Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Bakery

When Joe and I were living in California, I worked at a bakery. I believe that I have mentioned that here before, but never directly referenced the bakery. It’s funny actually, when we were making our way across the country I must have mentioned to Joe that it might be nice to work at a bakery. You see, I had read some book about a woman who leaves her job, heads to a new state and works as a bread baker. The book wasn’t that good, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the possibility of working in a bakery.
Getting settled in CA was a pretty big obstacle for me; terrible neighborhood, no money, no job, no internet but lots of cockroaches. Sounds dreamy doesn’t it? But we made it through, fairly unscathed and now I have some fun stories about it – so that makes it all worthwhile.

After getting the gas turned on in the apartment, the next most important thing was finding a job. In applying for jobs, I scoured newspaper ads, and walked to the public library to wait with the other colorful residents of Long Beach for internet access an hour at a time. This forced me to streamline my applications and made me a wizard at blocking out the loud mutterings of a homeless man that always seemed to need the internet at the same time as me.
Before I got the job at the bakery, I had applied to a company that sells items to prison commissaries (travel to prisons included) and an internet dating site (which asked me if I would be able to lie to people in order to convince them to continue paying for the program). I got neither of these jobs, thank goodness. But when I looked online and saw a bakery sales person position open, I jumped at the chance.
Rossmoor Pastries is in Signal Hill, and has been going strong for over 20 years. After I interviewed, one of the owners of the bakery told me that as soon as she saw me she knew I belonged at the bakery. Now, don’t get me wrong I had some ups and downs there, but overall it was a wonderful (and tasty) experience. I sampled my way through endless pastries, goodies, and pant sizes all while making friends and becoming part of the Rossmoor family.

But onto the point of this post (before I get too nostalgic): Breakfast Bread. Breakfast Bread was a recipe unique to Rossmoor Pastries and one of the few things that was healthy. Now when I say healthy I’m not talking about convincing yourself that a slice of carrot cake is healthy, I mean it is full of fiber and protein healthy.
The owners of Rossmoor Pastries are both very active and health conscious. We went on walks up Signal Hill’s hill, kick boxed in a park and generally had a very good time. Both owners love to bike and Charlie was featured in Bicycling Magazine back in 2009. This recipe comes from that magazine article, and I can tell you that it is very similar to the original. But if you happen to be in the Long Beach area, I highly recommend stopping by Rossmoor Pastries for a quick treat, and this breakfast bread. And maybe you can say ‘hi’ to my bakery family for me.

German Breakfast Bread
As adapted from Bicycling Magazine July 2009
The original recipe calls for spelt granola – I could not find spelt granola. So I used whole spelt kernels, which don’t really soften in the bread. I would suggest grinding the spelt kernels up a bit with a mortar and pestle or in a food processor. To serve this, slice it thin (it is dense and heavy), toast, and spread with cream cheese or a nut butter for a filling breakfast. Or spread with butter or nutella for a snack you can still feel good about.

1 c warm water (100°-110°F)
2 Tb honey
2 Tb olive oil
1 package dry yeast
2 c spelt flour, divided
¾ c white whole wheat flour, divided
1 ½ tsp salt
½ c spelt kernels, crushed
½ c raisins

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine water, honey, oil and yeast. Mix gently until the yeast dissolves, about 1 minute. Then add in 1 cup of the spelt flour, ½ c of the whole wheat flour, and the salt, mix for 3-4 minutes. It will be a very soft mixture. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let rise in a warm draft free place for about 30 minutes, or until it has doubled in size.

Next, with a dough hook, add in the remaining flours and spelt kernels, mix until thoroughly combined and the dough is smooth and elastic, adding more whole wheat flour as necessary. At the very end of mixing, toss in the raisins and mix to combine. (If you do not have an electric mixer with a dough hook, this can be done by hand on a floured board.)

Form dough into a loaf-shape and place in a loaf pan. Cover again with the damp kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350°.

Bake the bread until golden brown, 30-40 minutes.

Makes 1 loaf.

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