As you may have realized by now, I am constantly on the lookout for healthy and healthier breads – using only whole grains (no white flours if at all avoidable), and possibly adding other ingredients to increase the benefits of the bread, such as more protein. Much of this search for healthier breads is to allow family members with blood sugar problems (especially diabetes) the full enjoyment of unbeatable breads. Although I have only been at this a short time, I find that beyond the pragmatic fulfillment, the journey is great fun and also is turning my ideas about bread from being a solid, stand-by food into a truly delightful taste sensation!
The bread I tried this week is something I’m sure I wouldn’t have even known about if it weren’t for my entering on this journey. It’s called Green Tea and Red Rice Swirl Bread. Thanks to my daughter Renee, who sent information on this fascinating bread to me. You can find the original recipe at http://www.applepiepatispate.com/bread/green-tea-red-rice-swirl/ As soon as I saw the site I knew I had to try it. We all know that green tea has many health benefits, not to mention being a refreshing drink. And, as for red rice, I’ve never tried, or even heard of, it before, but the site says that it’s known to control cholesterol. Who knew?
Fortunately, Metropolitan St. Louis has several wonderful international grocery stores. I found “Jasmine Red Cargo Rice” at Global Foods on Kirkwood Road in the suburban city of Kirkwood, Missouri. Of course, I had to buy a 5 pound bag in order to get the 1 tablespoon of ground red rice I needed for the recipe! But, if it’s good for controlling cholesterol, I’m sure it’ll be a welcome addition to our dinner table as a simple rice dish as well as an additive to this bread recipe.
I used an excellent ground Japanese green tea that I have in the house. But, I believe any green tea you have will work. If the tea is in whole leaves or the leaf pieces are too large, just grind them up into a powder.
Since the recipe calls for only all-purpose or bread flour (the dreaded white flour) I replaced it with 100% whole wheat flour. Wanting to have a soft bread loaf more similar to the bread pictured on the web site, I decided to use the soaking method for preparing the dough – Which, of course, led to other changes in the recipe. So, this is what I did:
Mix the following ingredients together:
2 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
Form into a ball, cover with a towel and let sit in warm spot for 24 hours.
1 ½ tsp active dry yeast
2 Tbs blue agave
1 tsp salt
1 beaten egg yolk
Combine together with whole wheat mixture forming a ball of dough.
Knead for 6 minutes.
Divide into 2 even parts.
1 Tbs finely ground green tea into one half of dough
1 Tbs ground red rice into second half of dough
Separately knead each half of dough for another 6 minutes until dough is a smooth ball, adding flour as necessary. Make sure both the green tea and red rice are thoroughly incorporated into their respective dough balls.
Let the 2 dough balls rise until double in size. [Note: my kitchen was uncommonly cold – due to a sudden change in weather – so after 1 hour the dough had not risen, I put them in a warm oven for another hour and they doubled in size.]
Shape the dough:
Stretch the red rice dough ball into a rectangular shape about ½ inch thick.
Stretch the green tea dough ball into a similar rectangular shape.
Place the green tea rectangular dough on top of the red rice rectangular dough.
Beginning on the short side, roll into a tight log – this creates a red-green swirl pattern in the dough. [Note: because I used whole wheat flour, the bread was darker than that on the web site. Also, I didn’t make a paste of the red rice and green tea, which would have greatly increased the drama and coloring within the loaf. Instead, I used the extra liquid in the soaking process. As a result, my final loaf was more subtle in color than the original recipe’s bread.]
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Let rise on parchment paper on cookie sheet in warm spot for 50 minutes or until dough doubles in size.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Results: A tender, slightly sweet flavored bread. Ron has declared it to be among the best so far. Definitely a keeper!