bread, cheese and sparta

okay, so maybe no spartans. but this is post number 300 for a-to-zoe/thecakewife. can you believe it’s been that many? 4 1/2 years of blogging, and 300 posts! and to continue with the trends established by all the previous posts – pictures of zoë being cheesy, and some fabulous bread.

it’s been a while since i’ve posted any recipes, mostly because i forget to document the whole cooking process. but this bread was worth the hassle. made with bulgur wheat, wheat bran, oatmeal, and brown sugar. it’s a great spring or fall bread, prefect for soups and hearty salads.

i got the recipe out of one of my favorite bread books, the bread bible. because i didn’t have enough rolled oats, i subbed in some of my scottish porridge oats – finer cut, and finer textured. you start with a sponge, made from soaked bulgur and part of the flour.

Oatmeal-Bulgur Bread

adapted from The Bread Bible by Beth Hensperger

Sponge –
1T instant yeast
2T light brown sugar
2/3C bulgur – fine or medium grind*
2 1/4C warm water
2C unbleached all purpose or bread flour

Dough –
3/4C rolled oats
1/2C porridge oats (although you could use 1 1/4C rolled oats)
1/4C light brown sugar
3T vegetable oil
1T salt
3 to 3 1/2C unbleached all purpose or bread flour

To make the sponge:
Put water the work bowl of a heavy duty mixer. Sprinkle brown sugar, and bulgur wheat over the surface and let stand 5 minutes. Add the instant yeast to 2 cups of flour, and add to the bulgur mixture. Beat hard until well moistened and creamy (about 2 minutes). Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temp till foamy (about an hour).

To make the dough:
To the bowl with the sponge add the rolled oats, bran, sugar, oil and salt. Beat hard for 1 min. Add flour ½ cup at a time,until the dough pulls away from the sides (I used 3 cups flour.) Switch to the kneading hook, and knead til smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes. Place the dough in a greased deep container, flipping to oil both sides.
Let rest until doubled, about 2 hours.

Deflate the dough, and divide into 2 equal portions. Shape into rounds or shape and put into 2 9×5-inch loaf pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise til doubled (45min.) Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 375. Score dough with a sharp serrated knife. Bake at 375 for 35 to 40 minutes or until loaves are browned,
and sound hollow when tapped with your finger. Let the loaves cool for 5 minutes in the loaf pans, and then turn out onto a cooling rack.
Let cool completely before slicing, and enjoy!

*make sure you use fine or medium grind bulgur, as i used a coarser variety. the bread has crunchy bits, rather than chewy ones. it doesn’t both me a bit, but it’s not for everyone.


this is definitely the kind of bread best enjoyed as a sandwich, or spread with peanut butter or even homemade jam. okay, the jam doesn’t have to be homemade, but something with texture would be delish. it’s soft on the inside, with a thin crisp crust – perfect with almost anything. okay, enough about the bread. happy baking!


4 thoughts on “bread, cheese and sparta

  1. oh, and one more thing. i adapted a bran bread recipe and made peanut butter bran quick bread. (that’s my name for it anyway.) it is really good. i made it for breakfast this morning! great with honey and butter! i put a cup of peanut butter in the batter. i imagine it would be good with ripe bananas as well…or apples. may try that next. here’s the ingredients in case you would like them:

    1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
    1 cup bran (i used Bob’s Red Mill brand)
    3/4 cup brown sugar
    1/4 cup white sugar
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1 egg
    1 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 cup lemon juice
    1/2 cup water
    1/3 cup oil

    bake at 350 for about 40-50 mins.
    p.s. i used 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1/2 cup water because i did not have the 1 cup orange juice it called for. orange juice would probably work better but the bread turned out great. everyone loved it! oh, and it also called for 1/2 cup white flour but i used all whole wheat instead. that’s about it.

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