Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Loose Ends

I have several slightly tedious but important updates for you today. First, back to the Pilgrim's Progress Bread -it was amazing. Amazing in the sense that I am still shocked at how well it came out. So well, in fact, that it would tempt the most devout pilgrim to remain in Vanity Fair. I'm not sure why it was so good. It could have been the switch from McArthur's All-Purpose Flour to McArthur's Bread Flour. It could have been me kneading the dough by hand instead of using the Kitchen Aid's mechanical arm. Or it could have simply been the recipe. I can't say for sure, but it was the best loaf of bread we've made yet. As advertised it was "a light bread with a lovely blend of flavors".

Here's another shot, this time sliced:

Before I give you the recipe for bread, I want to tell you quickly about the additions we made to Peter Berley's Leek Soup with Peas and Sauerkraut from The Wednesday Chef's blog. Just as she said, the soup was a wonderful surprise. Adding a fennel bulb, a small head of bok choy cabbage, both chopped, and two more cups of chicken broth to stretch it for more hearty portions was an even nicer surprise. After sitting in refrigerated broth for close to 24 hours the peas, though still nice, had lost their luster and their tiny pop. The bright green skin had faded to a shade of army fatigue and the leeks were barely noticeable. So in went the fennel and the cabbage and the soup was revived.

It doesn't really look revived in this picture, but it was.

Here's the recipe for the Pilgrim's Bread:

Combine in a bowl:
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon salt

Stir gradually into:
2 cups boiling water

1/4 cup oil

Cool to lukewarm.
2 pkg. or 2 tablespoon dry yeast in
1/2 cup warm water

Add yeast to cornmeal mixture.
Beat in:
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rye flour

By hand stir in:
4 1/4 - 4 1/2 cups of unbleached white flour

Turn onto lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface. Cover and let rise in warm place until double. Punch dough down; turn out onto lightly floured surface. Divide in half and knead a second time for 3 minutes. Shape dough into 2 loaves and place in greased pans. Cover and let rise again in warm place until double in bulk. Bake at 375 degrees about 45 minutes. (My bake time was 38 minutes.)

If like me you only have one bread pan, More With Less instructs you to place the remaining portion of dough (before the second kneading process) in a greased bowl covered with a damp cloth. Store in refrigerator up to 3 days. Punch down as necessary.


  1. Whoa, Mel! I'm really impressed!

  2. I was disappointed by that soup recipe. The dismal-next-day color of the peas really discouraged me from pulling it out from the fridge. I'm embarrassed to say that I dumped it out after a few days in the back of the fridge. But I love fresh bread!! Two exclamation points.