Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Honey-Basil Wheat Bread & Blueberry Marmalade

Time to hit the farmers market for the last blueberries of the season! (At least around here.) We got a good deal on a whole flat of them last week. It also happens to be time for some serious basil consumption. I planted a ton! And I'm getting (just a little) tired of pesto...

We happily ate nothing but this for dinner one night last week. My soon-to-be 5 year old helped quite a bit with both components, and was proud of his simple supper! I think if we'd had some chèvre to go between the bread and the jam, it would have been just perfect. It paired well with a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc. Try this jam with anything herby, or slightly savory. Or you could try it atop warm brie...

Later in the week, we lopped it onto pork tenderloin for dinner (just think of the leftover pork sandwiches for lunch the next day... on honey-basil wheat bread, with chèvre and blueberry marmalade). YUM!

The more canned stuff on top of my fridge, the happier I am!
Blueberry Marmalade
1 lemon
2 medium-sized oranges
1.5 c. water
1/4 tsp. baking soda
8 c. blueberries, rinsed, picked over and crushed (that's 8 cups of crushed blueberries)
5-7 c. sugar (depending on the sweetness of your berries)
4 tsp. Pomona's Pectin + 4 tsp. calcium water (This pectin will make jam set without as much sugar as some recipes call for. If you don't use it, increase regular pectin a bit, according to package instructions.)

Sterilize your jars and lids/rings. I got 7 jars out of this batch...

Peel citrus and dice the zest. Combine the diced zest, water and baking soda in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain away liquid, reserving zest.

Meanwhile, remove as much white membrane from the citrus as you can and chop. Set aside.

Combine crushed blueberries (run them through a blender or use an immersion blender on them if you like your jam on the smoother side), calcium water (if using Pomona's Pectin) chopped citrus pulp and all but 1 cup of sugar in a very large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes. Make sure the sugar is dissolved. If you're using Pomona's pectin, mix the pectin powder with the reserved 1 cup of sugar. Add this to simmering pot and bring back to boil for 1-2 minutes, enough time to dissolve this last bit of sugar.

Remove from heat. Let cool a bit and add your drained, diced citrus zest. Let it cool a bit more so that foam settles a bit at the top.

Skim off the foam with a metal spoon.

Ladle into sterile jars, leaving 1/4" space at the top. Cap and seal.

Process in a boiling-water-bath canner for 10 minutes. You may have to adjust for altitude.

Honey-Basil Wheat Bread
1.5 TB active dry yeast
pinch of maple sugar (brown sugar works, too)
1 c. warm water (105 degrees F - 115 degrees F)
1.5 c. room temperature plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. canola oil
1 TB kosher salt
3 c. whole-wheat flour
3.5-4 c. bread flour
1/2 c. packed fresh basil, chopped

Bread is really an intuitive thing for me... This is the first recipe I've written down. If you don't bake bread often, but want to try this, here's some advice: Don't use all of the flour if you don't need it. Adjust your oven temp/timing according to your oven's quirks -- mine runs cool. Don't knead it until it's rock hard; you want it a bit sticky. And please don't be offended if you bake bread like all the time and my recipe says all the obvious stuff ;).
In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the warm water and stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes (if yours doesn't foam, try fresher yeast).

In a large bowl or the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine yogurt, honey, oil, salt and 2 c. of whole-wheat flour. Stir until creamy, about 1 minute with mixer. Beat in yeast mixture, basil and remaining 1 c. whole-wheat flour. Add in the bread flour, 1/2 c. at a time, until you can no longer stir it, or if using mixer - until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Switch to dough hook if using mixer, and continue to knead on low speed, adding flour 1/4 c. at a time, until smooth but slightly sticky when pressed (about 5 minutes). If kneading by hand, turn dough out onto slightly floured surface and knead in the remaining bread flour, stopping when dough is smooth but slightly sticky (5-10 minutes, depending on your kneading).

Transfer the dough to an oiled, deep bowl and turn it once to coat with a bit of oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warmish place until doubled, 1-1.5 hours.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and divide in half. You will make two circular loaves. One half at a time, press the dough flat then form into a ball. Using both hands, stretch the sides of the dough downward and under, rotating the ball as you do and pulling the surface tight to form a compact ball. Repeat for second half, and set at least 4" apart on parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover loosely with lightly-greased plastic wrap and let until doubled, about an hour.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Using a thin, sharp knife gently slash an X into the top of each loaf. Place in the oven and reduce heat to 425 degrees F. Bake until loaves are golden brown and make a nice sound when you knock on them (a hollow-ish sound), about 30 minutes, but this depends on your oven, really. Transfer to rack and cool completely.

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