Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wheat-stalk Shaped Bread

I've always loved attempting to make something that I'd never tried before, and shaping bread simply reminds me of playing with play-doh in pre-school! It's so therapeutic and relaxing, and you can eat the end-product :P So, for dinner yesterday I decided to bake up a loaf of bread using my favorite dinner-roll recipe and slathering on an herbed egg-wash just to give it an extra little kick.

Dinner Roll Recipe

- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 large eggs
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp butter or margarine
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 1/2 cups bread flour
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

Egg wash Ingredients:
- 1 egg
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp each: dried thyme, rosemary and parsley

1. Place ingredients into bread machine in order listed.
2. Set the machine on the "dough" setting and press start.
3. Once complete, remove the dough from machine. Cover with a large bowl and let rest for 10 minutes.
4. On a floured surface, shape the dough into the "wheat-stalk". This is done by working the dough into a long, thin baguette shape and then taking a pair of sharp scissors to into the dough at 45degree angles roughly 1.5-2 inches apart (making sure not to slice through the dough).
5. Push the consecutive sections of dough in opposite directions; i.e. one piece goes left and the next piece goes to the right.
6. Place shaped dough on a baking sheet that is covered in a single-layer of cornmeal (to prevent the bread from sticking). Cover and let rise for 30-45minutes.

7. Prepare eggwash by beating all the ingredients together. Once bread is risen, coat liberally with egg wash.

8. Prepare oven by placing 1 cup of water in a broiler-pan on the lower-rack. Place loaf on the middle-rack of the oven and bake at 350degrees for 30 minutes. Serve warm.

I really enjoyed the taste of this mildly sweet bread. The outside was a little less "crunchy" than I would have liked, but other than that it was a very nice way to serve dinner rolls. The bread was nice and fluffy and almost didn't need any butter because of the wonderful flavor that the herbed egg wash imparted. The wheat-stalk shape was really fun to make, and gave off the impression that it would have taken a lot of effort to prepare. It's a great way to impress when wanting to show off your culinary skills.

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