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Monday, August 9, 2010


In Japan I buy three different kinds of grains. Of course I buy rice. Brown rice is available, but I usually buy white rice because I find it more versatile. Japanese rice has short, rounded grains and is kind of sticky when cooked. I eat rice most days, sometime with every meal, although my breakfast is very un-Japanese (more about breakfast in another post.)

In addition to white rice I also buy 'mugi' which is barley. I get barley to mix with the rice to add fiber and vitamins. And I like the slightly nutty texture it gives the rice, without being too 'wholegrain'. Also, sometimes I add it to vegetable soups in cold weather. Vegetable soup with barley reminds me of my mother's vegetable soup back in NZ.

Finally I buy mixed grain. It includes barley, millet, corn, black sesame seeds, brown rice, and several other unidentified grains. It's a bit expensive, and health conscious Japanese add it sparingly to rice, but I buy it for bread. I've always preferred wholegrain bread, but the selection and pricing of wholegrain bread in Japan seems aimed at discouraging general consumption. It is only available from expensive little boutique bakeries.

Never mind! Have breadmaker, will improvise!

Here is my wholegrain bread recipe for a breadmaker. It makes very delicious bread, excellent for sandwiches or toast. It reminds me of Vogel's bread in New Zealand.

Wholegrain Bread:  makes about 1 kg loaf 

1/2 cup water
5/8 cup milk (or milk and yoghurt mixed)
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 cup cooked mixed grains
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon yeast

Follow manufacturers directions (OR put everything in the machine and switch on. That's what I do!)

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