Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Colored Bread

Someone mentioned "brown bread," the other day and I was reminded of other colors of bread. I made pink bread one time and another time it was sort of... purple, I guess.

The pink bread was made with wheat flour and milled dehydrated tomatoes - pretty good, too. I added garlic and onion to it, but should have added a little cheese sauce mix.

The purple came from a few beans that I tried to grow which didn't return enough of a harvest to make them worthwhile. I milled them into flour and added it to wheat flour. It wasn't as good as the tomato bread, but we ate it just the same - and as fast, too.

What else can you put in bread? Nuts and seeds, of course. Don't get hung up on sunflower seeds and almonds or walnuts. Try amaranth, caraway, lamb's quarter, or any kind of edible seeds, wild or not. Add oats, either rolled or milled into flour. Cracked wheat, barley and rye. Any vegetable that's been dehydrated to a crisp or hard texture. Sprouts can be added, too.

For the frugal part of this, you can use beans that are too old to cook up well, popcorn that won't pop and some of that squash you enthusiastically dehydrated last year and now can't find a way to use it up. Make "flour" of them and bake some bread.

Want to go a step further? Milled crackers or cracker crumbs. Unwanted pancake mix. Leftover popcorn... you get the idea.

Here are the "rules"

  • Don't use much of anything unusual, maybe a quarter to a half cup for a loaf of fluffier stuff like popped popcorn, (chop finely by hand or with a food processor) and less for dense, small seeds.

  • Don't use more than a fourth to a third total of any other flour than wheat without a recipe because some other flours don't have gluten, which is needed for the dough to rise.

  • Go by the feel of the dough instead of a recipe. Some flours and combinations will absorb more liquid than others, so if the dough feels stiff, add a little more liquid.

This is not for the faint of heart, nor is it for complete novices at bread baking, but if you've baked bread before and you'd like to try something a little different, why not? Experimentation is how all those great recipes got started, anyway, and you can use food that would othewise be thrown out.

Maybe I should have called it frugal bread, but the color can sometimes be surprising. You can use a combination of things in bread dough, but keep the flavors complimentary. Tomatoes and cheese, rye and dill or corn flour and milled, commercial "bacon" bits are a few that work together well.

Try it. Half the fun of being frugal is in just trying it.


  1. I have added various ingredients to quick breads, but never really considered yeast bread. Hmmm.....I think I will try walnuts.

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