Brown Rice Porridge Bread

It may sound odd to put rice, let alone rice porridge, in bread. Well, the recipe is adapted from Chad Robertson’s Tartine Book No. 3. Robertson explains that one of his first daily jobs, while working with Richard Bourdon at his bakery in the Berkshire mountains, was to rinse the organic brown rice and cook it long and slow in a big steam kettle. In this recipe, the rice is rinsed three times before cooking to remove excess starch. That’s just the prep work in making the rice porridge bread. Why all the extra steps? What are the benefits?

There is the long-held belief within the macrobiotic movement that bread was not good for the human digestive system. The approach here is to combine the cooked brown rice and the highly hydrated whole-wheat dough, then to fully ferment them with natural levain. The finished bread is expected to make the nutrients contained in the grains more readily and easily digestible.

Whatever the theory, the resulting bread is a very tasty, tender and wholesome country loaf. I like making porridge bread for the ease of it — using an electric rice cooker (not a steam kettle) to automate one step among a whole sequence of hands-on procedures. Modern, yet ancient… More than that, I have cooked other grains, such as farro in the farro porridge hazelnut bread, the same way with stunning results. I am fully onboard for all the benefits and promise of making porridge breads.

Very open crumb for a 50% whole-wheat bread

 

Topped with sunflower seeds for some extra crunch

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