When I lost my job in 2009, I was not overly sad about it. An increasingly stressful work environment had awarded my neck and back muscles with intransigent knots. I resolved that since my severance package was fair, I would enjoy the first extended vacation of my life before job hunting began in earnest.
One evening soon after, my husband made a casual remark about how great it would be to be able to go to a bakery like we’ve enjoyed in Quebec City and the UK where we bought real crusty bread. And wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to get true whole grain bread too, that would be really healthy for someone with diabetes? I remember that conversation as a “light bulb” moment. I had to learn to make bread–bread that was flavorful and healthy for us and heck, maybe I could make it attractive, too.
After a bit of research online, I ordered Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads from Amazon.com. I read it from the beginning and was hooked! Peter anticipated that when the Atkins and South Beach diet crazes waned in popularity, there would be a renewal of interest in “high-quality, whole grain artisanal breads.” He was prophetic, of course.
In Whole Grain Breads, Peter implements a method that he developed involving a “delayed fermentation” process. His recipes show how whole grain breads can be very flavorful, healthful, and NOT brick-like. (In a future blog I will confess, however, to making several bricks.) A friend told me just the other day that since bread has been around for thousands of years, the likelihood of anyone coming up with a genuinely new recipe for bread is pretty remote. I didn’t contradict him, but I do want to emphasize here that it’s not the ingredients that make new bread recipes–it’s what the baker does with the ingredients.
Some of my favorite recipes from Whole Grain Breads are: Potato Rosemary Bread, Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread (I challenge anyone to make a better cinnamon raisin bread), Whole Wheat Challah, Steamed Boston Brown Bread, Transitional German-Style Many Seed Bread and Whole Wheat Pizza Dough. If you’re interested in making whole grain bread, I highly recommend Peter Reinhart’s book. Read it and get pumped about really good bread.