It is the most common and most popular baked product which is had all round the world in some or the other form. Each country has its own recipe and specialties when it comes to making brown bread. It contains significant amounts of whole grain flour like wheat or rye and is sometimes coloured with molasses, coffee or caramel. Brown Bread is consumed in many forms like bread rolls, bread buns, and loaves etc which are leavened breads. Since they contain whole grain flour, they are most sought after by the health conscious. In other words, in the process of making brown bread, the bran and germ of the wheat flour are not removed and left intact. The result is that the bread retains all its essential nutrients, along with the much healthy fiber.
Leavened Brown breads, which are most common, use four main ingredients: Flour, salt, sugar, water and yeast. To make bread, ensure that you scale and weigh the ingredients properly. Once that is done, you can start preparing the dough for bread. Mixed dough for yielding aerated loaf of bread should be fermented for the proper length of time during which time yeast cells act on the sugars and produce carbon dioxide and alcohol. Once fermented, the dough will rise in volume which is because of gas retention. This risen dough is punched to release the gases and covered under a wet muslin cloth. The dough will rise once again and will be punched again to remove the gases, will be rolled into desired shapes and then baked.
A baker makes use of various additives which are collectively called Bread Improvers. These improvers enables the baker to produce to produce an improved loaf, with better keeping properties, finer texture, softer crumb, added bloom or enhanced flavour. Bread additives can be in the form of mineral additives, enriching agents or yeast foods like malt sugar, demerara sugar etc.
Basic bread dough can be shaped into various sizes and designs. They can be shaped in the form of plaits, made into a chessboard design using white bread dough and brown bread dough, bread rolls, sticks, croissants, loaves etc. Also, they can be flavoured with various ingredients like garlic, herbs, potato, cheese etc.
When bread is a little old, it can be dried in the oven or toasted on open flame and then ground into bread crumbs. Alternatively, bread can be cubed and deep fried to make croutons which can be stored for a longer time.
Staleness in bread is the dryness and crumbliness felt by the palate. The flavour gets insipid as the bread gets more stale. Crumb staling happens because if changes in starch. Thus, staling is a shift of moisture within the loaf rather than its loss. Thus, bread makers use anti staling agents like lecithin, soya flour, GMS etc which improves texture and increases volume etc.
How to select
If purchasing from the bakery, ensure that it is freshly baked. You can make out from the crust and aroma of the bread. If purchasing sandwich bread, check the manufacturing date, expiry date and packaging.
· Brown Bread, when baked in a loaf form, can be thinly or thickly sliced as per recipe requirement. Maintain or discard the crust if you want. Sliced bread loaves are most commonly used to make sandwiches with various fillings like vegetables, shredded chicken, salami, cheese, omelette etc (toasted or grilled), open toasts, hot dog rolls, submarines, etc.
· Brown Bread is a basic accompaniment to soups. These breads are usually in the form of dinner rolls, grissini sticks etc.
· Brown Bread, when baked into buns, act as a base for burgers. Burger buns are usually sprinkled with poppy seeds or sesame seeds.
· Butter a few slices of brown bread and rub some garlic on each slice. Cut into cubes and bake in the oven till crisp. Use as croutons for soups. They can be flavoured with herbs, cheese etc.
· Brown Bread dough can be stuffed with a creamy sauce cooked with vegetables like sweet corn, mushrooms, herbs and cheese. Bake and serve as a mid day snack.
· Brown Bread dough can be rolled thinly and then topped with poppy seeds, sesame seeds etc. Cut into thin strips or into triangles and then bake till golden brown and crisp. These strips can be used as crackers or as a garnish for salads.
How to store
It is best consumed when bought fresh. However, if it remains, cover in plastic film, place in a bread box and then store under refrigerated conditions. Try and use as soon as possible. Alternatively, grind into bread crumbs or cube and deep fry to make bread croutons which can be stored in an air tight container for few days. Brown Bread that is kept in warm or moist conditions is prone to mold growth.
· Those who are aiming for weight loss or are otherwise health conscious should prefer brown bread, since it has much less calories than the white one and also keeps you feeling full for a longer time (owing to the fiber content).
· Brown Breads are high in fiber and other nutrients as compared to white bread since it is not processed like white bread.
· The fiber present in brown bread can help reduce the risk of some chronic diseases like constipation etc. It also helps keep the blood sugar at lower levels, thus helping one to manage diabetes better.
· Since fiber help lowers LDL cholesterol (the Bad cholesterol) and the total cholesterol, whole wheat brown bread has been associated with reducing the risk of heart disease.
· They can add healthy vitamins, minerals and fats to the body.
· Eating as a slice of bread before bedtime is known to reduce anxiety and promote sleep.