I’m writing this post on my phone, and it seems utterly determined that it will disgrace me by correcting the word bread to breast. If that does happen, at least you’ve been pre-warned. This is more a reflection of my typing skills than my commonly used words, I assure you.
This bread sounds a lot more interesting than it ended up being, which is a bit of a let down for all of us, really. I mean, it was fine, but I expected much more flavour from it than I got. I combined a couple of Foodie Penpals items to make it – the Maca powder from Nic and the bread recipe from Lynne. I also used the bread scraper that Lynne sent me, it’s amazing how easy it is to lift every scrap of dough for the counter when you’re using one of these. I won’t share the recipe, even though I did make some adjustments that made it into something original – I’m just not happy enough with it as yet. I’ll also spare you the usual dozens of photos – they are available on request, of course…
The maca powder has been in my ingredients cupboard since I got it; originally I had intended to put it in flapjacks for a breakfast treat (remember when I used to make flapjacks?) but Flapjack Day just never came around. This makes me an ungrateful Penpal and for this I apologise. So many ingredients, so little time! I realised that I could add some to my next batch of bread, instead, and when I finally got round to doing THAT, the maca powder finally got its chance. If you’re not sure what maca powder us, as I wasn’t when I got it in my parcel, here’s what our friend Wikipedia has to say:
Lepidium meyenii, known commonly as maca, is an herbaceous biennial plant or annual plant … native to the high Andes of Peru and Bolivia. It … is used as a root vegetable and a medicinal herb.
The prominent product for export is maca flour, which is a baking flour ground from the hard, dried roots, “harina de maca.” Maca flour (powder) is a relatively inexpensive bulk commodity, much like wheat flour or potato flour. In Peru, maca flour is used in baking as a flour base and a flavoring.
Thanks, Professor Wikipedia.
I thought I’d try adding several tablespoons worth to the bread dough as a kind of supplement, but my internet research had also led me to believe that it had a malty flavour which I thought would be rather nice. This also led me to replace the water in the bread dough with Guinness, thinking the flavours would complement each other. I had Guinness left over from baking a chocolate Guinness cake (like these ones) that wasn’t getting used up any time soon, it was all coming together perfectly.
At this point I’d like to be clear that I can only recommend replacing water with Guinness in a baking context, or possibly cooking. In day to day life, no.
When I opened the maca powder packet, I was surprised by the strong smell. It wasn’t malty, as I’d expected, but instead very definitely vegetabley. Maca is a vegetable, it really shouldn’t have been a shock, but I hadn’t really put two and two together on that front. The closest match my brain could come up with was a sweetcorn and celery soup I once made, years ago. That doesn’t help you, the reader, very much. It’s all I’ve got.
The smell of the powder was dominant in the bread dough but as I mixed and kneaded, and the bread began to rise, it began to smell just like any other loaf, yeasty and fresh. I was glad of this, having been concerned that the strong smell of the powder would translate to a strong taste that was overpowering and no good for sandwiches. I am still in search of the perfect sandwich loaf, you see.
The end result was a soft, dark loaf with more wholemeal flavour than anything else – the Guinness and the maca powder diminished greatly while rising and baking. I did come up with one new idea with this loaf, though, which was to slice it lengthways instead of in the traditional slices. This gave me a better size of sandwich – I’m still using a loaf tin that’s not quite right to produce a nice tall loaf, at least not with the recipe sizes I’ve been using.
I think I will do some more research into the uses of maca powder – I’m not, and never have been, a smoothie drinker but I’m sure there are a myriad of alternative ways to add the powder to my diet. Suggestions welcome!