Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Red River, Whole Wheat Molasses Bread

Here's a delicious way to get some whole grains into your diet. I make this in both loaves and buns for lunches. The other night, two loaves of this disappeared right out of the oven, one slathered with butter and honey after school and the other with supper.

Red River Cereal is a Canadian classic. It originated in the Red River district of Winnipeg, Manitoba back in 1924 and is generally eaten as a cooked breakfast porridge. It is excellent. My parents grew up on it, I did and so have my boys. The cereal consists of mostly cracked wheat, cracked rye and cracked flax. Some of the flax is left whole - looks prettier that way. Red River is readily available here in Canada but I would think the grains making up this cereal would be available from any grocer billing themselves as a supplier of whole grains and foods. Similar hot cereal grain mixes are often sold in bulk food stores as three grain or four grain cereals and so on. Any of those could be substituted here.

I followed my usual method when baking bread. Start with yeast in water and a bit of sugar, then mix some more water with sugar, salt and oil. Combine those and begin adding in the grains and type of flours I want to use - topping off the flour combination with all-purpose flour. I've found that every bread I've ever made requires a measure of all-purpose flour. The white flour helps keep the bread from becoming heavy. I've previously discussed kneading bread and how to handle raw dough, it all applies here too, but this particular dough is easier to handle than most.

Red River Whole Wheat Molasses Bread
  • 2 1/2 cups water, 1st amount
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. yeast or 1 packet of yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups water, 2nd amount
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 heaping Tbsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup molasses - approximate (3 big glugs) The usual measurement for sugar in my breads using this proportion of liquids, is 1/2 cup. But I don't like cleaning out molasses from the measuring cup so I just pour some in. Make bread enough and after awhile this way of bread making will happen to you too.
  • 2 cups of Red River Cereal, uncooked
  • 4 scoops whole wheat flour (my scoop is 32 oz.) Take a look at the photo below.
  • 1 scoop all-purpose flour to make a soft dough which hangs together and more for kneading the dough
Mix together the 1st amount of water and brown sugar with the yeast into a large mixing bowl. Measure out and mix together the second amount of water, oil, molasses, salt and pour into the first amount in the mixing bowl.
Stir that all together.
Add the whole wheat flour.
Add the Red River or substitute another cracked wheat and cracked grain cereal.
Mix it up and then add the all-purpose flour. You can see below that the mixture is still quite wet. Our goal is to create a soft dough that hangs together with which we can begin to knead.
Mix it up and it should look about like this below. Scrape out onto a lightly floured work surface.
Knead until it looks about like this, below. Add a bit of all-purpose flour as needed during the process until the stickiness of the dough pretty much disappears.
Use your finger tip to determine if the dough feels smooth enough.
Pop it back into the mixing bowl. But first, oil the bowl and slide the dough around in it to completely coat it with oil. Put into the oven with the light left on. To help the dough rise quicker, don't be afraid to turn the oven on at about 200 F and leave it there for 2 - 3 minutes. But be very sure to turn it off again or the yeast will die.
When the dough has risen, remove and shape into loaves weighing 1 3/4 lbs each. If you don't have a scale take a look at the photo below. The loaves should fill that much of the loaf pan - 2/3rds. My batch produced 4 loaves and I had 1 pound to spare, which I shaped into 4 big lunch buns. Put the bread back into the warmed oven to rise again. Oh, and grease the pans first. Use lard. EWwww! But it works the best.
When the bread has risen up over the pan tops, remove from the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 F and bake the loaves, 3 at a time x 20 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. I baked three loaves and then the fourth loaf along with the small pan holding the four buns. The buns only took 15 minutes at 400 F.
Remove the loaves immediately from the pans and tip onto racks to cool. Sometimes my racks are occupied with other things, so I'll tip the loaves onto their sides to cool that way, still leaving space between them. You can just see some tipped loaves in the photo above to the left.


Caution Flag said...

I'm pretty sure that you want to invite me over the next time you're baking bread.

Mental P Mama said...

I can smell that baking down here. Wonder if we can get that cereal at Wild Oats....

Leila said...

So so so so good.
I'm so impressed that you make all this bread with no kitchenaid mixer.
Although I hate cleaning out that thing...

Jeanne said...

I admire you for all you do.
Love Jeanne

Decadent Housewife said...

Things have been hectic here of late - have been unable to reply to some of the comments - but Leila, I want to say that the reason I don't use a mixer is that very reason - clean up! I'm always nicking corners that way.

Also, I like the control I have with mixing and kneading bread by hand.

Ruth Zaryski Jackson said...

Red River Cereal was invented by my husband's aunt, Gertrude Skilling Kavaner in 1924 when her husband Harvey was Head of The Red River Grain Company in Winnipeg, MB. It is a Canadian classic! For more about Aunt Gert see my blog:

Justme said...

Made this bread. Awesome! It made 5 loaves. I added some hemp seed for extra nutrition. Absolutely the best bread ever! So moist, freezes well, nutty and delicious. Thank you for the recipe. It is now a staple in my home.

Decadent Housewife said...

Just found these two comments today.


Your site looks so interesting, will definitely read more over there. Thank you for stopping by.

Super! I'm glad you enjoy it as we do.

Trish DH

Misty said...

The Red River bread recipe looks great but I need something smaller since there's just moi. Have you ever halved this recipe? Or maybe you have one for just two loaves.

Decadent Housewife said...

Hi Misty,
Since our last son moved out last fall, I've been adjusting my bread recipes for less amounts, but haven't worked on this one yet.

I've been reducing everything by about half except the yeast and the breads are turning out.


Anonymous said...

please help. I don't understand your scoop!!! how many cups of flour do I need??

Claire Hatch said...

I. Agree with anon - is the scoop 32 oz by volume or weight?

Claire Hatch said...

I. Agree with anon - is the scoop 32 oz by volume or weight?