Sunday, April 4, 2010

Fantastic Grains

Grains are such a wonderful thing. This last weekend we took full advantage of our time and put some grains to work making bread and twenty-five gallons (!) of beer.
                                           Dough ball after kneading

I quit baking bread for a while because I was so bored with the recipe I had been using that I just didn't want to put the time in for a bread I wasn't truly excited for. Luckily the internet is packed full of recipes to sift through for just about anything you could think of.

                                          After am hour of rising the dough is fat and fluffy.

The recipe I settled on promised to be light and fluffy in spite of it being all whole wheat flour and also very forgiving which would allow me to add more whole grains such as steel cut oats and bran.
The finished product was exactly what I was hoping for.

                                 Honey Whole Wheat Bread
      3 cups warm water
       4 1/2 tsp (2 pks) yeast
       2/3 cups honey (split in two parts)
       8 cups whole wheat flour
       5 Tbs vital wheat gluten
       1tsp salt
       3Tbs butter, melted

*Mix (with paddle in machine) water, 1/2 of honey, yeast, 5 cups flour and vital wheat gluten. Let rest for 30 minutes.
*Add melted butter, remaining honey, salt and 2 cups flour, mix (w/ dough hook in machine) and knead adding flour as needed until smooth. 
*Place in large oiled bowl, turn over to coat and cover. Let rise for one hour.
*Punch down and cut into three pieces. Place in oiled bread pans, cover and let rise till doubled (45-60 mins)
*Bake on 350 for 25-30 minutes. 


                                                                    Hazelnut Brown Ale

Beer is never far from our minds, for better or worse, we love the stuff. Luckily we have friends who share this interest with us, in particular our friend Colin, who has been brewing for some years and has been showing us the ropes.

                                           Frothy yeast on top.

Brewing is essentially cooking, it can be time consuming but is well worth it. The process is relatively simple once you get it down and is really fun when there are friends around to help. This weekend we found ourselves in the pouring rain and wind hovering over five gallons, at a time, of boiling grains, hops, malt and water. The result was ten gallons of India pale ale, five gallons hazelnut brown ale, five gallons Dead Guy and five gallons scotch ale.

Another two weeks of waiting and we'll spit up the goodies between Colin, Stew and I and our other partner in beer, also named Colin. And we can't wait cause we just finished off our last batch of red ale. Oh grains, how fantastic you are!