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Monday, March 16, 2015

Granary Loaf

Granary Loaf
Unbelievably, March is already halfway over. Today is the 16th, and that means it's Bread Baking Babes challenge reveal day! Our mission this month was set forth by Tanna of My Kitchen in Half Cups. She reeled us in with talk of a loaf that is "considered classic, simple, conservative but with a potentially unobtainable ingredient" and reminded us that creativity is as much a part of being a BBBabe as the love for baking bread is. We were to make a Granary-style loaf in which "good tasty bread", not authenticity was the goal.

Well, I may disappoint, because I went completely authentic. After doing a bit of reading on granary bread, I discovered that it's something of a treasure. People love it; it has a flavor all its own that comes from the flour which contains slowly toasted malted wheat flakes. Um, hello! I wanted to try the original before getting all creative up in here. So, I did what anyone who loves a good loaf of bread but can't find the proper flour locally would do—went directly to Amazon.

And guess what? I found it. Before I could think too hard (about the price), I added a bag of Hovis Granary Bread Flour to my cart and immediately checked out. It was shipping from the UK, so I had a good amount of time to anticipate its arrival. Three weeks later, the most expensive bag of flour I've ever purchased arrived on my doorstep.

Truth? I didn't even open the bag until yesterday. I displayed it on my pantry shelf like the expensive piece of art it was. Time flew by as it's wont to do, and the impending arrival of reveal day smacked me on the face. But yesterday was gorgeous—almost 60 degrees and sunny. After the the harsh winter we had, it may as well have been 80 outside. I threw open every window in the house and broke into my bag of treasured flour.
granary flour substitute
Whoa. Apparently I wasn't paying that close of attention, because the whole flakes of malted wheat surprised me. Actual whole the flour. Cool! Here's the thing. I also recently ordered a bag of malted wheat flakes and some barley malt syrup. I mistakenly thought I'd need them to make this bread, and only realized I didn't once I looked closer at the recipe. I'd only need them if I hadn't obtained the special flour I had in my hands.

But here's the really cool thing. I'm happy that I have them. After making a traditional loaf of granary bread and subsequently falling hard, I'm going to put them to good use soon. You see, I'm a homemade white flour-based bread afficionado. I can't get enough. I like rye, whole grains and whole wheat, and pretty much any sort of bread if it's freshly baked, but I've always had a soft spot for "white breads". Well, my white bread world was shattered a bit by my love for this flake studded, somewhat nutty and toasty, malted loaf of granary bread. I should have known, as I'm a sucker for anything malted.

Since I can't afford to mail order my bags of flour from the UK regularly, I'll have to make my own copycat granary flour. The ingredients listed on the bag are wheat flour, malted wheat flakes (17%), and lipase (an enzyme which modifies the natural lipids in flour to strengthen the dough). I'm going to make a mixture of bread flour and whole wheat flour, and stir in malted wheat flakes. Lipase is available, but I'm going to test it without first, just to see if it tastes the same (or very close). If it seems necessary, I'll do a little more research into how much to add to the mix. So, watch for a post on how to make copycat granary bread flour coming soon (it will includes exact amounts, instead of estimates).

Until then, here's the traditional (if somewhat uncreative...sorry Tanna) recipe for Granary Bread—aka, my current favorite thing to eat.

Granary Loaf
Made from a malted wheat grain flour that lends a pleasant, nutty taste, Granary bread slices up beautifully for sandwiches and makes great toast.
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Granary Loaf
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 120 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Keywords: bake bread vegetarian soy-free

Ingredients (1 loaf)
  • 9 fluid ounces (275 ml) lukewarm water
  • 25 grams (1 ounce) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 500 grams (18 ounces) Granary Bread Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons rapid rise yeast
Place ingredients in the pan of a bread machine in the order listed. Choose the dough cycle, and hit start. This will mix and knead the dough, then take it through its first rise; the entire process will take approximately 90 minutes.

If you don't have a bread machine, mix the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Rub in the butter, and then stir in the yeast. Next, stir in the water until you have a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead for 10 minutes. Form dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, 60-90 minutes.

Turn risen dough out of machine (or bowl), and gently press it into a rectangle that is about 1/2-inch thick. Starting at one of the short edges, roll the dough jellyroll-style. Set into a greased 8" x 4" loaf pan. Spray some plastic wrap with nonstick spray and loosely cover the pan (sprayed side facing dough), or drape with a tea towel.
granary bread dough into pan
Preheat oven to 450° F. Let dough rise until the dough has risen above the pan, 20 to 30 minutes.

Dust the top of the loaf lightly with some extra flour, then cut a few slashes, about 1/4-inch deep in the loaf.
granary bread dough, risen and slashed
Slide into preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden. Loaf should sound hollow if tapped on the bottom.
Granary Loaf
Set on a wire rack to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out of the pan, place back on rack, and cool completely.

-very slightly adapted from recipe on the Hovis Granary Bread Flour bag
Granary Loaf

Granary-style Loaf Bread Baking Babes March 2015
This month's Bread Baking Babes challenge is a Granary-style Loaf, as chosen by the BBBabes host kitchen of the month, Tanna of My Kitchen in Half Cups.

Would you like to bake along and earn your Bread Baking Buddies badge? It's easy! Simply make a Granary Loaf (or Granary-style Loaf) in your kitchen, and then send Tanna your link (more info in her post) by the 29th of the month. I hope you'll join us!

Check out this month's Bread Baking Babes posts (updated as posted):

I am sharing this loaf with Susan's Yeastspotting.