Caraway Seed Quick Bread- Soaked Grain Version

This has always been one of my favorite quick breads, and now that I’ve had the soaked version, I love it even more.  WOW.
The original recipe is from A World of Breads., by Delores Castella.  I have posted the original, which, again, is incredibly delicous, here.

For this batch, because I am trying flour soaking, I made several significant changes to the original recipe:
Soaking the flour
Using buttermilk instead of regular milk
melting butter and mixing it into the flour instead of cutting it in with a pastry blender
substituting baking soda for some of the baking powder
using real maple syrup instead of brown sugar

At first, I didn’t think it was going to turn out, and I was more than a little worried, but then we worked it out (the boy helped me finish mixing it).

This made three pie pans- it should have made four, and I don’t know if the lesser amount is because of all the batter the Boy splattered about the kitchen while helping, if he and the FYG put too much batter in the first couple of pans, if our pans were too large (ahhh, on editing this post, I think that’s the problem) or if something I did in altering the ingredients changed things.

First, I spent a lot of time reading up on soaking grains.  Two things that seemed to me to be most important:

1. If the flour is freshly ground (and ours always is- DHM), then you only need to soak for a few hours.

2. “If you adapt a recipe that uses baking powder to rise like muffins or cornbread, you may need to decrease the baking powder and add up to 1 tsp. baking soda to make up for the sour factor in the soaking medium. Try the recipe normally first, but if your result is more dense than you’re used to, adjust as needed.”

(Read more: How to Soak Flour in Whole Grain Recipes

So… I am going to tell you what we did, and then I am going to repeat the recipe with corrections of our mistakes and in short form so you can highlight and print more easily.
What we did:
Step one:  Combine 2 cups of buttermilk and 2 sticks plus 5 T. butter, or 1 1/3 cups of butter (melted), and  two cups of buttermilk.  Stir well.  Cover bowl with a towel.  Leave to soak for several hours .

Problem:  Melted butter plus cold buttermilk plus a cool kitchen -= dough the consistency of sugar cookie dough that has been refrigerated when you go to stir it hours later.  In all seriousness, I could slice this dough with a knife, and I tried that (it worked, but did not help with mixing).   

The dough would not fall off the spoon, and the spoon could stand straight up inside the center of the lump.

Uh, oh.

Well, I had faith that it would all work out in the end, not to brag, but my baking usually does, although I will make one glorious mess in the meantime.
So I just moved the lump of firm, heavy dough to the Bosch and added the remaining ingredients:

3 T. baking powder
1 Scant T. baking soda
1 t. salt
3/4 cup of maple syrup (could also use 1/2 cup of honey instead)
3 scant T. of caraway seed (possibly should soak these with the flour?)
8 eggs

Yeah.
That didn’t work.
We tried, anyway.

That’s when the splattering began- but the lumps remained lumps.

I posited that it had to do with cold air and warm butter, so we dirtied up yet a third bowl by putting the lumps of dough in it and microwaving it just about a minute, maybe less, so as to warm it all up again.

Then we returned the dough, still lumpy, but warmer and softer, to the Bosch and:

YES!!

YES, YES, YES, YES, YES, YES, YES, YES, YES!!!

Whooot!!!!!

Sorry, I got kind of excited about that.  Next we greased the pie pans, baked as directed (about half an hour at 350), and then we ate.

And ate.
And ate some more.

Jenny said she could make a meal just on this bread.

As I said, I have always loved it, but this?  This was amazing.

I keep reading that when you soak your quick breads, you will find that the resulting bread is lighter, more tender, more, well- better.  I couldn’t figure out what that meant.

I took a bite of this bread and my taste-buds skipped in pleasure.  My tongue said, “Oh, I love you, too.”  My stomach said, “That’s what I’ve been talking ’bout.”. 

Ooooh.  This is what that means.

Lighter.

Tenderer.

Delicate, but oh-so-delicious and filling.  It takes the supreme and makes it divinely sublime.

The only criticism is that this may have been just a touch too tender, it broke in half under the weight of being buttered, but we all picked up our pieces and ate every single crumb.
I think that may be the baking soda.  I think since my wheat is freshly ground (seconds before soaking in buttermilk), I should have kept to the original four tablespoons of baking powder and no baking soda.  I’ll try that next time.
It also might be the maple syrup instead of the brown sugar called for the in the original.  but if that’s the case, oh, well.

Five of us finished off one pan speedily at supper, and then started on the second:

The third pan had a scanty amount of batter and got slightly overdone, but we’re eating it tomorrow anyway.

This is good stuff.  And having tasted it soaked, I am encouraged to continue to try my experiments in soaking grains, because this was really, really fabulous- and, again, I already LOVED this recipe.

How to Make the Best Version of Caraway Seed Quick Bread with soaked grains

6 cups whole wheat pastry flour (we only use freshly ground whole wheat for this, pastry flour would be great)
2 cups buttermilk
2 sticks plus 5 T. butter, or 1 1/3 cups of butter or coconut oil, melted

Put in bowl, cover with a wet towel or a lid for the bowl, and leave in a warm place to soak for several hours (at least seven would be great)

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven (350) and add:

3 T. of aluminium free baking powder
1 Scant T. baking soda (if you use store bought flour, eliminate the baking soda and use 4 T of aluminum free baking powder)
1 t. salt
3/4 cup of maple syrup (could also use 1/2 cup of honey instead)
3 scant T. of caraway seed (possibly should soak these with the flour?)
8 eggs

After the dough has soaked for a while (in a *warm* place, where it won’t dry out),  add the remaining ingredients and mix just enough to make a batter

Spread in four buttered 9 inch pie pans. Bake until browned, or for 1/2 an hour, at 350 degrees, cut into wedges and serve hot with plenty of butter.

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