Monday, September 19, 2011

Healthy Bread - Update

**Update: I didn't expect so many people to say they would try this book. If you're interested in trying HBI5 before buying the book there's a how-to video on the Master Recipe here. I think the video's pretty good. Feel free to contact me with any specific questions. I'd be happy to help! You can also check it out at the library to see how you like it before purchasing it. That's what I did. :-)**

A few months ago I watched Michael Pollan on Oprah. I've yet to read any of his books but they're on my To Read list. His words on that one episode (along with a few eye-opening food documentaries) have had a profound impact on the way I eat and the way I feed my family.

During the show he listed a few rules that he eats by. He only listed a few but they got me thinking. I found this list online and the first few sound very familiar. Eat food. Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food. Avoid food products containing ingredients no ordinary human would keep in the pantry. I've been reading labels and try not to buy foods with lots of crazy ingredients that I don't understand. I assume they're preservatives and unnatural things that make the stuff last longer on the shelf and appear edible.

So I try to prepare everything that I can and avoid packaged foods as much as possible. One thing that started standing out to me was bread. I'd been buying whole wheat bread to be healthy but the list of ingredients was astounding. Maybe the stuff from the grocery store bakery would be better. Nope. That's when I heard about this book, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

I'm completely obsessed. I haven't bought a loaf of bread in 2 months.

My first loaf. Master Recipe with a mixture of seeds on top. I was so proud. This bread comes out with an amazing crust. It reminds me of a french baguette. Most of the recipes do require some white flour but they use mainly whole wheat flour. There's no sugar in the main recipes. The ones that do require sugar are usually unrefined types like honey or raw sugar and the amounts are less than the same type of bread elsewhere.

Word of caution: If you think of trying these recipes note that they do require a fair amount of inactive prep time. Time spent on the bread includes mixing up the ingredients (takes me 10 minutes and one batch makes anywhere from 3-5 loaves depending on how big I make them). Then it rests on the counter for 2 hours or overnight. Then it rests in the fridge for at least 3 hours. On baking day you tear of a piece of dough and, for an oval loaf like this one, you handle it for about 30 seconds to shape it. Then it rests for 90 minutes. Then it bakes for 30 minutes. The amount of time I actually spend hands-on with the bread is minimal but you couldn't really come home from work and bake a loaf for dinner that night.

Hamburger Buns and Hot Dog Buns. These were ok. This was my first try. I've actually gotten much better at the hamburger buns. I needed to flatten them out a lot before resting. That way they come out more like buns and less like dinner rolls. These actually kind of reminded me of those hard rolls we used to eat brats on in Germany. I'm not completely sold on the hot dog buns, though. I'm used to a much softer bread for hot dogs and these came out a bit hard. I'll probably give it another shot, though, before throwing in the towel.

Dude. I made bagels. Cinnamon and raisin bagels. I did. I formed them, boiled them, and then baked them. They were super delicious. Solana, Chloe, and I ate them for breakfast but Dave didn't get any because the process took a bit longer than I'd anticipated. They're also better the first day. We toasted them the next day and they were still good but not fantastic like the 1st day. I haven't made them again just because of how much work went into them. I will, though.

Quinoa Bread. I LOVE QUINOA! It's so good for you! I keep a three ring binder with recipes and I need to add a divider for quinoa. In fact, this recipe is what attracted me to this book in the first place. This is what the dough looks like right before baking (sesame seeds sprinkled on top). The close-up is with sesame seeds. You can also see the little quinoa seeds baked in. The next is with the seed mixture the book recommends.

Quinoa Sandwich Loaf. I used the quinoa bread dough and just followed the instructions for making a Hearty Sandwich Loaf with the Master Recipe. I think I actually like this loaf better. It's a little softer. And the quinoa on top came out a bit crunchy while the seeds inside cooked up nice and soft.

Braided Challah with Whole Wheat and Wheat Germ. This might be the bread I've been most proud of. I actually braided bread! The instructions in the book made it so easy! And we really enjoyed eating it. I sliced pieces for sandwiches one day. I put some fancy mustard down, cold cuts, cheese, and melted it under the broiler. On the other slice I smeared avocado, added lettuce and slices of tomato. Great weekend lunch.

Turkish Style Pita Bread. Master recipe. This one is so easy and soooo good! Roll out the dough, rub olive oil on top, sprinkle seeds. If you over bake it just a tad they come out crispy like pita chips. Otherwise it's heavenly pita bread. I made a huge batch of roasted red pepper hummus so I ended up making pita bread twice in a week. Mmmmmm..

Apple Strudel Bread. I used the Challah bread dough for this one. I rolled out the dough and topped it with a mixture of chopped apples, raisins, raw sugar, and cinnamon. Then I rolled it up jellyroll style and put it in a loaf pan. Sprinkled more raw sugar and cinnamon on top. Yum!!! We were supposed to wait for it to cool before slicing but the wait was killing us. The house smelled so good! I put the bread on a cooling rack and then set it over the ac vent to cool it faster. Hahaha! This one was also kind of bad because I couldn't stop eating it. I think I took a slice every time I walked through the kitchen that day!


Melissa said...

Cyndi! These are magnificent. I am so proud of you ;-) I found out how much junk was in store-bought bread when I had to do a special diet before my radioactive iodine treatment for thyroid cancer. Surprising, isn't it?

Grammy said...

I am now so hungry for Bread!Cynthia,they look beautiful and delicious.I could smell them over here!

carol anne said...

I am so impressed! Once Upon a Time, I loved my bread maker... Maybe I will have to grab that book ~ hmmm
I recently heard about the "Cave Man" diet and it really intrigues me. It is along the same lines it seems, it's about not eating anything that a Cave Man couldn't have -- but it's also no bread, pasta, etc Which I think is just ridiculous LOL
Feel free to mail me some bread along with my beer!

The Hillbergs said...

SOLD! I want that book and I want to make bread like you! Wow, so impressed! Actually, i haven't made bread since we got to Korea. I've got my sourdough starter in the freezer, just was needing a little push to get started with the proofing process. If you haven't bought bread in 2 months, that means this is a sustainable dietary change - we're going to do it! Do you have a bread slicer? Whenever I slice a loaf of bread with a knife, its always fat at one end and razor thin at the other.

Kim said...

So does Cyndi's bakery take special orders? You wouldn't have to deliver, I'll come get it. And I'll pay you. Or at the very least, can you come to my house and give me lessons? ;-) I'm definitely going to invest in this book. The bread was super yummy and it looks like you're really getting the hang of it now. So proud of you!

Emily and Troy Williams said...

Please move closer so that I can hire you as my personal chef. :)

A Goldsworthy Note said...

OMG, Cynthia, I have been excited to look at your post since we got off of the phone yesterday. You know my initial reacion "they're beautiful, it looks like bakery bread!" You've inspired me to not be intimidated anymore, to move beyond my rosemary bread, and make bread! You crack me up that you actually put the bread near the ac...although it sounds like something I'd do. haha. Wait for bread? Cruel! Thanks for sharing your bread test out mailing bread. hahaha.

Holbergs said...

Whoa! You've really started something here! You need to link this to your FB pages so everyone can see this! I'm ready to try it! They all look so yummy!!!!

Holbergs said...

BTW- I know what we're doing when you come home for Christmas!!!!

Ann said...

I keep meaning to buy this book. This makes me think
I need it even more. Inspiring

Megan B ♥ said...

A LOOOOT of people have tried to convince me to become a homemade bread maker. YOU may be the person that has finally convinced me.