This bread is another great find. Everyone in the family likes it and so I will be able to bake it for years to come. It also has a ‘hearty’ scale, meaning that if you add more or less brown rice and whole wheat flour, you can make it more or less hearty to suit your taste.
First, pressure cook your rice. I’m doing this – sunny, winter morning, the light pouring into the kitchen – as I write. I got a twelve pound bag of organic long grain rice for just over a dollar a pound in Costco recently. Summer rice yes, but a good buy nevertheless. Put two tablespoons of active dried yeast in a bowl with half a cup of warm water, stir it to a paste, and let sit for ten minutes. You’re going to need three cups of warm water in all. Mix a quarter cup of honey or blue agave (the Mexican plant they make tequila from), two teaspoons of salt, and a third of a cup of dried milk into the remaining water. Put all this in your mixing bowl, if you haven’t done so already. The order in which you do things will depend on your utensils. I have a heavy duty mixer that I invested in a few years ago. I used to like kneading the dough; I’d approach it as a kind of repetitive meditation, but it’s hard work, so I’m now attached to my mixer.
The water with the agave, the salt, and the dried milk are now in the mixing bowl with the yeast. Add two cups of cooked rice and one cup of whole wheat flour. Again, this can vary up to three cups of rice and nearly as much as two cups of whole wheat flour. If you let those ingredients go over those measures, your bread will be too heavy.
Add six cups of unbleached organic white flour into the mixing bowl and mix. If the dough is too sticky add a little more flour, but not too much. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic food wrap and let rise for up to an hour or until the dough is twice the size. Enjoy the magic and/or the chemistry, depending on your bent: the yeast eats the sugars and produces carbon dioxide which makes the bread rise. Of course, a moment’s thought might make you ask, what is magic but natural phenomena that haven’t yet been explained? Actually, even when you ‘explain’ phenomena, there is, thankfully, still magic. ‘The yeast eats the sugar!’ What exactly does that mean?
Roll the dough on a board and cut and shape into three loaves. Place into greased baking pans. Let rise again for up to an hour, then bake for 50 minutes at 375 degrees.
To buy bread like this in the store — an organic, hearty loaf — can cost up to $6 or $7 each, depending. Given that I haven’t calculated the price of the gas in the cooking process, or the exact price of the agave or the water, nor have I included my labor, my not completely inaccurate calculations about how much my bread costs would work out to something like $2.50 per loaf. My loaves are about half a size bigger again than what you would get in the store. I would love to get this bread into the hands of those who are less well-off in our communities. Spread the word.