Home Bread-Bakers v099.n056.2


Sat, 23 Oct 1999 16:12:12 -0500
Karen Colosimo, Struan is the signature bread of Brother Juniper's Bakery
in Santa Rosa, California.  The following material is quoted from
_Brother Juniper's Bread Book _ by Peter Reinhart.

	"Brother Juniper's Struan is made from wheat, corn, oats, brown rice, and
bran.  It is moistened with buttermilk and sweetened with brown sugar and
honey and, as far as I know, we are the only bakers still making a Struan.
Susan and I went to Scotland and could find no sign of it.  We went to the
National Library in Edinburgh.  Some research uncovered that it originated
in the Hebrides, probably on the Isle of Skye (there is a place there
called Struanmoor).  It worked its way to the outer island of Lewis where
the Michaelmas tradition probably survived the longest.  Struan dropped out
of sight in the early part of this century.
	"It is a shame that nobody else makes it because it is an exquisitely
beautiful bread.  From our research, though, it seems that Struan was not
always a light and pretty loaf.  The original formula, according to the old
hymn, 'The Blessing of the Struan,' seems to include a number of wild and
crazy ingredients such as dandelion, smooth garlic, carle-doddies and cail
peach, foxglove, and marigold.  There was a stiff penalty if a young lass's
loaf fell during baking:  one year of bad luck. That could be pretty
discouraging.  Some sort of flour and egg batter was periodically splashed
on the loaves while they baked to give them a thick glossy outer coating. ...



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

	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 1/2 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. 
	[1]  Proof active dry yeast first in 4 tablespoons lukewarm water.

	Because Struan has so many whole grains, it takes longer to knead than
most breads, 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.

	Wash out the mixing bowl and dry it thoroughly.  Put in the dough and
cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap or place the 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.

	This recipe makes about 5 pounds of dough (81 ounces, to be exact); to
make 3 loaves of 1 1/2 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 the 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 greased bread pan that
measures 9 inches by 4 1/2 inches by 3 inches.  ...  Brush an egg wash
solution (1 egg beaten into 4 cups water) on the top of each loaf and
sprinkle poppy seeds on top.

	Cover and allow the dough to rise till it crests over the top of
the pan. Bake in a 350F. oven (300F. 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 a 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.

	* Mr. Reinhart defines polenta as:  "A coarse grind of corn,
differentiated from cornmeal by the larger size.  Similar in texture to
bulgur or cracked wheat.  It looks like little gold nuggets and works
well both as an ingredient in some breads and as an undercoating for
French bread and pizza."

Brother Juniper's Bread Book was copyrighted in 1991.  Apparently more
people have indeed taken up the baking of Struan since then, as Brother
Reinhart had hoped.  Good luck with this recipe.       


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