April 29, 2020
I’ve been making this delicious bread for more than 30 years. The recipe was shared to me by my great friend Pat Anderson and is both dense and light…and packed full of flavor. By the way, she also taught me how to make preserves, jellies and marmalades, which goes super with this bread – toasted. It is such fun to have talented cooking friends like Patricia.
It seems like everyone is making bread these days because of our quarantining. And it was no easy feat for me to make bread this time, for all – and I do mean ALL, of the stores (including Amazon) were out of yeast for weeks because there was a yeast shortage due to so many baking bread. And this is a good thing…but not for me. I even offered a friend a dinner for six for just two little ole packages of yeast. He wouldn’t give It up.
Well, this Tuesday at Publix, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a tiny lady in a blue knit dress, reaching for what looked like the last 3-pack of yeast. You should have seen me bolt down (the wrong way mind you) the isle, ripped off my mask – and yelled: “get away, it’s infected with Covid 19;” as I ripped it from her hands. Maybe a slight exaggeration – but you now understand how important this yeast was to me. I just had to make cracked wheat bread. Forget toilet paper, I now hoard yeast!
The first bread I ever made was when I lived at the Bayshore Royal in 1979. It was a Julia Child French baguette recipe from her book “Mastering The Art of French Cooking.” It turned out great…and I’ve been baking yeast bread ever since. Thank you Julia.
This cracked wheat bread is great fresh from the oven with butter. If there is any leftover bread I toast it, spread it with cream cheese or butter and slather it with my homemade strawberry, raspberry, blackberry preserves, or orange marmalade. Last night, I made a BLT on this bread toasted. Absolutely Delicious!!!
• 2 cups boiling water
• 1 ¼ cups cracked wheat (bulgur wheat I buy mine at Rollin’ Oats on MacDill)
• 2 tablespoons butter (room temperature)
• ½ cup brown sugar
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 2 packages dry granule yeast
• 2/3 cup warm water (90 to 105 degrees)
• 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
• 3 ¾ cups bread flour
Place cracked wheat, soft butter, brown sugar, and salt in a bowl, and pour the 2 cups boiling water over this mixture. Set aside until completely cooled. Once cooled, dissolve yeast in the 2/3 cup water and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Set aside. If the yeast is good, it should begin to foam in 3 to 5 minutes. This is called activating the yeast. If it does not foam, the yeast is not good.
Add this yeast to the cooled wheat mixture. Place all into a mixing bowl with a dough hook. Add bread flour and mix at medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth…about another 5 minutes. Place dough in lightly buttered large mixing bowl. This is done to keep the dough from sticking to the sides while proofing. Cover bowl with towel or plastic wrap and let rise until a bit over doubled in bulk. About an hour and fifteen minutes. Should proof in a draft free, warm environment – I let mine rise outside.
Punch down dough after first rise and knead for a couple minutes. Divide dough into two equal pieces. I weigh mine so I get it exactly. But if you are good at eyeballing it – that’s not a problem. You just want to get each loaf about the same weight so they will bake evenly.
Spray two 9” loaf pans with Pam or your favorite cooking spray. I do not use butter for it tends to make the loaves too dark while baking. You can use vegetable oil. Shape each loaf and place in coated loaf pans. Cover lightly with soft cloths and let rise until the dough reaches the tops of loaf pans.
Place on baking sheet, and set in pre-heated 350-degree oven. Bake 20 minutes then turn baking sheet so they brown evenly. Bake an additional 20 minutes. I test my bread with an instant read thermometer – which should be around 190 to 200 degrees. Once done, place on rack and liberally rub the tops with cold butter. This will make the tops soft and buttery. Let cool for 5 minutes. Turn out and let cool for as long as you can stand without eating the darn thing. I can only wait about 15 minutes for I love hot bread and butter. Always slice with serrated knife.