It’s not on the James Beard Foundation website yet, but it’s official, Kim Boyce has won the JBF award for Best Baking and Dessert Cookbook with her wonderful 2010 book Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-grain Flours.
To celebrate that fact — and to express my delight that she has relocated to Portland — I decided to take some time this afternoon to bake something from the book.
One of the great things about Good to the Grain is that, in addition to the recipes, which range from sweet to savory and include things like pancakes, puddings and granola as well as breads, muffins and scones, Kim includes a lot of helpful information about each of the flours she uses. So, if you are worried about baking with something like teff, you can count on Kim to allay your fears with the background information she provides. When I first got the book, I was so inspired I immediately went out and bought a few whole-grain flours (in addition to the whole wheat all-purpose and bread flours I keep on hand anyway) so I knew I had graham, buckwheat and oat flours in my pantry.
Today I spent quite a bit of time flipping pages and reading about ingredients and techniques before settling on Oatmeal Sandwich Bread. It’s probably not the most unusual recipe in the book (and not even one that requires any unusual flours, using only whole wheat flour, bread flour and rolled oats) but definitely the one that spoke to me this afternoon.
The recipe is straightforward and the instructions easy to follow. I love the fact that Kim uses the autolyse method where you mix together all of the ingredients except the salt and let them rest together for 30 minutes before adding the salt and kneading the dough. This allows the dough to begin to form gluten on it’s own (without kneading) and to more fully absorb the liquid. All in all it creates moister dough, better texture and flavor in the finished bread, and also increases the life of the loaf.
The loaf that emerged from the oven smelled wonderful and tastes great. The molasses and oatmeal both come through, as does the sweet, nutty flavor of the whole wheat flour.
So, congratulations Kim, on your well-deserved award! And thanks for adding another recipe to my collection of favorite breads; I’ll be making this one again.
And congratulations also to my friend Betsy Amster, Kim’s literary agent and new Portland resident as well.