40: Big Sur Bakery Hide Bread

{Edit: I tried this again in February 2012, and November 2014, with great success!}

A coworker of mine, upon hearing about my 365 recipe goal for the year, suggested the website 101 Cookbooks to me. I hadn’t actually heard of it, but I’d apparently printed out two recipes from there in the past, one of which I actually made last year. Heidi Swanson, the author, has some good recipes on there (and much better pictures than I could ever hope to take). I poked around the website a little bit, and came across a few things I want to try to make.

I’ve been preoccupied with bread recently, although I don’t really eat it that regularly. We really only keep bread around to make toast for breakfast (and on occasion garlic bread to go with dinner). I don’t even eat toast that often in the winter; I prefer a bowl of steel-cut oats when it’s cold. But I do have a fondness for English muffins, and found a recipe for Big Sur Bakery Hide Bread at 101 Cookbooks that seemed both easy and tasty.

Now, this recipe made a ton of bread. It has over 8 total cups of flour and grains in it! I made these substitutions:

Quinoa for flax seeds
Wheat bran for oat bran
More sesame seeds for sunflower seeds
I used millet
I omitted salt because my sesame seeds were already mixed with salt

I made this on Thursday night after dinner. It came together pretty quickly, although I needed a huge bowl to mix it. I used Shiner Bock since it was the mildest-flavored beer I had in the house(Alex doesn’t like beer). I had promised one of the interns at work that I would make something vegan for her while she was here this year, so I used water instead of the buttermilk or milk. I pulled out my trusty plastic ruler to measure the dough’s dimensions as I shaped it. I got precisely 15 patties out of the dough, as the recipe called for.

I think I got a little too much flour on the outside, because they didn’t really turn golden as I expected them to. I also wonder if leaving the milk out and substituting water instead hampered the chemical reactions of the baking soda, because it seemed to me that they barely rose at all. I had to use two sheets for the bread, and while I rotated the baking sheets on the racks, I did not switch the racks that they were on. It’s possible that the air circulation simply wasn’t adequate due to overcrowding.

These were dense but very tasty. The recipe said you should split and toast these like English muffins, and they were indeed best like that. They were very sesame-y since I used extra sesame seeds, and this flavor came out particularly strongly when toasted. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really split them after a couple of days because the outside had toughened up and the bread was too thin since it didn’t rise much. They still taste good, but it’s not as good as it should be that way. I don’t eat butter, the recommended accompaniment, but it was delicious with almond butter or honey, and I’m sure peanut butter would be excellent too.

I want to make this again at some point. I will halve the recipe because 15 pieces of bread is quite a bit for two people to eat. It’s 7 days of breakfast! I think 7 or 8 pieces would be more manageable. It would also mean a single baking sheet in the oven. I’ll use milk the next time to see if it makes them fluffier and if it helps them rise at all.

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