Bulgur Bread

Image result for baking bread funny

That is how some people look at me when i suggest they bake their own bread instead of buying that ultra-processed crap they sell at the store.  i will grant that it takes some practice, but most of that is learning to feel the elasticity of the dough.

For those of you who are startled by words that have more than two syllables, elasticity has to do with texture.  Some bread doughs are wet and some are drier.  Some are processed more and other less.  But once you have the experience of making a perfect loaf of bread of one type or another, you will be pulled into a world of amazing possibilities.

This is one of those breads which can build your confidence.  It is fairly easy to make, high in fibre, and very nutritious.  i found the recipe on Epicurious, which is a great cooking site (the original recipe was from the American Heart Association)   https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/whole-grain-and-honey-bread-51172420

i have made some adjustments which i will explain as we go along.  Hold my hand (not too tightly) and enter the crazy world of bread making!

First of all, what the fuck is bulgur?  Bulgur is cracked wheat common in North Africa and the Middle East.  Wheat grains are cooked until tender.  They are then dried out and cracked, removing the bran and germ.  Some of the nutrition from the bran and endosperm are absorbed into the grain, so you end up with a nutritious grain that cooks quickly (12 minutes)  for porridge.

Well thank you very much asshole!  Don’t you hate it when you find a recipe you love, but there is one ingredient you can only find online?   Most of you will be able to find this product in the natural foods section of your local supermarket, but if you cannot, you could try (found this on the net):

Substitute for Bulgur wheat
If you don’t have bulgur you can substitute (per cup needed): 1 cup cracked wheat (takes longer to cook)
OR> 1 cup quinoa
OR> 1 cup rice
OR> 1 cup whole wheat couscous

Rice sounds gross and gummy.  Cracked wheat takes longer to cook, by the way, so will not work.  i hate quinoa, so if it works here, terrific!  Couscous?  Could not even hazard a guess.

Bottom line.  Find bulgur or wait for another recipe.  i live in the north of Canada and can find it, so there you go.

i would like to begin by noting that we have a new addition to our staff.  Sarah has agreed to take pictures for me, since my multi-tasking skills are minimal.  It is tough to take pics when my hands are covered in some kind of food goop.  Thank you Sarah.  Our benefits program is amazing, by the way.

Here is my step by step instruction/pic thing.  If you just want to jump right in, the recipe is at the bottom.

Here is bulgur.  You need 1/4 cup.

Then you add 3/4 cup of boiling (not just hot) water and leave it sit for at least 15 minutes.

The bulgur will absorb most of the water and look like this:

While the bulgur is cooking, you can put together the liquid ingredients in a bowl.

Two cups of water (temperature…anything warm- not hot or cold- is fine) and two tablespoons of oil (i use olive, but vegetable oil is fine)

1/2 cup of honey.

Two teaspoons of yeast.  Traditional yeast is fine.

Mix it all together and it will look like this.

Please read this carefully, as i explain a few things about flour.  If you want to use regular flour, please refer to the original recipe for amounts.  Using while grain flours changes the amount of liquid necessary, in my experience.  This is why i mix them in first.

The original recipe says to stir in two cups of bread flour or all-purpose flour.  Because i use whole grain flours in my bread, i use bread flour to aid in rising.  It has more protein, blah, blah, blah.

So i use a blend.  i use 1 cup of bread flour, 1/2 cup of Red Fife (a nutty tasting Canadian wheat) and 1/2 cup of Rye flour.  Why?  i like the flavour of Red Fife and i am patriotic.  Sue me.

Rye flour is a different matter.  Rye flour has a high percentage of arabinoxylans, which allows it to absorb and hold eight times its weight in water.  In other words, you get a moist, tender bread that stays that way.

Bottom line?  You need two cups of flour.  If you can add a half cup or so of Rye flour, your bread will be, and stay, moist.

Stir the two cups of flour and your wheat germ (don’t skip the fibre, your bowels will thank you) into the bowl of wet ingredients.  i let mine sit on the counter for 1/2 hour, just to make sure the yeast is integrated.

Add two more cups of flour and stir together.

The dough will be kind of yucky looking, with bits all over the place.  Moisture content is important at this point.  Add flour until the dough feels elastic, kneading in about a half cup at a time.  Elastic dough means if you push a finger softly against the dough, it will spring back.

Form the dough into a ball and put it in an oiled bowl with plastic wrap over the top.  If you use plastic wrap, it is a good idea to put some oil on the side facing the dough, or it will stick.  i use a bowl with a plastic lid, and that works fine.  (sorry… no pic)

Let it rise in a warm place until doubled.  Like this.

Remove the dough from the bowl and punch it down a bit.

Form into loaves.  (i have not tried to make buns with this recipe, so who knows?)   i like toast in the morning, so i do loaves.

Even if you have no-stick pans, grease them with a little butter.  Your crust will be crisper.  Trust me on this one.

Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise until the dough is about 1.5 inches over the top.  Preheat oven to 350F.

Put in the middle shelf of the oven for about 30 minutes.  i let the crust get really brown for more flavour, but as long as you tap the top of the loaf and it sounds hollow, you are good to go.

The proud cook.  Finally found a full fibre bread recipe i love!

Remember.  Use the suggested amount of liquid, but different types of flour will affect how much flour you will require.  If you have questions or suggestions, let me know.  I check things out here once a day on average.

INGREDIENTS

    • 1/2 cup uncooked bulgur
    • 3/4 cup boiling water
    • 2 cups water
    • 1/2 cup honey
    • 2 tablespoons canola or corn oil
    • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
    • (read notes above re: flour amounts)
    • 4 cups whole-wheat flour and 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour, divided use
    • Cooking spray

PREPARATION

    1. 1. In a small bowl, stir together the bulgur and 3/4 cup boiling water. Let stand for 15 minutes to allow the bulgur to soften.
    2. 2. In a large bowl, combine the 2 cups water, honey, oil, yeast, and salt, stirring to dissolve the yeast.
    3. 3. Stir in the bread flour, wheat germ, and softened bulgur mixture. Stir in as much of the 4 cups whole-wheat flour as you can until the dough starts to pull away from the side of the bowl.
    4. 4. Knead for 6 to 7 minutes, gradually adding, if needed, enough of the remaining 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour to make the dough smooth and elastic. (The dough shouldn’t be dry or stick to the surface. You may not need any of the additional 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour, or you may need the entire amount if the dough is too sticky.)
    5. 5. Using cooking spray, lightly spray a large bowl and a piece of plastic wrap large enough to cover the top of the bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, turning to coat all sides with the cooking spray. Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap with the sprayed side down. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place (about 85°F) for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until doubled in bulk.
    6. 6. Using cooking spray, lightly spray two 81/2 x 41/2 x 2 1/2-inch loaf pans and 2 pieces of plastic wrap large enough to cover the pans. Punch the dough down. Divide it in half. Shape each half into a loaf. Place each loaf in one of the pans. Cover the pans with the plastic wrap with the sprayed side down. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the dough is 1 1/2 inches higher than the top of the pans.
    7. 7. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
    8. 8. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the loaves sound hollow when tapped. (Tent the bread with aluminum foil during the last 10 minutes if necessary to prevent overbrowning.) Turn the loaves out onto a cooling rack. Let the bread cool for 15 to 20 minutes before slicing.
    9. 9. To freeze one loaf of dough to bake later, follow the preceding directions to the point where you place the shaped dough in a loaf pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and freeze the dough. After the dough is frozen, about 4 hours, remove it from the pan and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil. When you are ready to bake, unwrap the dough and place it in a sprayed loaf pan. Cover the pan with lightly sprayed plastic wrap with the sprayed side down and let the dough thaw and rise at room temperature in a draft-free place (the thawing and rising will take 4 to 5 hours) or let the dough thaw overnight in the refrigerator and rise as directed. Bake as directed.
Per serving: Calories 156, Total Fat 2.0 g, Saturated Fat 0.0 g, Trans Fat 0.0 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g, Monounsaturated Fat 1.0 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 51 mg, Carbohydrates 31 g, Fiber 3 g, Sugars 6 g, Protein 5 g, Calcium 11 mg, Potassium 114 mg, Dietary Exchanges: 2 starch

And a final bit of humour.

Image result for baking bread funny baker comic

Here’s hoping things are well with you.

John.

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