Friday, September 7, 2012

Fermented Friday: Smores Batter Bread

Fermented Friday: recipes featuring yeast, wine, beer or some form of fermentation

This week's yeast experiment comes in the form of a no-knead batter bread.  When I think of  yeast bread, I picture the lengthy process of kneading, rising, punching, shaping and rising again before finally baking.  I associate a batter bread with quick breads that rely on leavening agents such as baking soda or baking powder and require no kneading, rising or shaping.  This whole wheat loaf uses yeast for leavening, but requires no kneading or shaping.  Instead, you simply mix the ingredients together and pour the batter into a loaf pan.

I wasn't expecting too much from this loaf, I was more so just curious about the results.  Between my curiosity and leftover smores ingredients, this recipe seemed appropriate.  Sadly, I only made smores once this summer.  Though the chocolate bar is long gone, I still have plenty of marshmallows waiting to be put to use.

While this recipe was indeed simple, it wasn't scrumptious enough to leave me wanting smore.  It just made me wish I had toasted the spare marshmallows for real smores around a campfire instead of stuffing them in bread and heating up the oven.  As I predicted, the marshmallows melted in the oven, leaving large holes in the bread.  The loaf was dry and crumbly and lacked flavor overall.  While the loaf did rise, the top was flat and sunk in. Because there was no kneading for gluten formation, it didn't have enough strength or structure to capture the air bubbles and form a nice rounded top.  I was pretty sure this would be the case, but still wanted to try it out and see for myself.  Results of experiments need not be monumental to be useful; sometimes they just reinforce a point.  Thankfully, I no longer need to translate that point into a data point on a graph.  Statistical analysis is one aspect of school I'm not missing, at least not yet.

If you'd like to improve this loaf, I've written up the recipe I used and included it below.  Of course, if you have the opportunity, I'd suggest using your time to build a campfire and turn those ingredients into real smores.  On the other hand, I'm itching to jump straight into fall and try out these Pumpkin-Beer Bars with Streussel Topping and Beer Soaked Apple Pie with Cheddar Beer Crust. Both sound like a much better use of ingredients on a Fermented Friday.

Smores Batter Bread
adapted from Betty Crocker Whole Grains Cookbook

5 graham cracker squares (2-1/2 whole crackers), divided
6 large marshmallows
1-3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1-1/4 cups very warm milk
1-1/2 Tbsp canola oil
1 large egg

* Crush 4 graham crackers; set aside. Using a kitchen scissors, cut each marshmallow into 8 pieces; set aside.  Grease an 8-x-4-inch loaf pan.
* In a large bowl combine whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking cocoa, sugar, salt and yeast. Add milk, oil and egg; stir to combine, forming a stiff batter.
* Spoon half of batter into prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle with marshmallows and crushed graham crackers, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges. Spoon remaining batter over top. Using wet fingers, smooth and seal batter. Crush reaming 1 graham cracker square and sprinkle over top. Cover and let rise 1 hour or until doubled in size.
* Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  When loaf is doubled in size, bake 35-40 minutes. Remove loaf from pan and let cool  completely on wire rack.

Food for Thought: "This is my advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!" -Julia Child

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