November 28, 2010

Honey-Spelt Bread

Filed under: Cooking, Food, Personal Blog, Recipes — marcstober @ 9:24 am

Here’s the recipe for the rolls I brought to Thanksgiving dinner.

I came up with this recipe while searching for a way to make egg-free challah and while this isn’t quite challah (although it can be braided if you like) found it to be a great rich, vegan homemade bread recipe. Whole spelt flour has the heartiness of whole wheat flour without the roughness.

My own experience is that while bread machines were a gimmick, a good stand mixer is essential to making homemade bread. This lets you keep the dough rather sticky, which is impossible to knead by by hand, and gives better results. (An extreme version of this principle is the New York Times’ No-Knead Bread Recipe.) There is no virtue in hard work of kneading by hand–do you really think any commercial bread you enjoy is completely hand-kneaded? (My wife bought me a mint-green KitchenAid Artisan a few years ago, so there are probably other brands that work, but I haven’t researched them.)

Put in mixer:

3 cups King Arthur unbleached white flour

2 cups whole spelt flour

¼ cup wheat gluten

1 packet instant yeast

1 ½ tsp salt

Mix for a minute to combine these ingredients. Then mix in gradually:

¼ cup honey (I like clover honey from a single source if I can find it)

6 tbsp Crisco (I said this was egg-less, not good for you! :))

1-2 cups water

Add water gradually so that puddles do not form in the mixer, until it is slightly sticker than you could knead by hand, but still doughy, then knead for at least 2 minutes (depending on your mixer, the time may vary) so it cleans the sides of the bowl and looks like bread dough.

Place in a bowl sprayed with cooking spray, cover loosely, and leave it to rise. If you want it to rise slowly (all day/overnight), you can put in the fridge.

(Alternatively, I find that a way to make it rise quickly–in an hour or two–is to put on the stove [turned off!], with the hot halogen floodlights of my range hood above, to give it just a tiny amount of heat, taking advantage of the greenhouse effect by covering loosely with clear plastic wrap. Which really just proves that halogen lights are inefficient and, when the prices come down, we should all switch to more environmentally-friendly LED’s…but that’s another topic.)

When it has risen, punch down, knead a bit on a floured board, shape, and place on a nonstick (maybe greased or parchment-lined if you don’t have nonstick) dark baking sheet. If making a challah, you can sprinkle with some sugar to give it a bit of a glaze (thought it won’t be like the traditional egg wash). Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-45 minutes. Enjoy fresh from the oven, or freeze and reheat.

Tip: The wheat gluten is very sticky. I recommend washing the mixer parts with hot water and a paper towel you can throw away as it will get stuck in the holes of a sponge or scrubbing pad.