Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bread and Brownies

So I'm still baking!

Let me put in another word in praise of my absolute favorite brownie recipe: Cooking Light's "Bourbon Fudge Brownies." Usually I make it with milk instead of bourbon (an option they do allow for). Alcohol seems to make for a drier, crummier brownie. It may be tasty, but the lovely, fudgy texture is gone. I have tried it--never with bourbon, though a friend did, but with rum, which was tasty but, like I said, not as good. Coffee (an option if one is really playing around with the recipe to make it vegan) is tasty without being dry, and does add a nice flavor, but milk is best.

I am also playing around with bread. I found a recipe for Sourdough Whole Wheat Bread. that I liked, made it almost the way the recipe calls for, and then came up with a version sort of based on it and kind of based on two other recipes and mostly just messing around that I like even better for a Sourdough Walnut bread.

Made the way the recipe instructs only with more wheat flour, it makes a good, dense, chewy bread.

For the walnut variety, use:
1/4 C walnut oil (instead of butter)
2 eggs (to help soften the loaf)
1 1/2 C rye flour (to add a nice taste)
2 C whole wheat flour
And enough white flour to keep it from being impossibly sticky,

Just before shaping it, add 1 1/2 cups of walnuts, if you're measuring, or as much as the dough will hold, if you're not.

Whichever way you make it, let it rise in the machine. I Donna M,who posted the original recipe, mentions just taking it out of the machine and shaping it without letting it rise first, but I find that rather odd; sourdough does take a long time to rise (especially if you're maintaining it on the "when I remember" program rather than the proper weekly diet & if you don't remember to take it out of the fridge the night before), and it makes more sense to let it do so in the nice, warm bread maker rather than shaped and on the counter.

Preheat the oven to 350 & bake for about half an hour.

Actually, I read a while back that it is better to overheat the oven by about 50 degrees before putting the bread in and then turn it down as you put the bread in, and I find that helps a lot--the bread does a nice, fast rise. That's rather important if, like me, you're addicted to whole grain breads that tend not to rise a whole lot to begin with.

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