Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Granola Bread

I know what you’ve been thinking all these months: What ever happened to The Messy Apron Cookshelf project? That challenge I gave myself to cook and bake more from my overflowing cook-bookcase. Forgot about it? Yeah, me too.

Really, I’ve begun to use my cookbooks more as reference material, and then I scavenge actual step-by-step recipes from magazine clippings and the internet. For some reason, a recipe always seems more new and exciting if it was just published, even if it’s pretty much the same thing as or a variation of a recipe that’s residing in a well-trusted cookbook. And so my cookshelf continues to be undeservedly neglected.

Recently, I found myself with a bowl of leftover homemade Granola that was threatening to go stale (I failed to stick it in the freezer when I traveled for Thanksgiving.) I decided to try the granola bread recipe from Artisan Breads in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. The recipes in this book are quick to put together and time and the dough itself do most of the work.

This is quite a flavorful recipe with some whole wheat, cinnamon, honey and, of course, the granola. The dough is very wet and spreads into a fairly flat loaf when shaped into a boule, or round loaf, as I did. The baked bread is soft and chewy, with just a bit of crunch that I think would vary depending on the composition of the granola. The original recipe calls for it to be baked in a pan, but I liked the idea of a rustic round bread for breakfast.

At least I was planning to have this for breakfast after an overnight rising of the dough in the refrigerator. Nothing went wrong, really, except that I didn’t read the recipe far enough ahead, and didn’t realize that it needs more time between refrigerator and oven than the other recipes I tried from this book. It was still delicious and quite comforting when served slightly warm on a dreary and cold Saturday morning. It had to be brunch, but at least it was still before noon.

This is great served with a little butter, but I also loved it with my current favorite spread, which is cream cheese mixed with pumpkin butter. (My pumpkin butter is homemade from this recipe at smitten kitchen.) I think there are a lot of ways you could accompany this, and, since it’s a 1 ½ pound loaf, there’s probably plenty of bread to try more than one of them.

Overnight Granola Bread
Adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

The hands-on time for this recipe is very short, but the dough needs to rise for several hours in the refrigerator, and another hour and forty minutes at room temperature before baking.

1 cup warm water
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (1 envelope-style package)
¼ cup honey
1 ½ teaspoons canola or other neutral-tasting oil
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup whole wheat flour
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup granola (I used this granola)

1. In a large container, mix together the water, yeast, honey, oil, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour and granola, making sure all the flour is moistened.

2. Cover with a towel and let stand at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until the dough rises and then collapses.

3. Keep covered with the towel and place in the refrigerator overnight or up to 5 days. If storing longer than 1 day, store it in a container with a lid. Cover with the lid, but do not completely seal it, allowing some place for air to circulate into the container.

4. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Work the dough into a rough ball (it will be quite wet and sticky) and place it on the lined baking sheet. Let stand for 1 hour and 40 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 F. (Allow time for your oven to preheat while the loaf is rising.)

5. Cut a large X in the top of the loaf with a sharp knife. Bake at 375 F for 45 minutes. The bread should be dark brown. Cool on a wire rack. Can be cut and served slightly warm. I like to cut a piece off the loaf and split it horizontally to spread it with butter or cream cheese mixed with pumpkin butter.

Makes a 1 ½ pound loaf.

Other recipes like this one: Stout Bread with Chocolate and Cherries, Multigrain Baguette, Sweet Pumpkin Focaccia

One year ago: Radish and Carrot Slaw with Zesty Citrus Dressing

Two years ago: Spinach Salad with Apples and Maple Walnut Vinaigrette