Monday, November 29, 2010

Cracked Wheat Bread with Molasses

Do you like molasses? I do. Maybe it is my Pennsylvania dutch roots. I used to eat it is slathered on by bagels when I was a child. The heavier blackstrap molasses has a deeper flavorful and it is chock full of nutrients. 20% iron and 8% calcium of your daily requirements. This is in just one tablespoon, folks. If this kind is too bitter for you, there are other lighter and sweeter varieties. Just be sure that they are 100% molasses, without any corn syrup thrown in there. I found mine in the sweetener aisle. So you can have your sweets and eat them too, and then get some valuable nutrients while you are at it. Stir it into some oatmeal or have a little on toast.

About three months ago, I  decided that I was going to start making bread instead of buying it. Why, you ask? The labels drive me nuts. A whole wheat, low-fat, high-fiber bread might sound great, but flip that bad boy over and you might just see that the nutrition facts are not quite as glamorous. The second ingredient is almost always sugar. They have to use it as a filler to make up for the fat they are not adding. This is true in many fat-free and low-fat products, so be aware. Not only that, one loaf of bread is about 3 to 4 dollars. Making it myself, I can save about 50% every time!

After three months of rising and punching, and baking, I found a really great bread. The recipe I am sharing with you today is one from my sister's Moosewood Cookbook. It has a nice molasses flavor, but it is not a sweet bread. It is a soft sandwich bread. Also good for toast, or just with butter when it comes out of the oven(dangerous!). In fact, I used my leftover turkey and leftover gravy from Thanksgiving to have a hot turkey sandwich. Yum!

I also used some of the dough to make a few rolls. I just sprinkled on some cinnamon, threw in some raisins, and they were delicious - a nice change of pace from typical raisin bread. 

Cracked Wheat Bread with Molasses

          1 Tablespoon dry actiive yeast
          1/3 cup warm water(110 to 120 degrees)
          1/2 cup bulgur or cracked wheat (most stores have this)
          4 teaspoons salt
          1/4 cup molasses or honey
          3-4 Tablespoons butter
          1 1/2 cups water
          1 cup milk
          2 cups whole wheat flour
          3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour

Butter 2 - 5x9 loaf pans

Cook bulgur (or cracked wheat) in 1 1/2 cup water for 10 min. until water is absorbed. Turn off heat. Add 1/4 cup butter, 4 tsp salt, 1/4 cup molasses. Add 1 cup milk to bulgur mixture.

Proof 1 Tbs yeast in 1/3 cup warm water.

When bulgur mixture is lukewarm, add yeast mix and stir. (If it's hot, you will kill the yeast!) Add 2 cups whole wheat flour and beat well.  Add a little all-purpose flour at a time until dough is stiff enough to knead.
Knead dough for 10 minutes on a floured surface. It should be elastic and soft, not hard. Place in buttered bowl, turn to coat, cover with plastic and let rise for 1 1/2 hour in a warm place.

Punch down - knead several times.  Shape into 2 loaves and put in loaf pans - let rise 30 minutes.

Be sure to preheat the oven ahead of time. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30-35 minutes.

Makes 2 loaves, about 10 slices per loaf
About 100 calories per slice

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