Monday, September 12, 2011

Mellow Bakers: Whole wheat bread with golden raisins and pecans (September)

Boy, it's been a long time!

School started up again last week, so it's back to my normal schedule of rushing: rushing to get the kids up and dressed and breakfasted and delivered to Grandpa Daycare, rushing to school and mentally switching from Mom Mode to Teacher Mode, getting ready for the day, greeting and teaching 160 10th grade students, coaching debaters, and then rushing back home, switching back into Mom Mode, slapping together some dinner, getting the kids bathed and in bed, and slipping one last time into Teacher Mode to try to figure out a lesson for the next day. It's not left me with a lot of time to bake or keep up with my cooking/baking challenges.

However, this weekend, I was able to squeeze a Mellow Bakers bread in. It's a straight dough, thankfully, which meant I didn't have to do anything ahead of time and could just bake. (That's been a problem; on several occasions, I've had both the time and inclination to bake a loaf of bread, but haven't fed my starter or made a preferment or.....) My second September bread (thankfully I baked the first in August, knowing how busy September would be) was whole wheat bread with golden raisins and pecans (and a tiny bit of regular raisins and a tiny bit of walnuts, because apparently I hadn't checked to make sure I had enough of either ingredient).

This bread was quick and easy; the dough behaved exactly as promised. I made a half recipe, which yielded two pounds of dough, which I stuck in a loaf pan.

JH says to bake it with normal steam, and I'm never quite sure how to adapt that for a loaf pan. I spritzed it with water and covered it with an roasting pan for 15 minutes, but it was still a really pale loaf. I've had that happen with other JH loaves when I've baked them in a loaf pan. Any ideas out there??

We enjoyed the bread with butter tonight, an accompaniment to winter vegetable soup (appropriate fare for our last 90ยบ day of the season, huh?). Hubby really, really liked it, which is saying something, since normally we aren't big fans of fruit and nuts in our bread.

Hopefully I'll be able to regain some sense of how to balance baking, life, and work, and get back to posting more frequently. I'd better figure it out soon...both hubby's coworkers and my own have already started asking where the treats are!


  1. We're now starting week 4 of school, and I think we're finally getting back into a routine. I'm waiting for the week where we don't have any nights with B crying over her homework. *sigh* I need to get back into bread baking (if only it would finally cool off!) so I have something for B's lunches.

  2. That sounds very tough! I can hardly remember now what it was like working full time, but I hope I don't have to go there again. I love having the time to bake. The loaf looks great, despite being pale, which you can't even hardly tell. If I bake one of his recipes in a loaf pan, I've started baking them at a little higher temp, like 375 instead of 350. It seems to help slightly. I usually spritz the oven walls w/ some water a couple times the first 5 min.

    I hope you're able to balance things out soon w/ work, kids & school. I miss your posts!!

  3. Hi Abby,

    My name is Amanda Wallace, and I work for Shirley J, a cooking company in Utah. For 30 years, we've commercially produced just-add-water soups, sauces, seasoning and bakery mixes for professional kitchens, and our products are now available to home users across the nation, as well!

    The part you'll care about—

    We've got a Dough Enhancer I’d love to send for your sampling and review on “Stir it! Scrape it! Mix it! Bake it!” Of course, its purpose is to strengthen the gluten structure of homemade bread, and we’d love to see your own application and results with its use.

    Would you be interested in reviewing our product?

    Let me know, please!


  4. Well, I was wondering why you haven't been around Twitterville much, I guess this certainly explains it all!! YIKES you are one busy wife/mom/teacher/daughter/friend, etc. etc. etc. We will be extremely happy and appreciative of every tweet from now until June!! Your bread looks first I thought it was the Fig Almond Bread (made with the blonde figs) at first glance...either way, it looks wonderful!!