So last week we discovered Buffalo Barn Raisers. Their tagline is “People who do stuff.” They aim to facilitate the learning and sharing of skills, and one way they do this is running workshops on things like beer brewing and bread making. Translation: Where have you been all my life?
I went to their bread workshop on Saturday, hosted by the fine folks of Fancy and Delicious Baking Company. As the winter weather blustered outside (it’s baaaack), we sat inside mixing, kneading, comparing notes, and finding common ground.
We made whole wheat bread, which doubles as a great pizza dough. (I’ll put the recipe at the end of the post.) I usually do Dan Lepard’s version of kneading which involves resting the dough in between short bouts, so it was nice to pick up the traditional constant method, which actually left my forearms a little sore. The workshop was based out of the almost-industrial kitchen at a coop house near my old neighborhood. It’s the closest thing to the Loj kitchen I’ve been in recently, complete with handwritten signs and kombucha jars. As we baked we compared notes on everything from kefir making to gardening to our thoughts on Bridalplasty.
And then they brought out the lilac wine. If we stick around, there will be a workshop day for that too! I can’t wait. We definitely had dandelion wine on our to-do list already, along with beer (getting bottled today) and mead (that’s what the 20 pounds of honey is for). And it’s always nice to know that others subscribe to the “drink wine out of mismatched teacups” way of thinking…
There’s a bread workshop every month. I can’t wait to learn more. And of course I’ll be sharing the recipes here.
Barnraisers’ Whole Wheat
Since we’d all baked before, these instructions are sketchier than they might have been if beginners were present (see lack of specificity on second rise). If you’re more familiar with bread and its ways, you already know what to look for. This is a basic whole wheat loaf: it won’t change your life, but it will probably still rock your world.
3/4 t instant yeast
1 t sugar
1-2 cups warm water
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cup white flour
1 t salt
1 T honey or sugar
1 T olive oil
Prefermented dough (optional)*
Combine yeast, water, and sugar and set aside for ten minutes. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl. Add honey, oil, preferment if using, and yeast mixture and knead, adding more water if necessary, to form a cohesive ball. Knead on floured surface for about ten minutes, adding more flour if necessary, until dough feels lighter than when it started, is only slightly tacky, and approaches the windowpane test (it’s whole wheat, so it might still be more tear-y). Let rise in warm place until doubled in size. Shape into loaf and let rise in loaf pan (while you go make a pizza). Slash the top with a knife and bake at 350 until the interior temperature is 190.
Messing around: Play with proportion of white to wheat flour, add herbs, or make into a pizza: when doubled in size, roll out into a circle or stretch over the backs of your hands, top as desired, and bake at 450 until crust is crisp.
* The Barnraisers introduced me to a technique I haven’t used – reserving some of the dough from one batch of bread, letting it slowly develop in the fridge, and adding it to the next batch of dough. We did this, and it might have accounted for some of the delicious complex flavor. If this is a bread you’d be interested in making more than once, try reserving part of your first batch to add to the second and see whether it makes a difference!