Q. I make bread in the breadmaker using white whole wheat flour, butter, sugar, salt, egg, warm water and yeast. It tastes good but is dense, not fluffy/light. How can I make it fluffy and light?
A. There are a few things that can cause bread to be dense instead of light. The process that makes bread rise involves effective yeast and proper proofing (rising). So if you have expired yeast, or water that was either too hot or too cold and didn’t allow the yeast to puff up, that could be causing dense bread. If the yeast is fine, but the dough isn’t allowed to proof, that could also be causing the problem.
I used to make my challah in a bread machine because it made a perfect dough and I just didn’t have the confidence at that point to do it on my own. But I would just allow the machine to mix and then let it rise once, and then I’d take it out of the canister and flip it into a lightly oiled bowl and allow it to rise again, covered, for about half an hour or until nearly doubled in size. It’s possible that the machine is not giving the bread room to rise and that is causing the density.
Of course taking it out of the machine means you’ll be baking it in something other than a bread bucket, but that just opens up a world of opportunity for you. This is the time to add slivered garlic cloves and dried herbs, sliced kalamata olives, or pecans and craisins. Or leave it plain. Whatever floats your boat. You can then braid it, or break it into small round pieces to create a pull-apart. Or if you’re rushed simply drop it into a loaf pan to achieve a bread-like shape.
Best of luck!
Oh, and about your second question – I’ve never tried Fuego Mundo’s beans and rice, so can’t even begin to recreate the recipe. But ask them! I went to an unbelievable restaurant* in New York and they gave me their signature whole grain bread recipe. I was really impressed that they were willing to share. It told me that they have the confidence that people will keep coming back for their food and the distinct way they create and serve it.
*Shout out for Natural Village Cafe in Brooklyn. Beautiful space, great ambiance, very wholesome, nutritious, fresh, health-conscious food.