Showing posts with label spelt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spelt. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Dimbleby's Breastfeeding Bread #BreadBakers

A flavorful, low gluten bread made with spelt flour, this subtly spiced loaf is divine toasted, which enhances the nuttiness of the pumpkin seeds, pine nuts and sunflower seeds.

First, let me set your mind at ease by saying that I am not going to tell you my lactation stories, although I did nurse both daughters until they were 13 months old. Nor will there be a single photo of anyone’s breastal region, although I firmly back your right to bare yours if you are feeding your baby, even in public. (Oh, the strange and wonderful places that I have bared mine for the cause... but I promised.)

The name of this bread recipe comes from its creator, one Henry Dimbleby, co-founder of the highly successful Leon restaurants and food writer for the Guardian, who wanted to use up a packet of spices given to him to make an infusion for his wife, supposedly to stimulate her milk production, just after she had given birth. He made the hot drink, tasted it and decided that his wife had suffered enough. So he used the rest of the spices to bake bread, which seemed to have the desired effect in a much more appetizing package. He assures his readers, so I duly assure you on his behalf, that it works only on lactating women; the rest of us can enjoy it for the taste.

This month Bread Bakers is hosted by Robin of A Shaggy Dough Story, who challenged us all to make bread using only ancient grains, defined loosely as grains that have remained largely unchanged/un-hybridized over the last several hundred years, which means NO MODERN WHEAT. Some examples include spelt, quinoa, millet, sorghum, amaranth, teff, freekeh, chia seeds, farro, kamut and einkorn. I already had a bag of spelt flour hanging out in my freezer from before I made these super fudgy brownies, so that’s where I started my recipe search. Many thanks to Robin for this most excellent challenge! If you haven't read A Shaggy Dough Story, do head over there. Robin is an over-achiever that grinds her own flour, bakes gorgeous loaves and takes beautiful photographs, but I love her most because of her fabulous sense of humor.

Mr. Dimbleby’s recipe makes three loaves so I have adapted the ingredients for only one deliciously nutty spelt loaf. Check out the original, if you’d like three on hand. He says they freeze well in freezer bags.

Soft butter, for greasing your loaf pan

For the bread dough:
1 teaspoon aniseed
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon fenugreek
4 1/8 cups or 500g strong wholemeal spelt flour
7g fast-acting dried yeast (I used Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise.)
2 teaspoons sea salt flakes (Use less if yours is fine grain.)
1/4 cup or 50g pine nuts of which: 1 tablespoon set aside
1/4 cup or 50g pumpkin seeds of which: 1 tablespoon set aside
1/4 cup or 50g  sunflower seeds of which: 1 tablespoon set aside
3 tablespoons or 45ml extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups or 350ml warm water

For the egg wash:
1 egg
Splash water

To decorate:
1 tablespoon of each of the pine nuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, set aside from the original amounts for the dough.

Grease your bread pan generously with softened butter and set aside, along with your one tablespoon of each pine nuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds for decorating.

Grind your spices with a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder.

Mix all of your dry ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer or in a bowl large enough to knead the dough in.

Add in the oil and mix well.

Add in the warm water and mix again.

Knead with your bread hook or by hand in your bowl for just a few minutes, until smooth. Mr. Dimbleby says you can add more flour if necessary but “wetter is better.” I was using my bread hook so I just kept going. The dough was very slack and it would have been very sticky to knead by hand, so do what you need to, if you don’t have a machine.

Scrape the dough out of the bowl and use damp hands to shape it into a loaf and pop it into your buttered loaf pan.

Whisk the egg with a splash of water to create an egg wash.

Cut some slashes into the top of the dough and then brush it with your egg wash.

Sprinkle on the reserved seeds and nuts, tapping them down gently so they stick.

Place in a large plastic bag in warm place and leave to rise until doubled. When my kitchen is cold, as it is this time of year, I like to partially fill one basin of my sink with hot tap water (about halfway up the loaf pan) and place the loaf pan in the water, covering the whole basin with a large cutting board and “sealing” the gaps with multiple dishcloths. Behold!

When your dough is nearly ready, preheat your oven to 450°F or 220°C.

Bake the bread for the first 20 minutes at that temperature, then turn the oven down to 400°F or 200°C for an additional 15-20 minutes. Cover with foil if your toppings look like they might begin to scorch.

Turn out to cool on a wire rack.


Do you like to bake using ancient grains? Hope we inspire you to try if you haven't before. And give you a few new ideas if you are already a fan. Here's what our creative bakers came up with.
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to


Monday, April 28, 2014

BroCoconut Energy Muffins #MuffinMonday

BroCoconut Energy Muffins are high protein, filled with nuts, seeds, steel cut oats, coconut, yogurt and dried apricots. Good for you and also delicious!

These muffins are made with extra energy in mind, for the jocks among you or indeed anyone who needs to up their protein intake and be a better bro. 

As I was writing my friend, Marilyn, who kindly shares my muffin link on her wonderful blog, Communicating Across Boundaries, most Mondays, there is nothing that makes me happier than when my daughters share links to articles or websites that they find touching or inspirational or amusing. Early last week, my younger daughter sent me the link to this comic strip. And suggested that I might use it for inspiration for an upcoming Muffin Monday.

I replied that coconut would be a fabulous idea.  To which she added: “but also, if it's possible to capture the spirit of the comic in the muffin, that would be superb.”

What else could I reply but, “Obviously.” Challenge accepted!

So, I started researching Bro recipes and turned up lots of energy bars and smoothies and things baked with protein powder for weightlifters. Which, yuck. Not the weightlifters, because I'm sure they are lovely people, but the protein powders. I figured there had to be a way to add more protein to muffins naturally with tasty ingredients rather than powders.

So, I changed out my normal white flour for spelt, added a nut/fruit combination called Energy Mix from my local supermarket along with some extra dried apricots, switched coconut oil for canola, included some steel-cut oats, sweetened the batter with unrefined brown sugar and, of course, there had to be coconut. Freshly grated.

And, you know what? You won’t care that these are healthy and bro-friendly. They are delicious. (Anybody know where I can go for the bro stamp of approval though? That would be cool.)

1/4 cup or 45g steel cut oats
1/2 cup or 120ml milk, divided
1 cup or 150g energy mix (Mine had pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and golden raisins.)
5 dried apricots (about 40g)
1 cup or 145g spelt flour
1/2 cup or 100g brown sugar
1 cup or 70g freshly grated coconut, unsweetened
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup or 125g plain yogurt
1/4 cup or 60ml coconut oil

Heat 1/4 cup or 60ml of the milk up to almost boiling and pour it over the steel cut oats in a heatproof bowl. Set aside to soak until cool.

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare your muffin tin by greasing it or lining it with paper muffin cups.

Chop your energy mix and dried apricots roughly and separate out a handful or two for topping the batter before baking.

In a large bowl, mix together the spelt flour, brown sugar, grated coconut, baking powder and salt.  Mash the brown sugar lumps out with a fork.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, the balance of the milk, coconut oil, yogurt and the soaked oats, along with their milk.

Pour your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold them together until just mixed.

Fold in the bigger pile of chopped energy mix/apricots.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

Top with the reserved energy mix/apricots.

Bake in the preheated oven about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for a few minutes and then remove the muffins to a rack to cool completely.


Now call and invite your mom to bro down with you today. She might bring these muffins.