Struan

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    three

    1½ pound loaves

Appears in

Enjoy the taste of Struan. First try it fresh and without butter. Notice its flavor, almost like that of a cake. Notice how the poppy seeds complement the flavor, not just garnish the loaf. See how the sweetness permeates but does not hide the flavor of the grains. Then try a slice with butter or margarine and see how it changes.

Finally, toast a thick piece and lightly butter it. This is the ultimate experience of Struan. All of the flavors are released, pushed to their extreme. The outside is crunchy, nutty, and deeply golden. The inside is soft and moist, soaking up the butter.

For all of these reasons, enjoy the Struan.

Ingredients

  • 7 cups high-gluten bread flour
  • ½ cup uncooked polenta
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • cup wheat bran
  • 4 tablespoons salt, preferably sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon instant yeast or 3 tablespoons active dry yeast1
  • ½ cup cooked brown rice
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • Approximately 2 cups water (the amount of water varies according to the moistness of the rice and the accuracy of the measurements of the dry ingredients)
  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds, for decoration

Method

Mixing

In a bowl mix all of the dry ingredients, including the salt and yeast. Add the cooked brown rice, honey, and buttermilk and mix. Then add 1 cup of the water, reserving about ½ cup for adjustments during kneading. With your hands squeeze the ingredients together until they make a ball. Sprinkle some flour on the counter and turn the ball out of the bowl and begin kneading. Add small quantities of water as needed.

Kneading

Because Struan has so many whole grains, it takes longer to knead than most bread, usually 12 to 15 minutes. The dough will change before your eyes, lightening in color, becoming gradually more elastic and evenly grained. The finished dough should be tacky but not sticky, lightly golden, stretchy and elastic rather than porridgelike. When you push the heels of your hands into the dough, it should give way but not necessarily tear. If it flakes or crumbles, add a little more water.

Proofing

Wash out the mixing bowl and dry it thoroughly. Put in the dough and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap or place bowl inside a plastic bag. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until it has roughly doubled in size.

Forming Loaves

This recipe makes about 5 pounds of dough (81 ounces, to be exact); to make 3 loaves of pounds each, cut the dough into 3 pieces—each will weigh 27 ounces. Roll up each piece into a loaf by pressing on the center with the heels of your hands and rolling the dough back over itself until a seam is formed. Tuck all the pieces of dough or end flaps into the seam, keeping only one seam in the dough. Pinch off the seam, sealing it as best you can and put the loaf, seam-side down, in a greased bread pan that measures 9 inches by inches by 3 inches. (For detailed directions on forming pan loaves) Brush an egg wash solution (1 egg beaten into 4 cups water) on top of each loaf and sprinkle poppy seeds on top.

Baking

Cover and allow the dough to rise till it crests over the top of the pan. Bake in a 350°F. oven (300°F. if yours is a convection oven) for approximately 45 minutes. The loaf should dome nicely and be a dark gold. The sides and bottom should be uniform medium gold and there should be an audible, hollow thwack when you tap the bottom of the loaf.

If the bread comes out of the pan dark on top but too light or soft on the sides or bottom, take the loaf out of the pan, return it to the oven, and finish baking until it is thwackable. Bear in mind that the bread will cook much faster once it is removed from the pan, so keep a close eye on it.

Allow the bread to cool thoroughly for at least 40 minutes before slicing it.

1 Proof active dry yeast first in 4 tablespoons lukewarm water.
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