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 kingarthur.com
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"
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 epicurious.com: 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.