Yum Peaceful Cooking: Whole Wheat Bread and Soup

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Whole Wheat Bread and Soup

What comes first...the bread or the soup? Do you want the good news first or the bad news? Is the cup half empty or half full?

Last but not least....are you wondering what the hell I'm talking about?

This is the first official (but technically the 3rd) posting for HBin5, which is hosted by Michelle over at Big Black Dogs. She's doing an awesome job. We even have a calendar set up to let us know what's coming out way for the next 1 1/2 years of baking our way through Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day (awesome cookbook for those who love those no-knead breads). Our assignment, should we choose to accept, was to make a loaf of bread, crackers and an epi loaf (basically, an epi is bread dough that has been sliced to resemble a stalk of wheat). For this assignment, so far I've only done 2 out of 3. The bread and the crackers. I plan on making the epi loaf this weekend. I'll let you know how that works out.

Have you ever made crackers before? I had "thickness" issues. Some turned out to be a little on the thick side and others were nice and thin. I also over seasoned mine. Argh. But those are my issues, not the recipes. I'm not allowed to post the recipe but you might be able to find it on the actual chefs' blog Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. I have both of thier books....which I LOVE. The blog has several of their recipes (which are all no-knead btw...woooo hoo)....plus a ton of tips on techniques and knowhow.

I think I have issues with my fridge too. Well, not my everyday kitchen fridge but the one in the garage (for the overflow stuff). It gets super cold. If I were to put a head of iceberg lettuce in it...it would get ruined. Sooo...my point is, my dough gets WAY cold. I think I need to let my dough rise longer because of this. Something I need to adjust and play with. I'd like the bread to come out a bit lighter.

I also have decided to use White Whole Wheat flour. It's milder in taste but still retains all the nutrients. From what I understand, white whole wheat just uses the lighter colored wheat. Same nutrients. Same flour texture....lighter in color and flavor.

My other problem is I need to invest in a thermometer. One of those ones that I can insert into the center of the bread to make sure it's done. With this free-form techinque...I think it's a must. Even though the directions say...grapefruit sized wad of dough....well, it's not an exact science unless I decide to weigh it each time to make sure its a pound.

Soo....now that you all know my bread weaknesses....lets look at my crackers and see what I did wrong. (looks like you're getting the bad news first, then the good news )

After dusting my tub of dough with a bit of flour, I got out a wad (it's super cold....not dried out...just shy of being frozen)

Pulled it into a ball (my fingers got sooo cold)

Then I divided it in half so I could make two batches of crackers....two different flavors

Rolled the dough out really thin

Brushed with olive oil....sprinkled seasoning over it, then cut it into little crackers...

Oh ya...you need to pierce the crackers with a fork so they don't puff up like little mini loaves of bread.

Place on parchment paper and then cook. Now I heard about a nice little trick that I will try next time. That is....roll the dough on the parchment paper and cut and everything. Then you won't have to transfer these tiny little squares to the pan as you slightly distort each cracker.

Like I mentioned, I made two different batches. One was with the chili powder for a spicy flavor and the other one was with garlic powder, onion powder and salt.

Some were thick and doughy....and some were thin and crunchy. I really need to practice more. But I have to say... it was fun

Now...for my loaf. Same dough recipe. Only I used the white whole wheat. Which I do like the milder flavor much better. I still need to work on the time table...both for rising (since the dough is so cold to begin with) and for cooking...which proves my need for a thermometer. But it's ooooh so good. I seasoned the top of the bread with a little garlic powder, salt and pepper just prior to popping it into the oven. Lets just say...this is both of my teenage daughters favorite so far.

I made this loaf this morning before I went to work. 90 minutes rise time, 30 minutes cooking time. My plan?

To serve with a nice bowl of Garam Masala Cream Soup...which is so quick and easy...done in 30 minutes...can't beat that!

1/4 cup butter
1 lb chopped veggies (you're favorite....fresh, frozen....whatever you have on hand)
1/2 cup flour
14.5 oz broth, chicken or veggie
2 1.2 cups milk
1 tablespoon garam masala seasoning
1 tablespoon parsley flakes

Melt butter in a pan over med-high heat. Add your veggies and saute until tender. If using fresh, you may want to cover the pan so they get tender faster (especially if its been a long day at work and it's late and you're tired). Stir in the flour and continue stirring for 1 minute. Add the broth and milk. Stir and cook for about 10 minutes, until the soup is thick and creamy. Now stir in the garam masala and parsley. Serve and enjoy with a nice slice of homemade bread.

And while I'm at it, I think I'll enter this in Souper Sundays over at

If you need ideas on soups, salads or sammies....Deb's is the place!


  1. OH MY GOODNESS! This has to be the best loaf I've seen yet! Really gorgeous rise and shape too!

    I truly need more practice baking on a stone. But unfortunately J. will not eat bread baked on a stone. It's just weird!

    And your soup looks absolutely delicious!

  2. All beautiful and delicious. The bread looks so good, and the soup so comforting.

  3. Wow you are really getting the bread down pat!! Looks great! Awesome on the crackers too!!

  4. Your crackers look great! I'm jealous ;D I only had a couple turn out well enough, but that is the fun in learning. Your bread looks delicious paired with the soup.

  5. That bread looks great! And those crackers! So cool! You're really doing well with this!

  6. I love the crumb of your bread! It really looks nice, like it's from a bakery. And the idea of seasonings on top was brilliant.

  7. Love the flavor of garam masala....delicious soup! perfect bread! Great job!

  8. Your crackers look great! I didn't try them, but now I might.

  9. I am loving this post... there is nothing more satisfying than a loaf of bread... and now crackers!!!

  10. That bread looks wicked good! I've never made crackers myself, I can imagine them being difficult.

  11. Your crackers and loaf look great!

  12. Great job! Your crackers came out better than mine...hm I seem to be saying that alot on these sites! LOL. Oh well, I'll keep trying. You loaf looks good also!

  13. Your crackers and bread both look so yummy! I like your seasonings! And your delicious soup! Must of been great to dunk the bread in.

  14. Beautiful loaf! Your crackers look so much more uniformed in size then mine. Mine were all streched out when I moved them.
    Those chili ones look HOT! :)

  15. i had the same issues with my crackers, and it seemed i just couldn't get them thin enough. i love your bread loaf, gorgeous, and what a perfect soup to serve it with!

  16. Great idea to roll the crackers on the parchment paper! I do that with pizza and I never even considered it for the crackers!!!

  17. GAH! I have to learn to bake bread:(

  18. Beautiful crackers! I forgot to use my bench knife to cut the crackers. Thanks for the tips!

  19. Your loaf is spectacular. Looks perfect for making sandwiches.

  20. Your crackers came out so much better than mine! Jealous :) Nice work, lady!

  21. I am so jealous--crackers and bread? I've got to get my butt off of the computer and into the kitchen. The problem here is that everyone is on a diet and no one wants to eat anything good. sigh.

  22. Wonderful soup and that is one gorgeous loaf of bread too, not to mention the crackers. Thanks for sending the soup along to Souper Sundays!

  23. Gorgeous!

    What brand flour did you use?

    Helen in CA

  24. Michelle - I love baking on a stone!! Actually, I don't think I've ever not baked on a stone since I've had the stone longer than I've been baking bread LOL. Sooo...does the stone make the bread taste any different?

    Dajana and Tango - thanks gals!! see ya's over in Bakespace :)

    Kim - no need to be jealous cuz only a few of my turned out too! LOL

    Michele - You oughta try at least making the bread!

    Cristie - thank you!!! The seasoning is really fun! I kinda would rather add the garlic powder later in the baking process but I'm afraid to open the oven door

    Erica - garam masala is one of my favorite seasonings...so full of flavor

    Teresa - you should try it....just for the experience. I think a lot of us HBin5 peeps had the same issues.

    Dave - lets see you grill crackers!! :D

    Bob - I don't know if the crackers are difficult....if you know what to do. I just haven't figured that part out yet LOL

    Raelyn - Thank you :)

    Ezzie - I feel the same way but it did make me feel better when I saw how everyone had the same issue with "pillow" crackers LOL

    Reeni - there's nothing better (well, not that I'm gonna mention here LOL) than homemade bread dunked in homemade soup

    Miss M&P Thank you :)

    Megan - I didn't show the deformed crackers but trust me, I had plenty LOL

    Teresa - I'd like to try the cracker thing again, with the parchment paper trick and see if that makes a difference

    Pam - HAHA, isn't it funny how we get stuck and don't think beyond? I do that all the time and end up feeling like Homer Simpson (doh!!)

    Chris - I'm telling ya....do it on the grill! I swear, it can be done. Consider this to be a challenge! :)

    Judy - I tried using a pizza cutter but it didn't work.....now I have to look up "bench knife" and see what that is LOL

    Judy - it made good little sammies :)

    Joanna - you're too funny....don't be jealous...i didnt' show the deformed ones hahaha

    Cathy - Thats what co-workers are for!! LMAO

    Deb - thanks for including me in the Souper Sundays! I have another on for you next week :)

    Helen - I used King Arthur cuz it was the only brand I could find that had white whole wheat :)

  25. nce loaf and great looking crackers. Your post reminds me that I forgot to prick my crackers, argh! mayb ethat is why i did not care so much for them?


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