Microwave Oven for a Bread Proofing Box

Wheatberry Bread Dough Ready for the Oven
Wheatberry Bread Dough Ready for the Oven

Most baking days I enjoy retarding my bread dough, feeling the slower rise results in a more complex flavor. But there are days when I don’t have enough time to take the leisurely approach. On those days, I use the rapid method for proofing my dough by using the microwave as a proofing box. This method takes about half the conventional time for proofing. Follow these steps:

  1. Prepare the yeast dough according to your recipe.
  2. Place 3 ½ cups water in a 4 cup glass container and microwave on High until boiling (about 7 minutes)
  3. Grease a glass bowl using 2-3 tsp. vegetable oil. Add your dough to bowl and turn the dough over to oil the top.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and set bowl in a microwave beside the container of boiling water.
  5. Microwave on Low (10% Power) for 5 minutes or on Medium Low (30% Power) for 2 minutes. Do not open door. Let dough rise 20 to 30 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.
  6. Punch down dough, shape and place in non-metal baking pan. Repeat steps 2 through 5 for second rising of dough.

REF: Prepared by Patricia Redlinger, Ph.D. ISU Extension Food Science Specialist, November 1988.

Beth Marrs

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Adult Home Economics Education. I love to cook and entertain and spend time with my family.

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Sourdough Quinoa

Quinoa BreadOne of my favorite breads to make on a regular basis is Sourdough Quinoa Bread. Quinoa is relatively new to the American market and has recently received much attention. Though unheard of not too many years ago, quinoa is actually referred to as an “ancient grain” and the “mother grain” of the Incas. Quinoa is a complete protein, with an amino acid balance and higher protein content than any other grain. It’s a good source of iron, magnesium, zinc and some B vitamins. There are many recipes using this nutritious ingredient on-line. Check one out today!

Beth Marrs

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Adult Home Economics Education. I love to cook and entertain and spend time with my family.

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Sourdough Quinoa and Kamut Berry Bread Loaves
Sourdough Bread, Baked and Ready to Eat
sourdough starter picture
Sourdough Starter, Ready to Go!

A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate to attend a Fermentation Workshop in Madison, Wisconsin. Being a sourdough enthusiast, I was thrilled to see so many people interested in the fermentation process. Classes were held in subjects ranging from making sauerkraut and kimchi; brewing beer; making Indian sourdough bread (dosas) and regular sourdough bread (aka San Francisco sourdough); making kefir, yogurt, kombucha and more. I have an interest in all of these topics and will discuss a few in this blog in the coming weeks.

My first fermentation passion started eight and a half years ago as I watched Julia Child’s “Cooking with Master Chefs” one Saturday morning on our local PBS station. Nancy Silverton was the chef of choice in this particular show and she stirred up an amazing sourdough starter using very few ingredients. As soon as the show was over I mixed the ingredients to form my first (and current) starter and eventually gave it a name – Fremont! The picture above, left, shows Fremont after a day or two of feeding. As pictured it is easy to see he is ready and waiting to create a delicious sourdough bread product, be it a baguette of bread, a crisp pizza crust, a dinner roll or quick and easy sourdough pancakes. The picture on the right shows a sourdough kamut berry bread in front and several loaves of sourdough quinoa bread on the cutting board.

To begin a sourdough starter of your own, all you need do is combine: 2 cups flour, 2 cups warm water and 2 tablespoons of dry yeast (not Rapid Rise) and mix well. Cover lightly and allow to  stand in a warm place till light and foamy, at least 8 to 10 hours. Place ½ cup of this mixture in a clean jar and cover. Refrigerate. This is the Basic Sourdough Starter. The remaining ‘sponge’ (about 2 ½ – 2 ¾ cups of the starter) can be used immediately for making into baked products. Then each time baked products are to be made, remove the basic dough starter from the refrigerator. Add 2 cups flour and 2 cups warm water. Repeat as for making starter and sponge, reserving ½ cup for refrigeration and using the remainder for making the product you want. I will share some sourdough recipes in future posts, so be watching.

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

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