Sunday, June 22, 2008

Farm Fresh Eggs

Ms Scrumptious has finally recounted the adventure of buying eggs in the country around here in Michigan, a story I've been meaning to tell for ages. It delights me every single time I pull off the road onto the gravel drive behind an old farmhouse, wave hi to the cats and dogs and horses, and help myself to the eggs offered in a mini-fridge on the honor system. Thanks for sharing the photos and the story, Ms Scrumptious! And thank you so much for the wonderful visit, too. :)

(This has been an In My Box/Kitchen Empress crossover post!)

Quick Rye Bread Recipe -- Easy step-by-step guide with photos

As I learned from Alton Brown recently in his episode on muffins, the term "quickbread" distinguishes this class of breads from those that rely on yeast for leavening, since quickbreads generally use baking soda or baking powder for leavening and therefore do not require rising time.

The quickbreads most of us are familiar with are the sweet, fruity ones, like muffins and banana bread. Somewhere I happened upon a recipe for rye quickbread in the past few days, though, so I felt inspired to try my hand at another type of whole-grain loaf that didn't depend on yeast. I was craving bread today and didn't want to wait several hours before I could eat it fresh from the oven, steaming and crusty and spread with fresh organic butter. As I am writing this post, I smell the sweet, delicious scent of molasses-rich rye bread baking in the oven, and I know this is going to be a winner.

This is a modified version of a recipe I found on the veggieboards (here). It yields a delicious result in just over an hour from start to finish: dense, moist, and sweet with molasses. I would recommend it especially for avocado sandwiches, as suggested by the original poster, to accompany fresh salad and soup, or perhaps as the sandwich bread for a simple ham & cheese. Umlud and I are probably just going to devour it plain with some sharp cheddar cheese. It bears a little resemblance to the flavor & texture of the yummy fresh-baked bread we used to get with salads at Intermezzo in Berkeley.

Hunks of cheddar cheese with delicious, wholesome molasses-rye bread. So hot from the oven, the steam blurred the photo. . . :)

Quick Rye Bread
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 1 hour

  • 1 cup organic milk or soymilk
  • 1-1.5 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. organic brown sugar (optional; I think I'd omit.)
  • 3 Tbsp. unsulphured molasses
  • 1 1/2 cups rye flour
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 Tbsp. caraway seeds (I used 1/2 tsp fennel seeds and 1.5 tsp cumin seeds, since I didn't have caraway, yielding an Indian-spiced bread delicious with cheddar cheese)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • additional whole wheat flour for kneading
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, sour the milk by adding in the vinegar, waiting a couple minutes, stirring, and adding a splash more of vinegar if necessary.The milk will be thick and a little chunky, sort of like yogurt or buttermilk.
  3. Stir in the molasses and sugar, if desired. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the rye flour, all-purpose flour, oats, caraway seeds, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the milk mixture and stir well. Your dough will be rather sticky.

    Photos courtesy of Umlud, mostly.
  5. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured bread board or countertop. A rubber spatula will help for scraping out stubbornly sticky dough.
  6. Knead until the dough holds together (2 to 3 minutes).
  7. If the dough remains very sticky, knead in a little more flour. Shape the dough into a round.
    As you'll see in this little video, courtesy of Umlud, the dough is really quite sticky. It would be handy to have extra flour at hand to bind all the dough together and remove it from your hands.

  8. Place it on a lightly oiled baking sheet, and finish shaping as necessary, flattening and rounding until you have a satisfactory-looking rustic loaf. Bake until crusty and well browned (about 1 hour).
The Kitchen Empress is applying for her very first professional baking gig. Wish me luck!