December Breads: Another Year of Baking Is Done

This is another monthly update about our adventures in baking all our own bread products.

It’s hard to believe 2011 is over. I baked a lot of breads last year, but there are still so many recipes I want to try! One thing happened in 2011 that will definitely improve our bread baking going forward. In November we got a Nutrimill grain mill, and since then I’ve been busy grinding grains for baking (and other uses).

stack of pitas (click on any image to enlarge)

In December I made sourdough pitas using my brand new Whole Wheat Sourdough Pita Bread recipe. I made one batch with hard red winter wheat, and another with hard white wheat. Both made great pita bread. And then (surprise, surprise) we made pizza with some of them!

pizza using whole wheat sourdough pita for crust

Early in the month I baked a batch of Chef Brad’s Sour Dough Black Quinoa Bread, which features cooked black quinoa in the dough. I used my whole wheat sourdough starter in this one, and replaced some of the white flour in the recipe with fresh ground white whole wheat flour. We were pleased with the results. I love quinoa, and I love using whole grains in bread, so what’s not to like about this bread?

Sourdough Black Quinoa Bread

I also tried the Dark & Soft Restaurant Dinner Rolls from the King Arthur Whole Grain Baking cookbook. They have another version of this recipe on their website that uses caramel color to make the rolls dark, but the version in the book (click here for recipe) uses a couple of tablespoons of cocoa for color and flavor, while honey makes them ever so slightly sweet.

Dark & Soft Restaurant Dinner Rolls

These were so good I could (and did) eat them by themselves for a snack! At least it was a reasonably healthy snack, with half the flour in them being whole wheat. The leftovers froze well too, though I predict they won’t last long in the freezer before we eat them.

inside of rolls

I also baked a loaf of Whole Grain bread or two last month. For the loaf in the photo below, I put the dough in a 9×5 inch loaf pan, split it down the middle with a serrated knife, then brushed the top with a little melted butter before baking. The bread was great with soup, plus we made French Toast with it as well.

Split Top loaf of Whole Grain Bread

The last baking effort of the month was some Whole Wheat Sourdough Focaccia. For this bread I adapted Peter Reinhart’s Whole Wheat Focaccia recipe from his Whole Grain Bread book. I used my sourdough starter to replace some of the wheat and water in the recipe, and omitted the yeast. The result was a crispy, full flavored flat bread made from 100% whole wheat.

Whole Wheat Sourdough Focaccia Bread

I hope you have enjoyed our 2011 bread baking adventures here at Happy Acres. I’m sure we will have more baking fun in 2012 to share!


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10 Responses to December Breads: Another Year of Baking Is Done

  1. Robin says:

    My bread baking goal for 2012 is to become about 25% as good as you are at baking bread!

  2. Jody says:

    You have so many great varieties! I’m with Robin too. We’d like to do a quarter of what you do each month.

  3. Happy New Year! The focaccia looks interesting. How do you like Reinhart’s whole grain book overall? Do you think it’s worth it? I have his BBA book, and Artisan Breads, but haven’t yet picked up his whole grain book. I’m determined to make a wider variety of breads this year, not just our staples.

  4. Karen says:

    I was wondering if you could give me your recipe for making the focaccia bread. I
    have a sourdough starter using spelt and would love to make that for something different. Sourdough is so fun to use to create wonderful breads. Thanks.

  5. Liz says:

    They all look so fabulous! Are pittas difficult? – I’m thinking of starting with flatbreads in my bread making endevours this year.

  6. Daphne says:

    Nothing is better than smelling bread baking in the oven. Yum.

  7. Dave says:

    Robin & Jody – I just take it one bread at a time. The more you bake, the easier it gets!

    Clare – I like the recipes in Whole Grain Breads, but I probably get more ‘keeper’ recipes from the KA Whole Grain Baking book since it has a bigger variety of recipes.

    Karen – I will see what I can do about getting you that recipe.

    Liz – if you have a pizza/baking stone, then pitas are not that difficult.

    Daphne – you are so right about that!

  8. kitsapFG says:

    Congratulations on the Nutrimill – we have had one for a few years now and I love it. I am not anywhere near the adventuresome and good baker you are – but we do make fresh bread every week and I am now doing it several times a week because I am making my favorite no knead bread in a handy refrigerated dough version and baking smaller loaves more frequently. I tend to venture into other breads and baking more during the winter months but honestly once the spring season arrives, I am doing good to do our usual weekly bread baking.

    • Dave says:

      I do a lot more baking in the winter months myself. Once we get into serious harvest season, I am looking for the tried and true breads!

  9. LynnS says:

    You have surely made some beautiful breads and I love the post, bringing some of them together like a collection! One of the best scents in the world is baked bread, isn’t it?

    The quinoa bread has my mouth watering!

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