Saturday, August 6, 2011

Rustic Buttermilk Boule

I debated what to name this bread for far too long. Nutty Oat Bread? But they're not really nuts so much as seeds in there, so... Seedy Oat Bread? Sounds like it belongs in a back alley, not your kitchen counter. And what about the buttermilk? The extra buttermilk about to go bad in the fridge is what got this lovely little loaf started in the first place. Ah yes, and the wheat, that's important. Buttermilk Wheat Bread a la Oats and Seeds and Things. Oh, but then there's that maple syrup that got thrown in there when I realized the honey was gone... Mildly Maplesque Pumpkin Seed Oatmeal Buttermilk Bread it is!

And then, because I couldn't say all that in one breath, I picked an entirely new and conveniently vague word to throw in there that perhaps encompasses all (or none) of these things, you decide. What's in a name anyway, right? Rustic Buttermilk Boule by any other name would taste JUST AS FREAKIN GOOD.

I may not be Shakespeare, but I AM an English major, just go with me on this one.

1 tsp. sugar
1 pack active dry yeast (1 pack rapid rise or instant is fine too)

1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup oats (old fashioned, quick, no matter)
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (or another seed/nut you prefer)
2 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. maple syrup

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda

Yields: 1 medium sized boule loaf

1. Proof the yeast by mixing it in a small bowl with 3 tablespoons warm (NOT hot) water and a pinch of sugar. Set it aside while you keep working.

2. Mix buttermilk, oats, seeds, butter (melted), and maple syrup in a large mixing bowl.

3. Mix white flour, wheat flour, salt, and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl.

4. Stir* 1 cup of the flour mixture into the wet mixture until combined. Stir in the yeast water. Stir in another cup of flour, then another. The dough will start to feel a little stretchy and become difficult to keep stirring. Don't feel like you have to use quite all the flour up now if you can't stir it all in... you can knead it in a minute.

5. Place the shaggy mass of dough on your lightly floured counter. Keep a little extra flour at hand to work in as you knead. You don't want your dough to stick to your hands, but it IS ok if it seems a little stickier than dough sometimes does... those oats will keep soaking up any extra liquid as the dough rises, so no worries. Knead for 10 minutes or so, until you have an actual, cohesive ball of dough.

6. Rub olive oil into the bottom of a large mixing bowl, place dough in it, flip over to coat both sides, cover with cloth, and let sit one hour. It will rise to at least twice its original size

7. Take dough out, pound down gently, knead a few more times, shape into ball, place on cooking sheet. Let rise at least 45 more minutes, OR as much as 4-5 hours. The longer it sits, the more the flavors deepen. So they say.

8. Cut three deep slashes across the top of your boule (that's just fancy for round-ish ball of dough) and brush a little more olive oil on top.

9. Bake at 350 for 55 minutes.

10. Wait at least 10 or 15 minutes, cut into it, eat IMMEDIATELY with butter. Seriously. Right then and there. You think I'm kidding. I'm not. This was totally my dinner tonight because I couldn't stop eating it.

* You do not HAVE to stir and knead this by hand. Use a stand mixer and dough hook if you so choose, or a processor, or whatever your favorite method is. I like the stir and knead by hand method, especially when I'm trying a new recipe, because its easier to tell when the dough feels ready.

Also because there just isn't much I love more on a Saturday morning than a good solid workout of dough kneading. See that laptop in the background there? Yeah, it's playing my bread kneading playlist. What, not everybody has one of those? Oh. Well then.

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