utter emotional vaccums, it makes sense to out source. That's right, I'm calling internet dating out sourcing because the majority of the guys I'd be interested in live quite far away. I don't see that as a problem, especially here in NZ where people are more than happy to drive around all day and distance isn't really a big deal (thanks for that crap advert by the way, ASB, it makes me want to stab my ear drums out with a blunt pencil).
Anyway, there's a point to all this nonsense, I promise.
Lately, the word badass has become a big part of my vocabulary thanks to this new text buddy I have. And when I decided to do a post on adding things to your bread, I knew badass was the perfect adjective for this process. See, it's like taking a plain thing and just making it better in every way possible. It's like when Sandy under goes her transformation in Grease, she was pretty and she could sing but she put some a cat suit and suddenly she was badass. Get it? Yeah you do.

So let's talk about what you're going to be adding to your breads shall we?
You might want to go for something like salsa if your name is the Bread Babe and you have tons of it left over or you might go for something like cheese and onion if you want a bread that goes well with bacon and eggs. But sometimes, you want to add grains to your bread and that's what we're going to have a chat about today.

The big thing you have to remember when baking bread is that it too has a high water content and when you mess with that water content, you can end up with a loaf that resembles a biscuit or a loaf that resembles a brick. But it's ok because you don't have to alter your water ratio for every loaf of bread if you just simply soak your grains. It's kinda like when you have a long soak in the bath. You get out feeling great, you're feeling relaxed and clean and shiny. Well your grains are going to feel plump and juicy and ready to be baked without taking in all that moisture in the oven later.
So there are a few ways to soak your grains and it just depends on how much time you have and what you're doing as to which one you use but they're all really simple so don't panic.

1// You can pop your grains and your water into a container and stick it in the fridge overnight if you know you're going to be baking the next day. This will allow the grains to slowly take in water and probably take in a lot more than they normally would.

2// You can add enough hot water to your grains to just cover them and let them sit for five minutes and then add them straight into your bread mix (add any left over water that the grains have no absorbed by this point).

3// You can add cold water to your grains, just enough to cover them, and then stick them in the microwave. It works pretty well and the grains will absorb more of the hot water this way because they are essentially cooking a little as well.

Note: to determine if your grains are soaked and ready, stir them with a spoon. You should have the same texture and consistency as when you let your WeetBix soak in the milk and they begin to clump together. It should look mushy and stick together instead of slipping like dry grain does. You can see that start to happen in the picture above.

Now you don't have to worry about your bread being too dry or adding too much water to over compensate. You'll end up with awesome bread and amazing seeds inside and you can feel healthier just by adding this tiny little thing to your breads.
One more thing before you go, I just want to point out that we use two different types of grains to add to our breads in the bakery. We have a purple kibble which is grown on the South Island here in NZ. There's also red and black kibble and it has a very yeasty flavour to it so I only add a little bit to give the bread texture rather than the flavour. I did once have a kibble bread that was black as the ace of spades and tasted like eating Marmite in bread form. It made me hurl out of the car window. Just NO. Don't do that.
We also use a seven or a four seed mix that we buy in big 20kg bags from Champion. The seven seed mixture is being discontinued as far as I know but the four seed will live on. There's a mixture of linseed, soy seed and other healthy things in there and that's probably the best way to buy it. You'll get a lot of different types of seeds without having to shell out for a bag of each so mixes are a good way to go especially if you're home baking and won't use mass quanities of the stuff. Of course, you can also use places like The Bin Inn where you can buy much smaller amounts of things individually and then you can be super fussy with what seeds and grains you add.
This is also one way of taking a pretty plain bread recipe that you're sick of and making it badass and something different. So I hope you go home and try out some new seeds and grains and make your breads badass for your next lunchbox or party!
 Samantha x

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  1. Great post. I love multigrain and seed breads.

    1. Me too!
      I don't like to roll my bread in grains or seeds because I find they become too brittle and tend to fall off and cause a mess but I do like to pop them into the dough itself. It's like a little surprise with every bite :)
      Thanks for commenting, Joy!