It is not necessary to wait till the mood strikes nor to expect a mood to be evoked by wild rice. It is, after all, merely another food amidst the dozens of foods we eat. But if you could see the glint that someone gets when you say, “I have just made Wild Rice and Onion Bread,” you would understand perfectly why I hold that wild rice is one of those special foods that has its own power to affect people.
Mix all the dry ingredients, including the yeast and cooked, cooled rice blend, in a bowl, and then add the liquid ingredients, reserving a little water for later adjustments during kneading. Turn the mixture out onto a floured counter and knead for 10 to 12 minutes or until the dough is elastic, unified, and tacky but not sticky.
Return the dough to a clean bowl, cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap or slip the bowl into a plastic bag. Put in a warm spot (an oven with the pilot light on or a warm room) or leave it at room temperature. Depending on the temperature, allow between 45 minutes and 1½ hours for the dough to rise.
Because of the buttermilk and sugar, this bread is best when formed after one rise. Shape the dough into loaves according to the directions or into rolls according to the directions on page 37. Cover, and let the bread rise for between 45 minutes and 1 hour or till the dough crests above pan or doubles in size. Rolls will take as long to rise and should then be brushed with an egg wash made of
Bake at 350°F. (300°F. in a convection oven) for approximately 45 minutes. Rolls take from 12 to 15 minutes. The customary thwack on the bottom is still the best method for determining doneness.
This dough may be formed into a free-standing round shape but it must be baked at 350°F. (300°F. in a convection oven) because the buttermilk and sugar will caramelize and darken the loaf before it is finished if baked at too high a temperature. Cut a star pattern in the top with a razor or serrated knife and spray the loaves (see the recipe for French bread), to make the crust brittle. This style of bread is beautiful when served on a cutting board at the table.
© 1991 Peter Reinhart. All rights reserved.