Now that winter's here, one of my favorite things to do when it's cold outside is to bake. I find it very comforting to be inside baking something good when the weather is disagreeable. Bread baking is especially fun to do in the wintertime. Think of how welcome the scent of homemade bread would be to your family and friends coming inside from out of the cold!
I've come across an interesting bread recipe that I'd like to share. It's a raisin bread, though it has a very unusual ingredient added to it: brown rice! The recipe, "Brown-Rice and Raisin Bread", is a very different raisin bread that you may be accustomed to. It's also very healthy and is a great breakfast bread, buttered and toasted. It also makes a good sandwich bread, especially with peanut or almond butter.
The recipe calls for short-grain brown rice. This is the regular brown rice that you find in the stores. There is now on the market a quick-cooking version, but I don't recommend it for this recipe. The rice is cooked ahead of making the bread dough. Once it's cooked, it's cooled to lukewarm, to which then you can proceed with the recipe.
If you have an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment for making bread, that will come in handy towards making this bread. However, some bakers love to get their hands in it, working the dough manually. Either method is fine. For machine kneading, follow the directions supplied with your mixer as far as how long you should knead. By hand, 10-20 minutes will be required. There are two risings, one in the bowl after kneading and the second when the dough is placed in the pans. The second rise is longer than the first, lasting about 1-1/2 hours.
When it's baked, you can enjoy one loaf right away and freeze the other. As I mentioned, it makes great toast and it would also make a great toasted cheese sandwich. It's also good plain, buttered or with jam or jelly. There's many ways this bread can be enjoyed, plus you'll be getting some healthy benefits from the whole wheat flour, the brown rice and the raisins.
Last year, I gave a recipe for a whole wheat bread that's wonderful for a beginning baker. To get the recipe, follow this link:
Also, if you'd like to learn how to make doughnuts, but baking them instead of frying them, here's a video that will explain to you how:
When it's too cold to be outside, stay inside where it's cozy and bake some bread!
BROWN-RICE AND RAISIN BREAD
- 1-2/3 cups water
- 1 cup short-grain brown rice
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 envelopes dry yeast
- 2 cups warm water, of about 105-115 degrees
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1-1/2 cups raisins
- 4-5 cups all-purpose flour
In a medium saucepan, combine the 1-2/3 cups water, rice, butter, and the 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat (do not stir the rice) and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Uncover and allow rice to cool to lukewarm.
Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of the warm water. Add cooked rice, whole wheat flour, remaining 1-1/2 cups warm water, honey, oil, and the 2 teaspoons salt. Beat until smooth. Stir in raisins and enough all-purpose flour to make a stiff dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 10-20 minutes, adding more all-purpose flour if necessary. Place dough in a greased bowl , turning to grease completely. Cover dough and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Punch down dough and divide it in half. Roll each half into a 12x8 inch rectangle. Roll up tightly from narrow end, sealing as you roll. Seal edges and fold under. Place each loaf in a greased 9x5 inch loaf pan. Cover and let dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1-1/2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until bread sounds hollow when tapped with fingers. Immediately remove from pans and cool. Yield: 2 loaves.