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Friday, August 10, 2012

Hiatus & a Raisin Rye Bread

Two months of inactivity on this blog deserves an explanation. And the explanation simply is that summers in Phoenix are not conducive to baking of any kind. (Yesterday's high was 113°F!). I have managed to avoid buying a loaf of bread at a store (english muffins, pita breads and tortillas are not loaves). The inevitable low carb diet did help me lose some unwanted pounds, even though they have found their way back after a vacation cruise. On the plus side, I have a new found love for salads.

I did bake a few loaves, including the monthly loaf for my father in law. I baked the following breads:

May 5, 2012: Soy flour buttermilk bread (my own recipe)
May 18, 2012: Brown rice garbanzo bread (my own recipe)
Jun 1, 2012: Multigrain applesauce walnut bread from Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book (Similar to this and this, substituting some oat flour for whole wheat). This was the June bread for Dad.
June 24, 2012: Oat bran broom bread from Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads book.
July 4, 2012: German style many seed bread. Another Reinhart recipe. (Previously attempted here and here). This was the July bread for Dad.
August 4, 2012: Raisin Rye bread from Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book. I went through the previous attempt and made changes such as using lesser amount of raisins and molasses and found the bread still fairly sweet. The loaf was Dad's August bread.

Can't have a post without a picture, right? Here's the latest bread in pictures.

Raisin Rye bread using 2 day delayed fermentation process.

Decently even crumb.
Can't wait for the weather to get cool enough to start baking. Until then I'm trying not to look at the oven.


  1. Wow. With temperatures like that, you could easily rig up a solar oven in the backyard. Assuming you'd want to leave air conditioned comfort just to check on it periodically.

    I think that there are lots of Essene bread recipes that call for long times and low temperature baking that might work, even without a home-made solar oven. You probably could just leave some dough in a roasting pan on the sidewalk or patio and come back at the end of the day to see if it was baked.

    It's something I'd be tempted to try, if our weather was ever that stable and hot. Here, if it gets even close to that kind of temperature, we are in for a major thunderstorm to cool things down.

    BTW I like the look of that raison rye's crust. Did you use Laurel Robertson's cornstarch glaze the way she details in the book, or did you modify it?

    1. Cellarguy, I have always thought that solar cookers make perfect sense in Southwest US, especially since my mother extensively used one when we were growing up in India. In Arizona, it would be effective all year around. I've even scoped some on Amazon, but I haven't met any locals here who use them. I might just give it a try soon.
      I will look up Essene bread recipes. The new worry with leaving things out in the open in the frequent dust storms we have been having.
      I did not use LR's cornstarch glaze. I think I tend to over-proof loaves, so this time I put it in the oven sooner than normal. The cast iron combo cooker I make with a deep pan and upturned skillet, helps with the crust. The shine is from a quick glaze of butter when the loaf was still hot.