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Advent Meditation on Joseph

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Friday, January 16, 2009

BREAD RECIPE FOR STRUAN
Our bread for "BREAD and BIBLE STUDY" this Sunday

STRUAN (by Peter Reinhart from his book “Bread Upon the Waters” - a good book to have and cherish)

Makes 1 loaf
2 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
3 tablespoons uncooked polenta (coarse cornmeal)
3 tablespoons rolled oats (or instant oats)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons wheat bran (untoasted if possible)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast (or 1 1/4 tablespoons active dry yeast dissolved in 4 tablespoons warm water)
3 tablespoons cooked brown rice (this is a small amount – you can make some and freeze the rest for use in your next loaf or make the bread when you have some leftover rice or just omit)
1 1/2 tablespoons honey (non stick spray on your measuring spoon makes the honey slide right off!)
1/3 cup buttermilk (low-fat or whole milk can be substituted)Approximately
3/4 cup water (room temperature)
1 tablespoon poppy seeds (optional; for the top)

Mixing
Mix all the ingredients, including the salt and yeast, in a large bowl, stirring to distribute. Add the cooked rice, honey and buttermilk, and mix. Then add 1/2 cup of water, reserving the rest for adjustments during kneading. With your hands squeeze the ingredients together until they make a ball, adding more water as needed, until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated into the dough ball. Sprinkle some flour on the counter and turn the ball out of the bowl and begin kneading. Add additional water or flour as needed.

Kneading by Hand
It will take about 10 to 15 minutes to knead by hand. The dough will change before your eyes, lightening in color, becoming gradually more elastic and evenly grained. The finished dough should be tacky but not sticky, lightly golden, stretchy and elastic rather than porridge-like. When you push the heels of your hands into the dough, it should give way but not tear. If it flakes or crumbles, add a little more water; if it is sticky, sprinkle in more flour.

Fermentation
Clean out and dry the mixing bowl. Wipe the inside of the bowl with a little oil, or mist with vegetable oil pan spray. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap or place the bowl in a plastic bag. Allow the dough to ferment in a warm place for about 90 minutes, or until it has roughly doubled in size (it may take a shorter or longer time, depending on the temperature).

Forming the Loaf
This recipe makes 1 regular-size loaf of bread (about 1 1/2 pounds finished weight). Because the dough is relaxed and supple, and already scaled for one loaf, it can be shaped without first rounding and resting.

Shape the dough into a loaf by pressing it out from the center with the heels of the hands, gently flattening it into a rough rectangle and punching it down, degassing it. Then roll the dough up into a cigar shape, and a seam forms. Tuck the end flaps into the seam, and pinch the seam closed with either your fingers or the edge of your hand, sealing it as best you can. Place the loaf, seam side down, in a greased 9” by 4 1/2” bread pan. Spray the top with water and sprinkle on the poppy seeds. Cover and allow the dough to proof until it crests over the top of the pan, approximately 90 minutes.

Baking and Cooling
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (300 degrees if convection). Bake the loaf for approximately 45 minutes. The loaf should dome nicely and be dark gold. The sides and bottom should be a uniform light golden brown and there should be an audible thwack (or thunk) when you tap the bottom of the loaf. An insta-read thermometer should read 190 degree when placed into the center of the loaf. If the loaf is dark on the top but too light or soft on the sides and bottom, return the loaf, not in the pan, to the oven, and finish baking it for a few minutes more, until it is thwackable. Bear in mind that the bread will cook much faster once it is removed from the pan, so keep a close eye on it.Allow the bread to cool on a rack thoroughly, at least 40 minutes, before slicing it.

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