Sunday, January 05, 2014

Winterfell Black Bread

To go with the Guinness beef stew I made yesterday, I thought it would be fun to bake some dark, soft buttered bread. I have a Game of Thrones Cookbook (I know, it's kitschy, but the ironically-titled Hunger Games Cookbook has some of the best recipes I've ever made, so I was hopeful). There is a recipe in it for Winterfell Black Bread (which also can be found on Epicurious), and I thought it sounded promising.

And I'm sure it could have been promising if I hadn't totally screwed it up. I've tried so hard to figure out what I did wrong. It didn't rise. At any point. But I'd committed, so I stuffed it into a pan and baked it anyway. The yeast had bubbled like it was supposed to when I mixed up the starter, and the dough had the right elasticity when I was kneading it. Was the temperature of the house wrong? Did the yeast suddenly decide not to work? Was the bread flour not working properly? What the hell happened?

We'll never know. What we will know is that this is the monstrosity that came out of the oven.


Instead of rising over the top of a 9x5 bread pan, the thickness of this is approximately 1 inch. It's awful. My friend said he'd try it, so he took a bite and said, "I know you tried, but this is just awful." My gentleman suggested I place it in the trash (which I did). It was just not yummy at all. Ugh. If you try this and it works, please let me know!


Winterfell Black Bread
The Unofficial Game of Thrones Cookbook by Alan Kistler
(Also on Epicurious)

2/3 cup warm water
1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast -- (1 package)
3 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 cup medium rye flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon caraway seeds -- toasted and ground
2 cups bread flour -- (2-3)
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon strong coffee

1. In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, and 1 tablespoon of the molasses. Stir to dissolve and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

2. Add remaining molasses, oil, and rye flour; stir to combine. Add salt, caraway, and enough bread flour to create a firm dough. Add flour only to reduce stickiness. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead 5-8 minutes. Return to bowl, dust the top with flour, and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap. Rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

3. Coat a 9" x 5" loaf pan with pan spray and line the bottom and short sides with a strip of parchment. (If you don't have pan spray and parchment, grease the bottom and sides of pan with vegetable shortening.) Turn risen dough onto a floured surface and shape into an oblong loaf. Place into prepared pan and set aside to proof for 30 minutes, or until dough rises above the pan. Preheat oven to 350°F.

4. Combine honey and coffee; brush gently onto the surface of risen dough. Bake until golden brown and hollow sounding, about 30-40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes, remove from pan, and cool completely on a rack.

Yield: 1 loaf

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