Jenny's Everyday Wholemeal Bread from An Echo in the Bone

Jenny's Everyday Bread from An Echo in the Bone

SHE WAS SMALLER than I had remembered, and thinner, her hair with a little more gray in it though still darkly vibrant -- but the deep-blue-cat-eyes were just the same, as was the natural air of command she shared with her brother.

"Leave the horses," she said briskly, wiping her eyes on the corner of her apron. "I'll have one o' the lads take care of them. Ye'll be frozen and starving -- take off your things and come into the parlor." She glanced at me, with a brief look of curiosity and something else I couldn't interpret -- but didn't met my eyes directly or say more than "Come," as she led the way to the parlor.

The house smelled familiar but strange, steeped in peat smoke and the scent of cooking; someone had just baked bread, and the yeasty smell floated down the hall from the kitchen. The hall itself was nearly as cold as the outdoors; all the rooms had their doors closed tight to keep in the heat from their fires, and a welcome wave of warmth eddied out when she opened the door to the parlor, turning to pull Ian in first.

An Echo in the Bone, Chapter 76

Wheat was an expensive import into the Highlands in the 18th Century, and only relatively successful estates, such as Lallybroch (somewhat recovered from the scourge of the English after Culloden), would have been able to afford it. Even so, there's not a chance that a woman as practical as Jenny would have used the finest French-milled flour in her everyday baking.

And so, our unexpected home comers are welcomed with hearty slices of stone-ground wholemeal bread slathered in butter and jam.

coarsely-ground-oats

This recipe is adapted from a whole-wheat loaf, in The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart.  I made some changes to the methods and ingredients, and added oats, to make this 100% Jenny's bread. The recipe uses a pre-ferment, a wet dough made the night before, that adds flavour and lift to whole-grain loaves that would otherwise be dense and heavy tasting.

The pre-ferment is an easier, modern mimic of the more authentic yeast culture (think sourdough) that Jenny would have kept alive with flour and water in her kitchen. We're using instant yeast from the grocery store, but Jenny's sole source of baking yeast would have been Lallybroch's brew house. The barm, or froth, was scraped from the surface of fermenting beer and used to leaven the household's bread.

jennys-wholemeal-dough

Making bread this way will take you back to a simpler, slower time. In today's world of instant gratification, anything that takes more than a day can seem like a long time. But there really isn't a lot of active work involved -- most of the time is spent waiting for the dough to rise. Pick a day when you're around the house and, to make more from the same amount of work, double the recipe. Four loaves of bread lasts us a couple of weeks -- I usually bake one loaf immediately, refrigerate another and then freeze the other two for the following week.

Once the dough is split, shaped and in the pan, wrap the loaves you want to save for later tightly with plastic wrap. These loaves will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days -- remove them from the fridge about 4 hours before baking to give the dough time to rise. Notice the flavour in a dough that's been fermenting in the fridge for a couple of days -- you can really taste the grains!

Well wrapped loaves will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. Defrost on the counter overnight, then unwrap and bake the risen dough off in the morning.

2nd-rise-in-the-pan

As for for the metric equivalents, I took a leap of faith and used (mostly) weight instead of volume this week. Weighing ingredients is a much more accurate way to ensure baking success. If you have an electronic scale, consider using it for this recipe. (Most of them have a metric option.)

One last thing: whole wheat flour takes a lot of kneading to develop the gluten, which is what reacts with the yeast and causes the dough to rise. A LOT OF KNEADING. If you have one, use your stand mixer as described in the New School Tips below the recipe -- especially if you double the recipe -- most of us simply don't have the wiry upper-body strength that Jenny and the other women of her time developed by doing everything by hand...everyday.

jam-bread

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Comments

28 Nov 2011 - 3:14pm

Kiri W.


Looks wonderful! :) I love a dense bread with a bite to it, and the jam looks perfect.

Theresa


This loaf is perfect for a healthy foodie like you, Kiri...full of wholegrain goodness! The jam was a gift from a neighbour and fellow Outlander fan (thanks Tracey!)

28 Nov 2011 - 3:34pm

ruaTimeTraveler2


Old School!.....You make it look so easy..have to try it!

Theresa


Old School, but it really isn't hard Vickie...just a matter of kneading and waiting for the dough to rise. Anyone can bake this bread!

28 Nov 2011 - 3:46pm

ruaTimeTraveler2

I can't get enough!....fantastic!

28 Nov 2011 - 5:20pm

mrs graham


wow, that sounds yummy but looks like a lot of work! i'll send you my recipe for no-knead salt bread. it's awesome and very easy.

Theresa


Thanks Mrs. Graham. Salt bread is an old method of making leavened bread without packaged yeast. I'm interested and excited to start experimenting with the authentic salt bread, but in the meantime, I love a great recipe for no-knead bread...thanks!

28 Nov 2011 - 7:04pm

deniz


One of my overall goals in life is to finally someday one day make bread from scratch. Will add this recipe to the pile of bread recipes I've been saving...

Theresa


Deniz, once you get your hands on that first batch of pillowly dough and start kneading, you'll never go back! Baking, cooling, slicing and buttering a loaf of homemade bread is one of the most satisfying things you can do in a day.

28 Nov 2011 - 9:57pm

Lee Ann


I never have luck making bread...I need more counter space for kneading AND a stand mixer would help. Someday...nnThis sounds wonderful!

Theresa


For those of you with space issues and no mixer, keep in mind that you can also half the recipe and make just one loaf...that should give you more room and make the kneading a little easier!

Kylie Pearson


I made this bread today. I don't have a mixer or much space and I didn't find it too difficult make. I will definitely be making it again too.

29 Nov 2011 - 4:52am

Jo


This looks so delicious. Would love for you to share this with us over at foodepix.com.

02 Dec 2011 - 2:27am

Susan


I so love making bread and this recipe looks good !! A number of years back taking my Higher in Scotland in Italian as an 'older student' ... I had to do a filmed talk on something and I chose 'Bread through the Ages' . That was fun ... as I made several types to take with me ... all got eaten at the end !!! I made unleavened breads and yeasted too.nnNow though I have moved from the UK to Portugal and am fighting with the local flours !! For bread and cakes... they just aren't the same and it's taking a while to find the exact right ones !!! The dough just doesn't rise the same way ... and the gluten content must be very different too !!

Theresa


Susan -- great to have you here! Have you tried comparing the protein contents of your UK flours with the Portugese ones? Match up the protein content and you should find a good substitute for what you are used to working with. Best of luck!

23 Jan 2012 - 2:21pm

Donna R


This turned out absolutely perfect! Love this bread! My only problem was my oats on top fell off when I turned out the bread from the pans. Do you press them in a bit? Not that it matters - it's still good and makes wonderful toast! This was my second batch. Thanks again!!

Theresa


Donna, the oats are a garnish -- to tell you the truth, I don't have much luck getting them to stick either -- I generally have just a few hangers on by the time I slice it. But it sure looks pretty coming out of the oven, doesn't it? ;)

20 Feb 2012 - 8:45pm

bullrem


I might have missed this as it is a thorough and lengthy recipe with tips *(which I love). Are you using the pre-ferment and the package yeast both? If not I missed the amounts if just using the pre-fermented yeast. I so LOVE this site and all things Outlander and Scotland. I do make bread so I have knowledge of the process. I am just now sure about the yeast amounts for this recipe process. Thanks, Helen

bullrem


Ok, I turned the TV off and re-read the info. It all made sense and fell together when I paid attention....!! I now have my dough in the first rising and I am sure it will be wonderful. Again, thanks for all thing Scots. Helen

Theresa


I just saw your first comment now...glad you figured it out. I hope you enjoy it! Theresa

bullrem


As with all the other comments, it was really good.nI took it to a cooking class and told them the historynand all your said about the 'old ways'. It was GREAT.nThanks, Helen

05 Mar 2012 - 7:01am

Mrs. Grahams …


used the stone-ground whole-wheat flour I used for Jennys Everyday Bread, but any variety will

31 May 2012 - 5:03am

Sandi McLaren


Ahhhh...finally a free Saturday coming up so this is on my list for the day. O Kitchen Goddess, might we have corn dodgers with some different options sometime soon? I have a yearning for barbeque and would LOVE to have a corn based goodie to serve along side (thinking of the fetes at River Run, I guess, lol)

15 Jan 2013 - 3:28am

Megan


Thank YOU for this recipe! I have halfheartedly Googled a way to make true whole wheat bread that doesn't have the white flour in it and haven't come up with much. So, here it is, right before my greedy little eyes. :D Can't wait to try it!

Theresa


I'm so glad you found what you were looking for here in Outlander Kitchen, Megan!

15 Jan 2013 - 8:01pm

Ashley Miller


These are in the oven right now and they smell so yummy and comforting, perfect for this rainy day!

30 Jan 2013 - 12:19am

Linda Pitchford


I know this is probably a silly question, but I've never made bread before so... I went to the store to buy bread loaf pans to make this bread, and they had them in different sizes. What size bread loaf pan do you use?

Theresa


not a silly question, Linda! If you can get a 4"x8" pan, great! Most bread pans are 5"x8"

Linda Pitchford

Thank you! I will try to find the 4"x8". :-)

21 Apr 2014 - 6:23pm

Carol Mackey


Reading about making rolls with this recipe brought me back to this page, and asking myself the same question as I have asked each time I happen on a bread recipe: Can it be made in a food processor? My 50-+ YO stand mixer stayed in Michigan when I moved to Colorado, and, like you, kneading bread is not a job my wrists tolerate. But I do have a food processor, with booklet, which has bread recipes . . .what do you tthink? (btw, froze clotted cream but haven't tried it yet . . .looks okay, though, in its wee ice cube shapes . . .) ;-D

Theresa


I knead flat bread dough in my food processor, Carol. You could certainly try it. For the flat bread dough, I pulse it 5 or 6 times for a total of 30 seconds. I would suggest no more than a minute for this recipe, tops. Let me know if you try it and how it turns out!

29 Apr 2014 - 4:20am

Gale


I've been making bread for about 50 years and of all the recipes I use and have tried, this is the best bread. I think I'll be using this one for the rest of my life. Yum!!!

Theresa


I love hearing that kind of thing, Gale! So glad you like it...I eat half a loaf when it's still warm from the oven.

05 Sep 2014 - 9:14pm

Jenny


do you think this can be made with whole grain (Gluten free) all purpose flour? I'm a Celiac - and the tings I've tried, so far have been awesome.

Theresa


I really don't know, Jenny...you could try to half the recipe and make one loaf...just in case it doesn't work?

05 Sep 2014 - 3:37pm

Betsy


I have been using my bread machine for a while now but want to strike out on my own as it were. This looks like something I should try. Thanks for the extra tips too. It's like having Mum there with me!

21 Sep 2014 - 5:07am

Kathy


Wonderful website, Happy to have Discovered your Recipes, Thank you! Would love to try some of these!

24 Sep 2014 - 12:00pm

Scottish Rare…


to enjoy. If its just you, pile that cheese mixture on a piece of toasted bread (I used Jennys Everyday Bread), and leave it under the broiler for an extra minute to give it an extra brown. My favourite part

25 Nov 2014 - 1:51am

AuroraSunrise


Hi, I found your site through another Outlander fan's site, where the Outlander Gourmet lunch she attended was a showcase of the recipes of your kitchen and making. I'm thrilled to see this bread recipe! I'm thrilled to chat and connect with other women, and men, I know those guys are out there lurking lol, anyway, with those that enjoy the novels and much as the recipes, the culture and the history of what it was like to live back then. I've been looking for some patte s to some of Claire's and other character's garments and it looks like I'll have to start making my own patte s too for some things I cannot find. Sorry for using the Everyday Bread to introduce myself, but all the comments and chat seemed so inviting! I hope to visit here regularly :) p.s. Maybe I've missed this part in other postings, but when I read that someone needs more counter space to knead their dough, I think, that's much to high for most women, bump to your kitchen table and then you'll have that space you need and at a height more conducive to really getting "into it" lol. I've customized a table or two in the past using chunks of 2x4's under each leg until I hit the right height. I hope I haven't spoken out of tu by mentioning this.

11 Aug 2015 - 2:52pm

Robyn


Made Jenny's bread today. It is wonderful and will be an everyday at our cabin. Can't wait to try another Outlander Kitchen recipe! Taing mhr, Robyn

25 Jan 2016 - 5:43pm

Jennys Everyda…

made;Jenny's Everyday Wholemeal Bread from An Echo in the Bone; and I am glad that I did. Of course I couldnt find my large bread pan and ended up

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