Friday, July 11, 2008

Brown Bread and Coffee... and Jane Eyre

I read Jane Eyre a few months ago, and it was such a compelling book that I had to start pacing myself towards the final chapters because I didn't want the story to end.

Charlotte Brontë has given me a new favorite book, and a new comfort food... brown bread and coffee! Jane Eyre is given a serving of brown bread and coffee on her first day at Lowood, toward the end of chapter seven. My brown bread probably isn't very similar to Jane's; it is made with whole wheat flour, oat bran and flax seed, and I generally make buns instead of loaves because they are more manageable. A comforting snack of brown bread and coffee is a perfect remedy for one of those moody days when nothing is going right. Thank you, Charlotte!

Jane Eyre's Brown Bread

2 ½ tsp active dry yeast
¼ cup turbinado sugar
½ cup warm water (about 110 degrees if you have a thermometer)

3 cups whole wheat flour
½ cup oat bran
½ cup ground flax seeds
½ tsp salt (you might want to use more salt, this is plenty for me)

¾ cup warm soy milk (also about 110 degrees F)
¾ to 1 cup of warm water (also about 110 degrees F)
¼ cup melted Earth Balance

1- In a small mixing bowl stir together the yeast, sugar, and warm water let them sit for 5 minutes.
2- In a large mixing bowl mix the flour, oat bran, flax seeds, and salt.
3- Add the yeast mixture, milk, water and oil. Knead for a few minutes until a smooth dough forms.
4- Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise some place warm for 45 minutes.
5- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
6- Take bits of dough and form them into buns. I always make mine slightly smaller than a tennis ball. Arrange the buns on the prepared baking sheet. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
7- Bake for 20 to 22 minutes until golden brown.

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