Monday, March 7, 2011

Beard on bread

Isn't technology great?  The photo above is a picture of my breakfast, as it was sitting next to my laptop one morning.  There's a card table in my living room, which is the home of whatever jigsaw puzzle Brianna is working on at the moment.  It's also the most common resting spot for my laptop.  I love wifi, and the flexibility of being able to move my computer around the house--especially onto the kitchen table. =)  (Our desktop computer is also in the kitchen, but isn't quite as convenient.)  I recently bought myself an iPod touch, and already I'm spoiled by the fact that it's even more portable than the laptop.  I'm still trying to make the most of it, though.  Any good suggestions for apps that I really need to have?

Speaking of things we need to have, good bread for toast is definitely high on the list.  I don't really like typical "sandwich bread" for sandwiches.  Give me some ciabatta or slices from a sourdough batard.  But those loaf pan breads with a soft crumb are the ones I reach for when making toast.  I have several that I really enjoy, but I like trying new recipes as well.  Thanks to some of my Twitter buddies, we're all trying new things, in fact.  We decided to focus on a different chef each month and make some of their recipes.  We're posting pictures of the things we've made as our Twitter avatars for the month.  Since I blog about baking, I'm looking for baked goods from each of the chefs.  For February, Nancy picked James Beard.  I was happy to find that there are a lot of his recipes online.  It didn't take me long to narrow down my choice to some sort of bread.  As it turned out, my final pick was from Beard on Food, rather than Beard on Bread.  

Since I was thinking about toast and breakfast, Oatmeal Bread sounded like a really good idea.  I hate eating oatmeal as cereal (it's the texture that I don't like).  But oats in baked goods are fine.  The recipe is pretty straightforward, and it gave me a chance to use my dough whisk.  I did make a few adjustments.  I only have instant yeast on hand, so that's what I used, reducing the amount to 10 grams.  I used a weight of 125 grams per cup of all purpose flour.  The recipe calls for 9"x5" loaf pans, but I used my 8 1/2"x4 1/2" Pyrex pans.  The recipe makes two loaves, and I added a cinnamon raisin swirl to one.  After patting the dough out into a rectangle, I sprinkled it liberally with cinnamon sugar and raisins.  Then I rolled it up and put it into the loaf pan.  I also sprinkled the top of the loaf with more cinnamon sugar before putting it in the oven.  The baking time of an hour seemed a bit long to me, and sure enough, my loaves were done sooner.  The plain loaf took 40 minutes, and the raisin one baked for 50 minutes. 

The verdict?  This is definitely excellent toast bread.  I especially enjoyed the raisin version.  Gillian was happy to help me eat it, too.  As I expected, Brianna liked the plain version better.  None of us liked it all that much for sandwiches, but that's okay.  More for toast that way. =)

Want to try this one for yourself?  You can find this recipe (and lots of others) on the James Beard Foundation's website.  


  1. I still need to get to this recipe...looks and sounds so good! (And I love your mug in the first picture...isn't it the truth?!)

  2. My dad has Beard on Bread and I really want to borrow it and forget to return it! I should just bite the bullet and get it off of my wish list at Amazon. This looks like perfect bread for toast.

    P.S. I love the coffee cup!

  3. This looks so good...and my primary use for bread is toast, so thinking this is something that needs to go on my list. You make it look so irresistible!

  4. I think I've already shared all of my favorite apps, but if I come up with others I'll let you know!

    Your bread is gorgeous, as always. I wish I had an excuse to make more bread, but we just don't eat it enough and there's never room in the freezer for a loaf :)

  5. You read my mind. I've been hankering to make a cinnamon raisin bread for morning toast. The loaves you baked look delicious!

  6. The bread looks lovely. Love making bread and this one is definitely on my list. Oatmeal bread. Perfect.