Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 42: Millet Bread

I am seriously falling behind in preparing 50 new recipes in 50 days, so it's catch-up time.  This morning I made Millet Bread from The Greens Cook Book to serve with our dinner tonight.

Bread dough with egg wash ready for the oven.

I was very curious to see how this bread would turn out.  The millet is supposed to give the bread a crunchy texture and a grainy sweetness.  You could really smell the millet after I removed the loaves from the oven.   I was surprised at the light brown color.  I was expecting a darker color since there was 5 cups of whole wheat flour in the dough.  

The millet gave the bread a nice crunchy texture.

The bread had a really nice texture that was firm, but not too dry.  The bread was dense, and had a crackling crunch to the bite that took me a minute to get used to.  (It reminded me of toasted rice on a Thai salad.)

I love the bread recipes from The Greens Cook Book, but for some reason the loaves do not get that nice dome top after the final rise.  The recipe calls for the sponge to rise, then the dough to rise, then a punch down and rise again, then forming the loaves and a final rise before baking.  I think next time I make the bread I'll form the loaves and put them in the pans after I punch down the dough, and then let it rise in the pans and bake, skipping the final rise called for in the book.

Millet Bread
The Greens Cook Book
Yield:  2 loaves

2 cups whole millet
1 1/4 cups hot water for soaking millet
3 packages dry yeast (2 tbsp)
2 cups warm water
2 tbsp honey
1 cup unbleached white flour
6 to 7 cups whole wheat flour
3 tbsp corn oil
1 tbsp salt
1 egg plus 1 tbsp milk or water, beaten, for egg wash

     Start the millet soaking in the hot water.  Use very hot tap water, but not boiling water, which will make the millet too soft.
     Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a large bowl; then stir in the honey, white flour, and 1 1/2 cups of the whole wheat flour.  Beat vigorously with a spoon to form a smooth, thin batter.  Cover and set aside to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
     Stir in the corn oil, salt, and millet, including any of the water that has not been absorbed.  Then fold in about 3 cups whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup at a time, turning the bowl a quarter turn between folds to approximate the action of kneading.  When the dough is too thick to fold in any more flour, turn it out onto a floured work surface, and knead, adding only enough flour to keep it from sticking.
     When the dough is smooth and elastic, after 5 to 8 minutes of kneading, place it in a clean, oiled bowl, and turn it over so the top is coated with oil.  Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.  Punch the dough down, and let it rise again, about 35 minutes.
     Shape the dough into loaves and place them in oiled bread pans.  Let them rise until they have doubled in size, about 25 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Brush the tops of the loaves with the egg wash.  Bake until nicely browned on the top and sides, about 50 to 60 minutes.

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