Introduction: Locally Harvested and Milled Hearty Mesquite Bread
- hand picked local mesquite pods
- mesquite pods ground into flour
- mesquite pods boiled down into molasses
- custom temperature controller
- converted wine fridge to fermentation container
Step 1: Why Mesquite?
Mesquite is a super food! It has saved many a desert wanderer from starving to death. Check out why we love this food.
1. Local Abundance - In our region it is one of two trees that is virtually all the eye can see for hundreds of miles.
2. Calories - Mesquite is loaded with protein and sugar. 70 calories per tablespoon.
3. Diabetic - Most desert plants produce sugars that are slowly absorbed by the body. This is a good thing for diabetics.
4. High Nitrogen - Mesquite is a legume much like a soy bean. It adds nitrogen a environment that other plants can get in on.
5. $$$ - Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. $20 freaking bucks a pound. That is about 50x what wheat flour sells for.
6. Flour - You can easily convert the mesquite pods into flour (rock, coffee grinder, vita-mix, hammer mill).
7. Molasses - Just boil the pods with some water until it gets thick. This stores well and can act as a preservative for other foods.
8. Mesquite Gets You HIGH! - Well if you take the time to ferment it into beer or wine. The sugar content has been hooking up vintners and brewers for a long time.
9. Other stuff - mesquite is loaded with medicinal properties (anti-inflamatory / anti-parasitic) along with just being a good smoking wood.
Step 2: Mix It Up
I just toss all the ingredients into my cusinart and use the bread paddle to mix.
2 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup warm water (80F - 110F)
2 Tbl mesquite flour
2 Tbl mesquite molasses
2 Tbl olive oil
2 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
Wait 40 minutes after first mix.
Punch down ... (mix)
Wait 40 minutes after 2nd mix.
Punch down ... (mix)
Step 3: Transfer to Fermentation Chamber
I don't know about your place, but my house gets pretty chilly in the winter. If I were to leave bread on the counter it would fail to fully rise leaving me with a dense bread. To produce delicious fluffy bread I've rigged up a temperature controlled fermentation chamber from a discarded wine fridge. If you have a camping cooler that can work just as well. All you need is a Temperature Controller , a light bulb and a insulated box.
- Set fermentation chamber temperature to 75F
- Place bread inside for 40 - 50 minutes
Step 4: Place Bread in Oven
Now you can just toss your bread in the oven, but I like to complicate my life as much as possible. Notice my tower of steam power and thermal mass that I've assembled. The idea is to create enough humidity and heat so the bread continues to rise. It is important to get as much heat as possible below the bread.
- Place tray with a cup of water on lower oven rack
- Place pizza stone on upper oven rack
- Place empty cast iron bread pan on pizza stone
- Set oven to 355F
- Wait 10 minutes for oven to come up to temp
- Place bread goes in pre-heated cast iron pan
- Set timer for 50 minutes
- Remove bread from oven
Step 5: Enjoy!
- Remove from Oven
- Let Bread Cool
This is a delicious bread for toast or sandwiches. The taste is sweet and chocolaty thanks to the molasses.