Simple, Delicious Hard Red Wheat Berry Bread

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If you love homemade bread, in particular a dense and chewy, richly-flavored, whole-grain loaf, here’s a recipe I’ve been using lately that’s amazingly easy to make and, oh, so delicious to eat.

Almost No-Work Whole Grain Bread

3 cups whole wheat flour (or, as recipe calls for, use 2 cups whole wheat flour plus a combination of 1 cup other whole grain flours like buckwheat, rye, or cornmeal)                1/2 teaspoon instant yeast                                                                                                                      2 teaspoons salt                                                                                                                                         2 teaspoons olive or vegetable oil                                                                                                        1 cup cooked hard red wheat berries (or, as recipe calls for, up to 1 cup chopped nuts, seeds, dried fruit, or proofed whole grains)

1. Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Add 1 ½ cups water and stir until blended; the dough should be wet and sticky but not liquid; add more water if it seems dry. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest in a warm place for at least 12 and up to 24 hours. The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles.

2. Add some of the oil to grease the loaf pan and/or line pan with parchment paper. If you are adding nuts or anything else, fold them into the dough now with your hands or a rubber spatula. Transfer the dough to the loaf pan, using a rubber spatula gently to settle it in evenly. Brush the top with the remaining oil and sprinkle with cornmeal if you like. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, an hour or two, depending on your kitchen’s warmth. When it’s almost ready, heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

3. Bake the bread until deep golden and hollow-sounding when tapped, about 45 minutes. (An instant read thermometer should register 200 degrees F when inserted into the center of the loaf.) Immediately turn out of the pan onto a rack and let cool before slicing.

~ Recipe adapted from “Food Matters. A Guide to Conscious Eating,” Mark Bittman, p 156

Have a slice toasted with your morning eggs or make French toast; use for your favorite sandwich, grilled or non-grilled with lettuce and all the fixings; delicious as stuffing for poultry, also. And if you like this bread, you’ll find many other ways to use it! Enjoy!

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About Mary Jo Doig

At the turn of the millennium, I arrived at a cross-road that brought me to a splendid, if unforeseen place, almost as if I were a traveler on Robert Frost's The Road Less Traveled. I was single again, my three children were grown and building their lives, I'd experienced a health issue and was working on an improved lifestyle. I also ached to do two other things: (1) change my long human services career in upstate New York's Catskill Mountains, where winter seemed to be at least seven months out of every year, and (2) move to a warmer place in the universe. My decision: did I want to continue on the path I'd been following pretty much all my life, or could I gather my then-fragile courage and start life brand new somewhere else? These were scary thoughts for a single woman in her late 50s. Five hundred miles away, though, I fell in love with a new mountain range, Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, where I knew not a soul except my daughter who was attending college in the Shenandoah Valley, and I moved. I rented a tiny cabin on a mountain in the woods and lived there in solitude for two years, working in a new career by day and, when home, communing with the incredible natural beauty that surrounded me. There I also began to write my life stories, which were aching for release. I joined the Story Circle Network in early 2001, a rich place in cyberspace for women life writers, where I strengthened my written voice and began sharing my stories. I found so many opportunities to grow: 10 year facilitator for an online writing circle of women writers across the country; thirteen year editor of the "True Words from Real Women" section of the quarterly Journal; a reader and reviewer of women's memoirs for the SCN Book Review site; program chair for two Stories from the Heart national conferences in Austin, T. Presently I'm teaching Women's Life-Writing and Older Women's Legacy workshops in my part of the world in Central Virginia and facilitating the ongoing Circle of Memories Writing Circle (formerly an OWL workshop that continued on) at the Crozet Public Library. I am blessed with three wonderful children, a son and two daughters; a small, huge-hearted family; dear friends; my beagle Addie and cat Button. My hobbies include reading, writing, editing, cooking, gardening, quilting, knitting, biking, and simply being with the profound beauty of the mountains that embrace my small two acres in the Blue Ridge. The life stories I began writing in 2001 have grown deeper with time, re-writes, and personal growth. All these years later, I'm scheduled to publish my memoir, Stitching a Patchwork Life, in 2018.
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