Perfect Brown Rice and Brown Rice Bread

Tips and Tricks, Vegan, Yeast bread
brown rice bread-dough after kneading, before the first rise

brown rice bread-dough after kneading, before the first rise

I think we can all agree that it takes some effort to perfect one’s rice-cooking skills. There is also no one right way to cook rice (although plenty of wrong ways, including but not limited to: stirring the rice while cooking– unless it’s risotto, simmering rice uncovered/partially covered or adding too much water). The following recipe from Cook’s Illustrated is by far the BEST way I have found to cook short or long grain brown rice. And while it is certainly not as fast as a rice cooked or even the stovetop, I love how tender and separate the grains are after baking slowly in the oven. This recipe serves about six and we rarely finish it all, so I have also included my favorite recipe for using up the leftover rice. Personally, I will use any excuse to bake bread, but if bread baking is a little intimidating for you I can assure that this recipe always comes out well. Just remember to check the expiration date on your yeast and to use water that is between 90 and 110 degrees F.

Perfect Baked Brown Rice from Cook’s Illustrated

1 1/2 cups long, medium, or short-grain brown rice
2 1/3 cups water
2 teaspoons unsalted butter or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Adjust the oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread rice into an 8-inch square baking dish.

Bring water and butter or oil to boil, covered, in medium saucepan over high heat; once boiling, immediately stir in salt and pour water over rice. Cover baking dish tightly with doubled layer of foil. Bake rice 1 hour, until tender.

Remove baking dish from oven and uncover. Fluff rice with a fork, then cover dish with clean kitchen towel; let rice stand 5 minutes. Uncover and let rice stand 5 minutes longer; serve immediately.

“Brown Rice Bread” aka, Molasses Bread with Cooked Grains from, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madison

This recipe makes a dense chewy bread that is perfect for slicing.

makes 2 loaves

2 1/4 cups warm water, divided

2 1/4 tsp (one envelope ) dry active yeast

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 cup unsulfured molasses

3 Tbs corn or sunflower oil

2 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups cooked rice/oatmeal/cracked wheat etc

2 cups all purpose flour

3-4 cups whole wheat flour

Stir the yeast into 1/4 cup warm water with the 1/2 tsp sugar. Set aside until foamy ~10 minutes. Meanwhile butter or spray two 8×10 inch loaf pans and oil a bowl for resting the dough.

In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining 2 cups warm water, molasses, oil, salt and cooked rice. Add the yeast, then beat in white flour, followed by a cup at a time of the whole wheat (if you are doing this on a stand mixer, you should be using a dough hook and beating on the lowest speed.  If you are doing it by hand then add the flour as slowly as you need to and use your hands to really incorporate all the dry ingredients into the wet). When the dough forms a ball and begins to leave the sides of the bowl, turn it out onto the counter and knead it until smooth but still a bit tacky ~ 7 minutes, adding flour as needed.

Turn the dough into the oiled bowl being sure to get it oiled all around. Then cover loosely with plastic wrap followed by a towel, and set it in a draft-free location to rise for about 1 1/4 hours until doubled in bulk.

Turn out the dough and shape it into two loaves. I usually do this by flattening the dough out slightly into a square-ish shape, then rolling it up like a fat newspaper. Put shaped loaves into pans and press them in to fit. Cover and let rise in pans for 40 minutes, during which you can preheat the oven to 375 F. Bake the bread for 50 minutes. Let the loaves rest in pans on cooling racks until cool enough to touch, then turn out onto racks and let bread cool completely before slicing.

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