I never thought I would dream (literally) about baking bread...until this week. I started making bread from this cookbook this week and it is seriously the best whole grain bread I have ever tasted!! The author/chef's goal was "to make world-class bread and, let us hope, to make whole grain bread that people will actually want to eat - not just because it is good for them but because it brings them, and us, joy with each bite." Let me tell you, the goal was accomplished! And I've turned into a baking fool!
His cookbook begins with about 80 pages of non-recipe text: Chapter 1, "Following the Flavor: A Bread Baker's Journey Back to whole Grains," Chapter 2, "From Wheat to Eat, a Tutorial," and Chapter 3, "The Theory and Process of Delayed Fermentation." It includes all kinds of helpful (and much of it quite scientific) information. I devoured it and learned a lot...and will continually refer to it.
I have been searching for years for the perfect whole wheat bread recipe. Most I have tried were decent, yummy, but had flaws. And most were not true whole-grain (they all required a bit of white flour). The recipes in this book are truly whole grain and truly flavorful, light, moist, with a great crust & crumb. This excites me even more because it means the wheat in my food storage can be used without supplementing with bread flour - wahoo! There are recipes that also incorporate other grains, such as flaxseed, quinoa, oat bran, amaranth, barley, buckwheat, cassava, corn, millet, rye, etc. I feel healthier already.
This is not a cookbook for someone who likes to whip out a batch of bread from start to finish in one hour. The recipes are not terribly time consuming or hard, but it is a two-day process as you have to let things sit overnight. It might be a little advanced for those who have never made bread before. His method is unconventional, but the results are fantastic. Well let me just say it with pictures:
The first loaves I made (whole wheat sandwich bread & oat bran broom bread baguettes) I didn't take pictures - they got eaten too fast. Here is my most recent loaf, Anadama Bread, made with 100% whole wheat & corn meal & flavored with a bit of molasses. Can't wait to dig in:This is the wild yeast starter I'm working on...which he teaches you how to do. It uses no commercial yeast, but as you can see on day 4 mine is bubbling away nicely. Can't wait to use it:
Tonight I'm trying his whole wheat pizza crust, and tomorrow I'm making something called "Power Bread" which uses wheat, oat bran, a raisin puree, sunflower seed flour, flaxseeds, and sesame seeds. Sounds dense and heavy, right? Trust me, it won't be...this book is amazing.