HBinFive January 15th Bread Braid

There seem to be some grumblings circulating among this bread group of muted flavors and spouses tiring of whole wheat breads.

I'm sure none of us expected these concerns to be part of our learning experience, but a year in and a year to go, I think it's time to put our flours out on the table and take stock, examine, vent even.

I passed on the dill rye bread in this assignment because I'm not really a dill-lover. Maybe a little fresh with poached salmon on a fair weather day, dining outdoors, with a glass of white wine...Instead I headed back over to ABinFive and made a Caraway Swirl Rye that I had yet to try.

I have made the dough before for the Deli-Style Rye, but not with the extra caraway interior. It was delicious, and I found reward in my swirl. Honestly, I was so relieved to be back in ABinFive territory, knowing that even if the swirl didn't look perfect, that the bread would be good. I am that confident with this book.

I couldn't pass up a rosemary experience, so I made the 100% Whole Grain Rosemary Potato Dinner Rolls with a Salt Crust. When I read that this dough used diced, raw potato, I was immediately wary. I considered making an ABinFive dough that called for mashed potatoes, but I wanted to remain with the group for one bread.

I thought these would be inedible. Half the amount of potato would have sufficed, as I couldn't seem to incorporate a lot of the cubes into the dough. I skipped the soy flour and added extra whole wheat flour.

Most of my bread baking friends seemed to have made larger rolls. I followed the instructions and divided a pound of dough into eight balls ("the size of golf balls"--the recipe said). Well, I made golf balls all right. They rose a tad.

We ate these with a lentil soup. They were edible, and better than expected, considering what my expectations were. The potato was cooked, which I was suspicious wouldn't happen. O. said they looked hard. Well, not so much, just heavy.

Sometimes when I write my posts, I imagine my HBinFive friends sitting around my kitchen table with me. So, gathered around, I ask you, what's going on here?

I recently have made a 50% whole wheat bread and a 100% whole wheat bread from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day. In the former, he suggests olive oil and honey as optional ingredients. In the latter, they are not optional. He says they are needed to mellow the wheat flavor and soften the bran. Both the breads were wonderful, even O. ate the full whole wheat, which she calls brown bread.

What do you all think? Would some vegetable or olive oil and a little honey give us some flavor back, allowing us to taste some of the additional flavors, like the herbs for instance, without cutting back on the whole wheat like some of you are thinking about?

Well, maybe I'll be brave and give it a try with the master dough. I'll let you know what happens if I do. I want to make the most of the next year baking together. I'll just go pull up some more chairs around my kitchen table.