You know it’s fall in the Midwest when your kids are back in school, the thermometer says 45 degrees, and the morning is back to the old scramble. My wife and I planned to tag-team as usual but it turns out that our kids are old enough now—so independent that they really don’t need much help in the morning.
So it was a relief, though a bit bittersweet, to find myself with some time to relax with a cup of coffee this morning, and think about this post. I did my fall baking class at Chef’s Gallery (in historic Stillwater Minn.) at the end of August and baked up Wild Rice Pilaf Bread from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day—and it was a hit (I’ll be back in Stillwater this winter; check our Events page). I was putting the loaf together this morning, and realized we’d used up our mushrooms, but had plenty of pecans. It works! The sauteed vegetables infuse the loaf with flavor and moisture—and the nuts add crunch and richness (not to mention great nutrition). Read on for the recipe and tips—you can do this variation by using the roll-in technique, which allows you to start with pretty much any of our doughs that you’ve already refrigerated and add in the wild rice, onion, and mushrooms (or nuts) just before you shape the loaf.
Ingredients (if you’re doing an entire 4-pound batch of dough which makes four 1-pound loaves):
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup olive oil (melted butter or other oil will work; can decrease to as little as 1/4-cup for a less-rich loaf)
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms (or 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans or other nut)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 teaspoon fresh)
4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (measured by scoop-and-sweep)
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (measured by scoop-and-sweep)
1 tablespoon kosher or other coarse salt (can modify to taste)
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
2 large eggs
3 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 cup cooked wild rice, drained, or with cooking liquid fully absorbed
1. Saute the onions in olive oil in a skillet over med-high heat until lightly browned; add the mushrooms and thyme, continuing until the mushrooms give off their liquid. If swapping pecans, saute for about one minute.
2. Follow mixing directions for our recipes where vital wheat gluten is needed to lighten our whole high whole grain doughs for storage—see our Master Recipe from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day for instructions and photos (click here). You’ll find instructions for shaping, resting, and baking the loaves at that same link.
3. Store remaining dough for up to five days, tearing off a piece for baking daily loaves anytime you like.
But that’s not really what I did today—things were too busy and I wanted this loaf fast! I had some European Peasant dough from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day—that’s my go-to dough; there’s always some in the fridge (or even the freezer; just defrost overnight in the fridge for use the next AM). It’s super-simple and doesn’t need vital wheat gluten, basically it’s our Master Recipe from ABin5, swapping out 1 cup of the unbleached all-purpose for 1/2 cup each of rye and whole wheat. I rolled it out flat, sprinkled with leftover wild rice, sauteed onions, and the nuts (or sauteed mushrooms if I’d had them). See my post on the roll-up method for details and photos (click here), but don’t flatten the loaf for flatbread at the end like I did in that cranberry cornbread recipe–make this one as a loaf.
Just keep it as en elongated jell-roll shaped loaf, rest the loaf for 90 minutes, slash with a serrated knife, and bake (with steam) for about 30 minutes, or until nicely browned and firm. More instructions on those steps at the posts above. You can prevent some of the air pocketing in the layers if you roll more tightly, which gives a different effect.