Announcing Bread Baking Day 13: 100% Whole Grains

Bread Baking Day 13 100% Whole Grains

The American Association of Cereal Chemists (AACC) defines whole grains as such:

Whole grains shall consist of the intact, ground, cracked or flaked caryopsis, whose principal anatomical components – the starchy endosperm, germ and bran – are present in the same relative proportions as they exist in the intact caryopsis.

I don’t know about you, but my eyes glazed over at “flaked caryopsis.” Thankfully, the AACC offers a friendlier definition:

Whole cereal grains and foods made from them consist of the entire grain seed usually referred to as the kernel. The kernel is made of three components – the bran, the germ and the endosperm. If the kernel has been cracked, crushed or flaked, then in order to be called whole grain, it must retain nearly the same relative proportions of bran, germ and endosperm as the original grain.

Whole grain ingredients may be used whole, cooked, milled into flour and used to make breads and other products, or extruded or flaked to make cereal products.

I incorporate whole grains in my diet any way I can, usually in breads. Although it took more than a few bricks and doorstops, I slowly realized that whole grain breads can be as enjoyable as their refined counterparts. So in a self-serving effort to amass the best whole grain recipes, I begged Zorra to allow me to host Bread Baking Day with the theme of 100% Whole Grains.

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Whole Grain Rosemary Potato Bread

Whole Grain Panmarino Italian Rosemary Potato Bread

This is the 100% whole grain version of Italian panmarino, or rosemary potato loaf, my favorite bread for dipping in olive oil. Both formulas are adapted from Peter Reinhart, the person responsible for tearing this Asian away from his daily rice-and-noodles-as-staple habit. In my kitchen, one can find flour-crusted bannetons, linen couches, and enough flour varieties to make a European blush but there is no Zojirushi or rice dispenser in sight. I am somewhat ashamed.

I find it hard to explain to relatives why counter surfaces are caked with flour instead of desiccated rice grains. They just don’t get it. Sadly, I get a much stronger reaction when serving them brown rice instead of the customary steamed white, as if insulted by way of moist palm face slap. Well, excuse me for thinking about trivial things such as health and nutrition.

Anyway, we have two bread formulas from Peter Reinhart, one using 100% whole wheat and the other made with regular white flour. Both call for similar ingredients but have a completely different development technique. The most notable difference is the use of a soaker in this whole grain version, consisting of whole wheat flour, water, and salt, which basically helps with both flavor and gluten development.

For those so inclined, these two formulas can serve as a template for converting any bread formula to its 100% whole grain version. Those who don’t mind more strongly flavored and dense loaves can benefit from the extra nutritional value in whole grain breads.

View Whole Grain Rosemary Potato Bread recipe »

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Berries and Grilled Cheese Skewers

Rasberries Gooseberries Grilled Cheese Skewers

The current object of my cheese obsession, the grill-worthy Finnish Juustoleipa, is quite enjoyable broiled until slightly charred but still firm and squeaky. Being a fresh cheese, it stays relatively mild even with the heating and can definitely use a bit of help to make it more interesting.

If there’s anything I learned from the entries in Haalo’s cheese roundup, some fruits pair well with cheese. Raspberries can add a bit of tartness and texture to go with the creaminess of the Juustoleipa. Randomly picked from the produce aisle, cape gooseberries contribute sweetness and a bit of unconventionality to the mix.

The thinking behind this simple recipe is fairly straightforward. Keep the berries fresh (always a good idea), torch the cheese (because you can), and use honey so it can be considered a dessert, and hopefully eligible for entry in this month’s Sugar High Fridays.

View Berries and Grilled Cheese Skewers with Honey recipe »

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Chicken Adobo in Coconut Milk

Chicken Adobo in Coconut Milk

Growing up in the Philippines, I was a really picky eater. There are foods that I absolutely would not touch and I was, quite frankly, a pain in the ass to cook for. Some things in the fairly long list are atchara (pickled shredded papaya), anything with ampalaya (bitter melon), tutong (the burnt rice at the bottom of the pot), and our embarrassingly hacked up interpretation of spaghetti, cloyingly sweet and studded with neon-red hotdog slices.

We do, indeed, put hotdogs instead of meatballs in our spaghetti.

It’s kind of funny how one ends up longing for foods avoided as a child. I still can’t get over the sugary spaghetti sauce, though. Like any good Filipino brat, I merely picked out the Purefoods Tender Juicy Hotdog slices, leaving the clumpy starch behind before running off with friends to play sipa.

Others things I wouldn’t touch fall under the category of “leftovers.” If it was cooked yesterday then I’m not having it. No exceptions. I couldn’t stand it when told that such-and-such is best made a day ahead. It didn’t make sense to me at all.

Now that I know better, it turns out that there was no conspiracy to use me as a means to get rid of leftovers.

View Chicken Adobo in Coconut Milk Recipe »

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Juustoleipä – Finnish Bread Cheese

Juustoleipa - Finnish Cheese Bread

What do wine, beer, and cheese aficionados all have in common? They speak in a dialect I don’t quite understand. Whereas the aforementioned obsessives use colorful language to describe their indulgence of choice, my vocabulary is limited to “I like” and “…”

Here’s an example:
Yeasty notes. Citrus esters come out to play – more orange than lemon. Slight banana. Not much else is perceptible. I look for spiciness, but find none.

I look for meaning, but find confusion.

So here’s my review of Juustoleipä from Brunkow Cheeses in Wisconsin:
I like.

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