Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Midweek Roundup: A "Fabulously Versatile" Loaf

Photo by Jeniffer
The Lone Baker Blog

I was surprised to see that, as of Tuesday morning, fewer than ten of us got out our yeast and our rising buckets to bake this lovely loaf of bread, but maybe a few more will get to it later this week.  (They did).  Or maybe those of us facing the smoke from forest fires just don't have the heart to turn on their ovens.  Whatever the reason, I encourage you to try this bread, whether you make it for the cheese tray or for breakfast toast.

And, lest you think that I just have some crazy attachment to this bread and nobody else liked it, let me tell you that is far from the truth.  Here is how Kim described it:  "It's beautifully earthy and honest in its flavours.  The slightly bitter nuts with the whole wheat, and the ferment of the yeast make a bread that is satisfying alone or as a sandwich or dress it up with cheese."   In fact, as luck would have it, Kim is taking the bread on a trek up a mountain with her husband when, according to their tradition, they will tear off pieces of bread for each other and ponder life's meaning.  (That's a heavy assignment for mere bread, but I'm sure that this bread will be up to the challenge).

Katya used the vital wheat gluten and a farmer's market flour that was not whole wheat, so her loaf is higher and less dense than some of the other photos.  The first sentence in her blog says it all:  "Bread is so wonderful."

Faithy had a love/hate relationship with this bread.  She described it as "feeling like a cross between a door-stop and a brick," and "so heavy and hard" that you could do serious harm to someone if you flung it at them.  (Not that Faithy is a bread-throwing kind of person).  On the other hand, she couldn't stop eating it.  It was "chewy and fun to eat" and she "quite enjoyed it."  Even after four days, she was still "addicted" to it.  Now if only all the rest of us would put down our weapons and eat them (admittedly easier to do if the missile is a loaf of bread).

Lovely to see Alice blogging again--she's been on a bit of a hiatus.  She first made this bread last winter, and it's quickly become a favorite.  She has now tweaked it by adding raisins and using part white flour instead of 100% whole wheat.  Her favorite way to eat it?  With butter and honey.  In fact, she likes it so much that she makes a bigger recipe (1.5 times) so she gets two small loaves.

Michele decided to increase the recipe by 2.44 times (you'll have to go to her blog to see why she made that decision), and, not surprisingly, ended up with a super-crusty sky-high loaf of bread.  She liked it served "thinly sliced, lightly toasted and served with shaved Gruyere and crumbled blue cheese."  "Delicious!"

Jeniffer, in the depths of winter in Australia, found this bread to be the perfect antidote to her area's threatened snowfall:  the base for a hearty grilled cheese sandwich served with warming pumpkin soup.  It even sounds good to those of us who think August means sweat, not snow.  Jenniffer also suggested that a small loaf, along with a "chunk of blue or a bottle of red" would make a "unique and welcome hostess gift."

Rachel was a little worried about the outcome of this project since her yeast was past its expiration date.  But, when she returned home after leaving the dough to do its second rise, she was surprised to see that the yeast still had plenty of oomph, and had risen enthusiastically past its marker.  The only problem she had was the helping hand of her 14-year-old daughter, who discovered that toasted walnuts make an excellent snack.

It took Tony a whole day of reflection to decide what cheese to pair with this "wonderful walnut loaf."  He finally stopped by his local farmer's market and "decided on a local goat's milk cheese called 'Fresh Chevre Plain Capra Gla.'  The taste is very acidic, tart and tangy, smooth and creamy," and it proved to be a "perfect match" for the bread.

Milagritos described her bread as a near failure, all "slumpy and slouchy" looking.  She attributed the lack of good looks to the bread's resentment at being stared at--even though the stare was "loving."  Still, what the bread lacked in looks, in made up for in flavor, especially when pan-fried in olive oil and served with fresh-from-the-hen eggs, also fried in olive oil.  I think that's going to be my breakfast tomorrow.

Although Hanaa hasn't posted her bread yet, I saw a picture of it on Facebook and know she made it. In fact, she divided the dough and made both the walnut bread and some Moroccan-style rolls, without the nuts.  Her bread is lighter in color than most because she used white whole wheat flour and lighter in texture because she used part white flour and oiled her hands (rather than using extra flour) to handle the sticky dough.

Kristina's version was unique because she, like the Little Red Hen, ground the flour herself with the handy-dandy flour mill her husband got her for her birthday.  She took the resulting bread, along with some blue cheese, on a holiday weekend with friends--the bread (but not the cheese) got unanimous rave reviews.  Kristina also announced that she's going to see Rose next week where Rose, as part of her visit to Toronto to see their granddaughter swim in the Parapan American Games, will visit Golda's Kitchen.  Give Rose a hug from all of us who can't be there!

Aimee, a self-admitted whole wheat bread-hater, tried this recipe with a pretty open mind, although she did use white whole wheat flour instead of the regular version.  And she admitted that it was kind of a "clean out the pantry" bread, with toasted sesame seeds filling in for part of the walnuts, and sesame oil substituting for part of the canola oil.  "Even my household white-bread eaters liked it!" Wish Aimee luck this weekend, as she bakes up a storm with her fair baking entries!

Next up:  This Monday is one of our quarterly "Catch-Up Weeks."  This is the week to make that (fill in the blank) you never got around to making, or even to post that (fill in the blank) that you baked but never got around to posting about.  Or to make a variation of something you liked.  The newer bakers especially have lots of choices, but most of us have at least a few things we haven't made yet, and we're already almost a third of the way through the book!


  1. I made this last weekend but haven't gotten a chance to blog about it. It will be for the Catch Up Week :).

  2. Great photo Jeniffer. This bread seems to be a winner. I'll be finishing mine off this evening and I hope it's as successful as the others.

  3. Everyone's bread just looks marvelous and I can see enjoying it with cheese and apples and jam and slathered butter, and even old fav raisin bread. Marie's usual fascinating storylines always lead seamlessly along. Thanks Marie!

  4. Great picture, Jeniffer! Everyone's bread turned out so nice it inspired me to carry on and so glad. It's a nice recipe.

  5. Picture perfect Jeniffer! I still think about this bread sometimes.. I think maybe I secretly like it.. lol!

  6. LOL Faithy you make me laugh perhaps you do secretly like it ! Thank you so much Marie for using my photo :) Everyone baked great loaves this week… such a nice bread recipe. ---- Jeniffer