Lately I did ponder, with good reason in the ER, the differential diagnosis for olfactory hallucinations. I came up with the usual suspects: temporal lobe seizures, head injury causing subdural hematoma, brain tumor, severe sinusitis, or stroke. I came home from the ER shift and realized that perhaps I had missed one important item on the differential: this bread. Should this bread crumble into the folds of one’s clothes, or comingle with one’s nares in any manner of ways–I would imagine Aroma Bread could present just so. Be on guard, ER docs. But even if the patient has been to my house and ate this bread, get a CT and EEG just in case.
Aroma Bread with Coriander and Fennel
3 cups whole grain spelt flour
1 cup whole grain rye flour
1/2 cup coarse or medium stone-ground whole grain cornmeal (2 ounces)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup flax or sesame seeds
2 tablespoons aroma spice blend (see below)
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon rapid-rise or instant yeast
1/2 cup whole wheat, rye, Kamut, or spelt berries, soaked overnight and drained (optional)
2 cups cold water
Cornmeal, for sprinkling
Aroma Spice Blend
6 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
3 tablespoons fennel
3 tablespoons caraway seeds
To prepare the dough, start at least 12 hours ahead. Whisk together all the ingredients except the whole grain berries and the water in a large bowl. Scatter the grain berries on top and add almost all the water. Stir with a dough whisk or a wooden spoon until the flour is incorporated. The dough should be wet and sticky to the touch, like firm oatmeal; otherwise, add a bit more water. But don’t worry too much about the liquid-to-flour ratio, as this is a forgiving dough. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature to ferment for at least 12 hours and up to 18 hours.
The next day, finish the bread. Sprinkle a linen or cotton kitchen towel (not terry cloth) with cornmeal and generously flour your work surface. Using a bench scraper or a rubber spatula, scrape the stringy, bubbly dough onto the work surface. Using floured hands, fold it exactly 4 times, always toward the center — from the right and from the left, as well as from the top and the bottom. Turn the loaf upside down so the fold is at the bottom, and set it on the kitchen towel. Fold the towel over the loaf to cover, and let sit for about 1 hour.
After about 30 minutes, position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat to 475°F. Place a 4 1/2- to 5 1/2-quart cast-iron pot or Dutch oven with its lid in the center of the rack. After about 1 hour, your loaf should have nicely risen. (When you press it with your finger about 1/4 inch deep, the dimple should remain; if not, wait 15 more minutes.)
Using thick pot holders, carefully remove the cast-iron pot from the oven and place it on a couple of folded kitchen towels (to avoid cracking); uncover. Unwrap the dough, sprinkle with a bit more cornmeal, and invert directly from the kitchen towel into the pot, seam side up (it might look a bit wiggly; that’s normal). If the dough doesn’t drop into the center, shake the pot once or twice (use caution, it is hot!).
Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until the loaf is nicely browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 200°F, 20 to 25 minutes. Using thick pot holders, remove the loaf from the cast-iron pot and transfer to a wire rack. If you can resist, allow to cool completely, about 3 hours, before cutting the loaf with a sharp serrated knife.
Now, it may seem counter-intuitive to add aroma to something with high baseline aroma–but trust me, it works! Make this spinach dip and spread it on top of toasted Aroma bread!
Adapted from Hyvee Seasons Magazine
1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and liquid squeezed out
1 (6 oz) container nonfat plain yogurt
1 (8 oz) package low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. 2% milk
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp hot sauce
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Transfer to an 8-inch-square baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes or until top is golden.
I was surprised how good this tasted. So surprised, I almost signed myself up for an EEG.