Wednesday, March 10, 2010

'Almost Whole Wheat' Baked Bread Recipe

After my thrilling first try at baking my own bread I got the bakers itch and have been eager to experiment some more. However, I decided for round two that I would stick close to home putting one toe into the whole wheat bread section. Baby steps into bread baking land. Now I know whole wheat flour behaves quite differently from white flour. I can’t get down and dirty on the actual science of it (though I am sure with some digging I could find the bread baker’s Mensa equivalent). I do know that whole wheat flour tends not to rise as much as white flour…something to do with sharper corners to the molecules or gluten deficiencies…eh whatever the reason it just doesn’t act the same. So round two of A Girl and Her Kitchen’s bread baking bonanza was an Almost Whole Wheat Loaf. I followed the same recipe as I did the first time around (this dutch oven thing is honestly amazing) but substituted in 1 c of whole wheat flour for 1 c of the white flour, thus making the loaf 1/3 whole wheat.

The result…pretty damn good! It kept that crusty outside with a slightly denser yet tender inside and a more earthy flavor. Totally delicious. The dough did need a little more time to proof (ie. hang out in warmth so it could rise) but that was fine...I gave it an extra hour or so. Plus I have a 1950s era Wedgewood oven with a pilot light so my oven is always a nice 100-125ยบ. I just popped the covered bowl with the dough in the oven and left the door cracked open for the last few hours of proofing. It definitely didn’t rise AS much as the white load but it rose and it baked up just fine. In fact, I would venture to say any more wheat flour and it might go too far…I think I got it just right!

So while I will be doing some more whole wheat bread investigations, this one is a definite keeper. Makes one hell of a sandwich too.

‘Almost Whole Wheat’ Baked Bread
(Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (such as King Arthur Premium Whole Wheat Flour)
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
3/4 cup (7 ounces) water, at room temperature
1/4 cup (3 ounces) beer (plus a teaspoon if needed)
1 tablespoon white vinegar

Whisk flour, years, and salt in large bowl.  Add water, beer and vinegar. Using a wooden spoon, fold the mixture incorporating all of the flour. It will be a slightly sticky dough. If too dry, add a teaspoon of beer to your hands and flip dough over a few times lightly to pick up loose bits.
Cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel and let it sit in a warm-ish spot 19 hours in a warm spot.
Turn dough out onto parchment paper with a bit of flour. Knead 10 to 15 times.  Loosely cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel and let sit in a warm-ish spot for 2 more hours. (I returned mine to the bowl and then covered it so I could put it in my gently warm oven to finish rising.)
For the last 30 minutes of the rising, heat oven to 500 degrees – putting your dutch oven in the oven with the lid. (If you are rising your dough in the oven, remove it before preheating!!) After 30 minutes, reduce heat to 425.

Score the top of your dough and then using the parchment paper, carry your dough to the dutch oven – the parchment paper will be on the sides of the pan, just put the cover on and bake for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove the lid.
And cook an additional 20 minutes uncovered. The result is a crusty, crunchy outside and tender and chewy inside. Sooooooooo good.

1 comment:

  1. Looks wicked good! Heh, that's the one thing I miss about having a stove with a pilot light, it's the best place to let bread rise.