This aforementioned door was part of the original building built in 1843, and, with a respect for history I quite admire, the current property owners left it intact when renovating the building for apartments just 5 years ago. The maintenance manager, who I met yesterday morning when our bathroom sink clogged, an electrical outlet in the kitchen started emitting flames, and one side of a countertop began careening towards the living room, informed me that the door was the only one of its kind in the building, which filled me with joy sufficient enough to distract me from the chaos literally exploding around me, at least long enough for a plan to be formulated that would prevent the next Hollywood apocalyptic script from being filmed in our new home.
This morning, calm has been restored, and I'm beginning to see bright new advantages to living in an apartment where there are competent maintenance people about, as opposed to the norms of home ownership to which I had become accustomed, in which the daily state of entropy (translation: gradual desegregation of one's living space) was confronted by yours truly with a caulking gun, can of Spackle, and a wrench I'm not entirely licensed to wield. Still, though, I have fond memories of friends and I wrestling with itinerant garbage disposals and learning to rewire ceiling fans... but I digress. What I meant to tell you about this morning, rather than a recantation of Home Improvement Astra-Style, was buckwheat flour. (Yes, I did just attempt to engineer a transition from ceiling fans to buckwheat flour in a single sentence.) I recollect reading somewhere that buckwheat flour is not ideal for baking outside of crepes and pancakes, but, luckily, I tend to be stubborn, overly optimistic, and not inclined to listen when other people tell me things can't be done (unless the advice is totally reasonable, such as "no Astra, you can't jump out of a plane," or something to that extreme - then I'm completely inclined to listen.) Thus, I recently started incorporated buckwheat flour into my yeast bread baking, with utterly gorgeous results. Tender, perfectly flavorful, and surprisingly light - I find the buckwheat flour actually lightens the whole wheat flour a bit and adds a lovely lift to the loaf. Yes, it does tinge the loaf slightly purple, but as purple is one of my favorite colors, I'm inclined to view this as a bonus in the aesthetics department... Just as gorgeous, I might say, as a 168 year old door in a contemporary apartment... Unexpected, but perfect in every way.
Buckwheat Flour Yeast Bread
1 1/8 cup warm water
1 1/2 T olive oil
1 egg, beaten
3 T honey
1 tsp salt
2 tsp yeast
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup buckwheat flour
~ In a large bowl, gently stir together the warm water, olive oil, egg, honey, and salt.
~ Even more gently, stir the yeast into the water mixture.
~ Watch the yeast for a few moments to make sure it foams. When it does, stir in the whole wheat and buckwheat flours until you have a sticky dough. Knead by hand or with a dough hook until you have a smooth dough. Turn your dough into an oiled bowl, cover the bowl, and let the dough sit for 2 hours or so, until doubled in size.
~ If you have time, punch the dough down, then let it rise once more until doubled in size again, 1 to 2 hours this time. If you want to hurry it along a bit, you can too - proceed to the next step!
~ Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Turn the dough onto an 8x8" baking pan coated with cooking spray, shape it into a loaf with your hands, and bake for approx 40 min - until a nice, golden crust has formed.
~ Let it cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing... If you can resist... ;-)