Saturday, April 11, 2009

Chris in Rhode Island's Whole Wheat Bread

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A few months ago, when I made whole-wheat bread and was complaining about how I don't much care for whole-wheat bread (something I seem to have been doing on an almost weekly basis), reader Chris in RI told me to try a recipe from King Arthur.
I was hoping to give you a link to the recipe, but I've had no success. Apparently King Arthur has some program to protect its readers' recipes from outsiders. You can get it on the King Arthur site yourself, but you have to sign in and get a password, and go through a bunch of different steps. But once you get in this privileged and secret zone, you'll find an amazing number of recipes. Here's what you do:
1. Go to
2. Click on "Community"
3. Click on "Baking Circle Message Board"
4. Sign in. (This is where you'll have to get a screen name and password if you're not already a member).
5. Click on "Recipe" tab
6. Click on "Member Recipes"
7. Click on "Search by Member"
8. Type in "Macy"
9. Scroll down to "Macy's 100% Whole Wheat Bread"
10. Voila!
Chris in RI recommended this because she said her family, who are not whole wheat lovers, love this bread. Although I kind of messed the loaf up, it's not the fault of either Chris or Macy, and I thank them both. (As an aside, several of you have been nice enough to send me recipes you think I might like--I do get around to making them eventually. They're all on my to-bake list, which increases much faster than I get around to baking things. When I retire....)
I had two problems that contributed to the bread's odd shape, which I suppose I will have to show you eventually. First, I misjudged the size of loaf pan I should use. I put it in my biggest pan because I thought there was more dough than there turned out to be. I took out enough dough to make six dinner rolls, and still thought I had enough for a big loaf pan. I could tell right away it was going to be a problem because I could barely see it in the bottom of the pan, but I decided to forge ahead. Second, I was using the oven for other things all afternoon, so I had to put off baking the bread, and I think I folded it one too many times. Third, I was having guests for dinner, and by the time the oven was ready, the bread wasn't, but it had to be, so I just put it in the oven. The rolls turned out great.

The bread tasted excellent; it was just, shall we say, aesthetically lacking.

I am filled with admiration for Macy, whoever she might be. Macy is the kind of baker who tweaks recipes many times until she gets them perfect. And she is scrupulously detailed in her directions about mixing and shaping. She also has many hints, which, if you get around to reading them, would be quite helpful. Such as: "Press the dough into the pan with your palm so that it fills into the corners a bit and has a nice, even top." Did I do this? No. Should I have done this? Yes.

See? It looks like it has a goiter. That's because it wasn't even when I put it in the pan, and one side heaved up even more while it was baking.

While I was making Chris and Macy's bread, I tasted a bit of dough. I made a terrible face. "Ugh! This is so bitter," I complained to myself. "See, this is my gripe against whole-grain bread." But don't judge a bread by its dough. The bread itself wasn't bitter at all; on the contrary, it was tender, mellow, and sweet. It really is a 100% whole-wheat loaf that's perfect for people who complain repeatedly about whole-wheat bread. In fact, I liked the taste even better than some breads that are only about 30% whole wheat. Macy says that it's the egg that counteracts the bitterness, although I think that in her heart of hearts, Macy has no truck with people who claim that whole wheat is bitter.
In case you were wondering what was in the oven all afternoon, I made a fabulous dish from salmon with pearl couscous and slow-roasted tomatoes with lemon oregano oil. It was wonderful, and, although it looks fancy, it was easy. But it does require roasting plum tomatoes in a 250-degree oven for about 2 1/2 hours.


Doughadear said...

I am not a fan of 100% whole-wheat bread as I have probably mentioned before. When I have made it in the past I've loved it just freshly baked but was not crazy about it the day after. Your rave review has me wanting to try this recipe as I am certainly up for baking a healthier bread so thank you for the link.
I love epicurious and your salmon tomato dish looks wonderful.

Melinda said...

I will have to try this out too. I certainly looks excellent sliced.
I love the goiter description.

breadbasketcase said...

I had some as toast this morning, and it was still quite good. I think I forgot to mention it, but it would also make good hamburger buns.

It was one for the brown bag.

Anonymous said...

Just so you know, I gave a little gasp when I saw the title of your post (what can I say, I'm a little bread-nerdy!).

I'm so glad you tried this and liked it! I really can take no credit for the recipe other than revealing the convoluted path to the KA member recipes (I love the recipes, and the folks there are a wonderful resource, but I find the forum itself somewhat clunky and quirky to use).

I think I read somewhere on the forum that "Macy" had a science background, and that thoroughness shows up in her recipes. That style of writing and testing appeals to my left brain leanings! And I agree with your assessment of Macy's feelings about whole wheat, many of her recipes are whole grain, and I look to her recipes when I am feeling like I need to be a little more wholesome.

I was so pleased to be able to point you to a "true" whole wheat loaf that you found tasty. After the 2+ years of enjoyment you have given me with your blog, I was glad to be able to give you a little something in return.

Best to you and your intrepid photographer,

Chris in RI

breadbasketcase said...

Chris in RI,
I'm so glad you happened on this post! And I was also somewhat relieved to like the bread--when I grimaced upon tasting the dough, I was thinking I'd hate to have to give it a bad review.
Intrepid photographer reads all comments and silently returns your good wishes. Me too.

evil cake lady said...

Marie, your bread has a nice shiny crisp crust, even if it does have a goiter. I'm glad that your whole wheat bread tasted better than you thought it would. Tell us more about your salmon and roasted tomatoes!

breadbasketcase said...

I forgot to say that you mix up an egg white with a little water and brush that wash over the bread or rolls. It does make a pretty crust. The roasted tomatoes are plum tomatoes cut in half and slow-baked (about 250) for around 2 1/2 hours, with oil, garlic, fresh oregano and fresh basil. After the tomatoes come out of the oven, you strain the olive oil and mix it with more oregano, lemon juice, lemon peel, and salt and pepper. The oil is drizzled on the roasted salmon (500 degrees, about 12 minutes) and on the couscous. The salmon is also topped with sliced kalamata olives. Delicious! If you try it, roast more tomatoes than the recipe calls for because 1) they shrink and 2) they're so good.

Bunny said...

This looks good dispite the goiter. I love the crust on it!

jini said...

looks like another successful baking experience marie. you are going to learn to love this healthy stuff!! i can't wait to make those tomatoes. they look like a fresh from the garden treat for this summer!

breadbasketcase said...

The crust is pretty, isn't it? I especially liked how it looked on the rolls (which didn't have goiters).

We'll see about the heatlhy stuff. The great thing about this method of cooking tomatoes is that even winter tomatoes, which I usually don't even bother with, are packed with flavor. But I'm sure they'd be even better with garden tomatoes.

Katy said...

I'm a big KAF fan and a member of their forum. Many many nice folks there, as well as some terrific recipes. I had given up on finding a WW bread recipe as I was thinking it was an acquired taste. Like anchovies LOL

breadbasketcase said...

I'm a member of the forum too, but didn't use it much--I have to thank Chris for showing me how to get into all the member recipes. You might want to give this recipe a try--it's better than anchovies.