Buckwheat Bread and Strawberry Preserves

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Oh, New York. You fooled us. You had us stocking up on candles and water to get ready for the snowfall of the century. We were all ready (and some of us even a bit excited) to be housebound for days.

b2s headquarters during Juno

There was some snow. Definitely more than a couple inches of it. But it wasn’t thaaaaat bad. Still, I decided to take advantage of the extra time at home and try my hand at bread. And not the no-knead variety.  I wanted to do the kind that you have to knead and let rise for hours and then knead again. The kind that makes your whole apartment smell of yeasty-wheaty goodness. And I figured, how hard could it be? The ingredients are flour, yeast, water, a little sugar and salt. Simple, right? Obviously not.  Working the dough is trickier than it seems and as much as I poured over the drawings in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and as many instructional videos as I watched on Youtube, learning to knead the bread comes down to rolling up your sleeves and doing it a bunch of times until you come to recognize how the dough should feel.

I’ve still got a lot of kneading to do until I master the art of bread baking. My first loaf came out pretty ugly. Not fully risen to fill the 9 x 4 inch loaf pan, it looked like a craggy, dark, deflated football. Inside it was dense and moist. I ate the crust, which actually tasted great – good crunch and a deep flavor of buckwheat – but had to toss the rest. I wasn’t sure if the inside was entirely done and the thought of those live active yeast buds squirming in my stomach made me squeamish. Things I did wrong:  I used entirely buckwheat flour and got impatient during the rise. Two lessons. 1) If substituting a wheat or buckwheat flour, you still have to use some normal, all-purpose white flour or else the result will be a dense football of a loaf. You should try to only substitute 1/3 for the heartier flour variety; and 2) your dough has not fully risen until it’s risen to two or three times its original size, depending on the type of bread you’re making. So patience is everything here people. I’ve done a lot of research, test rises, or maybe better said, test fail-to-rises, and the bread recipe below is a an adaptation of the hearth bread from King Arthur Flour. But what’s ON the bread. I’m slathering one of mine with tahini, extra virgin olive oil, honey (from Nature’s Way Farm in Lowman, NY) and crunchy salt, and another with homemade strawberry preserves made by Nancy Buck (from Roscoe, NY).  Nancy was kind enough to share with us her recipe, so scroll down to learn how to make your own! One more reason to look forward to warmer weather…. sigh.

I hope you’re staying warm and baking something new this weekend!

– Caitlin

yeast activating yeast activating

 

flour mixturebuckwheat/all-purpose flour mixture

 

pre-risen doughmixed, pre-risen dough

 

DSC_1509covered dough

 

risen doughrisen dough

 

the buckwheat baguette

buckwheat baguette halves

toast with strawberry preserves

Nancy Buck's strawberry preserves

honey - Lowman, NY

tahini honey toast

Buckwheat Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet dry active yeast
  • 1 tablespoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 2 cups lukewarm water (not above 100 degrees fahrenheit)
  • 1 tablespoon
  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups buckwheat flour
  • cooking spray

Instructions

  • Mix first four ingredients and let stand for 10 minutes. This is when the yeast is activated – small, puffy clouds of yeast should form on the surface of the water.
  • Meanwhile, sift and stir together flours. When Step 1 is complete, slowly add flour mixture to yeast mixture, stirring with rubber spatula or your hands. *Expert tip: when baking, always add dry to wet ingredients.
  • Keep working dough until it is thoroughly mixed, using one hand if you’d like (and keeping one hand clean and free to scrape off extra dough or answer the telephone – Julia Child really wrote that!). Dough should be sticky and soft. Return to clean mixing bowl, cover with damp towel and let sit in a warm place. Be patient! This is when the dough acquires flavor and texture.
  • After a 2 or 3 hours check on your dough. It should have at least doubled in size and humped into a slight dome. If yours still hasn’t, give it more time to rise.
  • When dough has risen, use your fist to punch it down and release air bubbles. This is most enjoyable.
  • Lightly flour a surface to roll out the dough. Remove dough from bowl and split into two equal portions. Use your hands, also lightly floured, to roll out the dough into a long, thin tube-like shape. Fold the dough lengthwise and roll out again. It should be a few inches around in diameter. Do the same with the other dough portion (or reserve for later use). Place formed dough on lightly greased baking sheet and allow it to stand for a few minutes.
  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Make three or four diagonal slices on the top of the dough. Bake bread for twenty to twenty-five minutes or until finished. Finished bread should be crunchy on the outside and sound hollow when you knock on it.
  • Let cool. Slice and serve with your topping of choice.
Nancy Buck’s Strawberry Preserves
Ingredients:
  • 8 cups strawberries (whole)
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 box of Sure Jell (the pink box)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
Tools:
  • canning jars
  • kitchen mitt for handling hot jars
  • food processor (recommended but optional)
Instructions:
  • Clean and hull (remove the top from) strawberries. Add strawberries to food processor and pulse a few times.
  • In a saucepan over medium-low heat, cook down strawberries with lemon juice, sure jell and butter. After the mixture starts boiling, wait 1 minute, then pour in the sugar. Use a masher to break down the strawberries. Once mashed to the consistency of your liking, cook for another minute then remove from heat.
  • Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Carefully insert your jars (without lids). You want enough water so that the jars are fully submerged. Remove jars quickly – this is just to warm and sterilize them.
  • Fill jars with strawberry mixture up to a half inch from the top. Use a knife to go around the edges of the jars and get rid of any air bubbles.  Seal jars with tops.
  • Fit a small rack on the bottom of your large pot of boiling water. Using tongs, gently place the jars in the water boiling at a low boil and let them sit for about 10 minutes. When you remove them, the jar tops should be sucked down, meaning that the jars are sealed.
  • Let cool for 12 hours and use immediately or up to a year later.

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