Sunday, March 9, 2014

Diane's 5-Grain Bread

If you loved Diane's Whole Wheat Bread, you should try this 5-grain variation!  It is hearty without being too dense.  My kids love this bread just as much as the whole wheat bread, so I decided to make it last week because I was running low on bread flour!

Yes, those loaves are cooling on top of my washing machine (which is in my much-hated kitchen); I was also running a little low on counter space (as always, hence my kitchen hatred). 

The bread slices up really well.  My mother-in-law also makes these into dinner rolls, and I think that may be my favorite!

The method is essentially identical to the whole wheat bread.  You might want to check out The Beast's videos on kneading and loaf shaping if you haven't already.

So here's Diane sharing her recipe with a couple notes from me, mostly because I didn't have all the ingredients and made a couple substitutions

Diane’s Five Grain Bread
This recipe makes four loaves of bread and is a staple food in our household. My husband grew up eating bread every day and at every meal. He still does! He loves this recipe. It is a variation of my Whole Wheat Bread recipe with more complex flavors. It is a very hearty, yet finely textured bread that is great for sandwiches, toast, or made into dinner rolls. Once again, the inspiration for it comes from The Tassajara Bread Book.

I raise my bread in an oven that has been heated to a low temperature, 75 to 100 degrees, and then turned off. Any temperature above that will kill the yeast, and the bread will not rise.

Here’s how to make the bread:

Heat the oven to 75 degrees, and then turn it off. In a very large stainless steel or ceramic bowl, add the ingredients below to make a sponge. The sponge, when completed, will be beatable and look like a thick mud. You will need a two gallon capacity bowl. The bowl size matters! If your bowl is too small, the sponge will bubble over the top and end up on the bottom of your oven. Take it from me, this is not fun to clean up!

Stir together until yeast is completely dissolved:
6 cups warm water
2 T. dry yeast --- I use Red StarYeast. (I get it in a jar and store it in the fridge after it is opened.)
½ cup of honey

Add and stir in, one cup at a time, 7 cups of flour:
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 cup oat flour (Bob’s Red Mill makes this)
1 cup rye flour (I substituted spelt flour)
½ cup soy flour (Bob’s Red Mill) (I substituted millet flour)
½ cup cornmeal

Beat the dough about 100 times. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel, and raise the sponge for one hour. The dough will be bubbling due to the yeast activity when you take it out.

Remove the sponge from the oven. Stir it down, folding in the following ingredients as you go:
¾ cup vegetable oil --- I use safflower or canola (I use olive)
2 T. salt

Add and stir in one cup at a time, 7 more cups of flour:
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 cup oat flour
1 cup rye flour (still subbed spelt flour)
½ cup soy flour (still subbed millet flour)
½ cup cornmeal

Knead on a well- floured surface, adding more flour as needed. The dough will start out very sticky, and as you add more flour it will form into a ball. Flour your hands and push the dough down and forward, turning it a ¼ turn each time, until the ball of dough is elastic and shiny. Kneading usually takes me 5 minutes or so.

Re-heat the oven to 75 degrees, and then turn it off. Wash out and dry your bowl, and then rub oil in it. Place the ball of dough, top side down, into the bowl. Flip the ball over so that the oiled side is up. Cover with a cloth. Raise in the oven for 50 minutes.

Remove the bowl from the oven, and punch down the dough with your fist several times. Cover with a cloth. Re-heat oven to 75 degrees again, and then turn it off. Raise in the oven for 40 minutes.

Now to shape the dough! Remove the bowl from the oven and punch the dough down. Divide it into 4 balls. Let them rest on a floured surface for 5 minutes. Shape the balls into 4 loaves. Do this by kneading and turning the dough about 5 or 6 times. Roll up the dough into a log shape, then turn it over and pinch the seam together all the way along it.

Brea has made of video of The Beasst showing how he forms the bread into loaves. A great tutorial! You can find it here.

Use butter or oil to coat the bottom and sides of the loaf baking pans. (Brea and I use glass loaf pans.) Place loaves seam side down into the pans and cover with a towel. Re-heat the oven to 75 degrees again, and then turn it off. Raise the loaves for 20 minutes. Remove loaves from oven. You are now ready to bake the bread!

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Bake the loaves until golden brown on the tops and sides. Baking in my oven takes about 55 minutes. If you are using metal pans, bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.

Remove the loaves from the oven and let them cool for about 5 minutes. Turn the loaves out of their pans and cool them on a wire rack.

Then eat and enjoy!

This bread freezes well and makes great sandwiches and toast. The dough can also be formed into dinner rolls. Each ball of dough makes one loaf of bread or 12 rolls. I bake my rolls on sturdy cookie sheets that have sides all around. One sheet can hold 24 rolls. I bake the rolls at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Knees out

Guess who's running again, and looking super dorky doing it?  THIS GIRL!!!

A few months ago, I got a cortisone injection in my foot.  Afterwards, I was very cautious about starting to run again - or doing anything else that might injure my foot.  A couple weeks after the injection, it was feeling great.  I was finally able to stand around the house without pain, so I started walking.  I started with a quarter mile and worked up to 3 miles. 

After the new year, I saw a physical therapist again.  She cleared me to run a minute at a time, and I've been working up from there.

She also analyzed my gait, from which I got some very good news:  my gait isn't all that funky.  Meaning what led to the surgery wasn't the way I was running, but really was the shape of the head of my femur.  And that means my physical therapist doesn't expect to see me injured so severely again!  Cheers for no more surgery!!!

What little I am cleaning up about my gait is what is holding me back from running more/further/longer, but that is ok by me.  Every time I have tried to get back to running since my hip surgery almost 17 months ago, I have ended up with a new injury.  I'm cool taking it slow and re-training my brain and my various muscles to run correctly!

What I'm changing about my gait is two-fold:
1.  On my right side (where I had hip surgery), the muscles around my hip don't always fire completely right, and my right knee falls slightly inward.  Occasionally my knees even knock together (but it's entirely the fault of that right side - the left side looks fine).  This creates a whole chain reaction that ends with my right foot being whipped around, sometimes kicking myself in the left calf, and generally putting unnecessary straight on my hip and knee.

2.  I land a little harder on my left (non-surgical side, formerly stress fractured) foot, and in slow motion video it appears I'm actually over-striding and heal-striking on that foot while landing mid-foot on the right.  My physical therapist likened this to a realllllllly subtle limp - like I'm possibly subconsciously still protecting my right hip.

How I'm changing my gait is with cues and counting.  The cue for my knee is simple:  "knees out."  And it works!  In video of me on a treadmill, you can tell even without sound when my physical therapist tells me to start cuing.

For the uneven stride, I'm just counting in my head in a monotone and thinking musically about a fairly long, unaccented meter (usually 11/4).  My musical background comes in handy again!

I'm running and walking in intervals, so one running interval I'm to cue "knees out" and on the next I'm working to even out my stride.  This is fine when I'm running 1 or 2 minutes at a time.  I'm currently at 4 minutes running with a 1 minute walk break...and my brain just cannot stay focused on these things for that long.  Running is usually when I most let my mind wander!

This week, I got creative.  I did the usual cuing for my first two intervals, and then I came up with a funny way to combine them:  military cadence.

So this is what is going through my head while I run:

I don't know but I've been told (repeat)
It's not that bad getting old (repeat)
Knees out...  Knees out...  KNEES OUT!

If you have any ideas for me to throw in so I can mix things up, keep this fresh, and really solidify a better gait, please share.  I'm starting about halfway through the Couch to 5K next week, and once I'm done with that I'm planning to stop the cuing madness and check in with my gait whenever I think of it.

But, the good news is that I am running regularly and without pain!  And I'm feeling optimistic enough that I purchased the sunglasses in the picture topping this post.  They have interchangeable lenses so that I am ready to run in the bright New Mexico sun, a dust storm or two, and blowing snow next winter...when we'll be living back in Indiana!  The Beast got a great job, so off we go this summer!

And since my foot is feeling fine now, I'm getting out with the boys to the zoo and whatnot.  I'm looking forward to a little hiking in the mountains before we leave!!

I was happy to see him at the zoo.  I think the feeling was mutual.

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