Winter has arrived and to be honest I am fully enjoying the regular snow. It's hardly been cold, so we can't complain about cold, we just get to enjoy the snow. The best part was it came in Saturday afternoon after giving us a last good Saturday morning to blow, rake, and otherwise collect the final leaves from the front and back yard. We mulched as many as we could fit in the compost area that holds the brown compost and trucked the rest to the green dumpsters! Well after a morning of leaf work, my stomach was calling for soup.
I made this lovely Lentil soup that is very good and I'm enjoying for lunches this week. Sorry, I didn't follow a recipe. It started with the normal saute of onion, celery, carrot, and I added the ham about 1/2 way through. Then I sauteed some cumin and black pepper for just a few seconds and added the rinsed lentils, 2 diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and a bay leaf.
On Sunday afternoon, I wanted to test drive a roll recipe for Thanksgiving. These did not turn out real pretty, meaning perfectly round. But they are really good! They are called Fast and Flexible Whole Grain Rolls. They are 100% whole wheat flour and they called for bulgar, but I was out. This was a surprise to me, so I had to choose a different grain, or walk the whole 3/4 block to the store ... I chose another grain. So these were made with cracked wheat. They are surprisingly light for Whole Wheat. It's hard to make a bread recipe come out perfect here the first time because of high elevation. I cut back the yeast, but next time will add a little more moisture also to see if they rise more. Also, since I used plain whole wheat flour, not bread flour I may add some gluten next time.
Fast and Flexible Whole-Grain Rolls
from The New whole grains cookbook by Robin Asbell
2 cups water, divided, for Bulgar, or 1 1/2 cups water for cooked grains
1/2 cup Bulgar or 1 cup cooked grain
1/4 cup honey (not raw honey, it may kill the yeast)
1/2 cup olive oil or nut oil
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon quick-rise yeast
5 cups whole wheat bread flour, divided
2 teaspoons salt
Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the Bulgar and return to a full, rolling boil. Cover, lower the temperature t a simmer for 10 minutes, then let stand for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup cool water to bring the temperature down. (If you planned ahead when making last nights dinner and are using cooked grain, bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil, add the cooked grain, and remove from the heat.)
Stir the honey, oil, and vinegar into the hot grain mixture. Take the temperature of the mixture, and follow the yeast package recommendations, letting it cool if necessary. In a stand mixer or larger bowl, mix 4 cups of the flour with the yeast and salt. Using the dough hood, stir in the grain mixture. Knead to mix. When the flour is mixed in, knead in the remaining cup, to make a soft dough. The dough will seem sticky in the bowl, but you should be able to handle it without it sticking to your hands. Oil a large mixing bowl and scrape the dough into the bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for at least 45 minutes and up to 3 hours.
Oil a heavy sheet pan. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. The dough should be bigger than it was. Tear off small handfuls of dough, about three-fourths of the size you would like the rolls to be. Roll each piece into a ball, and place on the oiled pan. Lightly cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm spot for at least 30 minutes.
Bake for 15 minutes. Slide the rolls off the pan onto a rack to cool.
This is one of my favorite books, the author does a great job of introducing lots of different grains and using them a variety of ways.