Sunday, April 15, 2007

Whole Wheat Bread

At first glance and smell, this may seem like the ordinary wheat loaf I typically bake at home. Although certain characteristics remain, such as the natural golden crust and wheat-y aroma, what differs is in the method of preparation and shaping. Incorporating a sponge method in my dough, a trick heavily influenced by Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Bread Bible, I left out a bit of yeast, water, sugar and flour, mixed everything else and left it to ferment. Such a simple change of route had an immense improvement in the palatability of the bread that I (do I dare say?) promise never to return to my old (lazy) method of dump-all dough.

Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf

Sponge
1/4t + 1/8t yeast
1/2 C bread flour
1/4 C wholemeal
1 T sugar
1 T corn syrup/honey
1 T milk powder (nonfat dry milk powder is ok)
1 C + 2 T lukewarm water

Dough

1 C bread flour
1 T sugar
1/8 t yeast
1 T unsalted butter, softened
3/4 t salt

1. In a clean mixing bowl, combine sponge mixture. Mix well. Combine dough mixture and scatter on sponge mixture. Cover with clean towel, leave to ferment for 2 hours.
2. Using a dough hook, knead for 7-10 minutes or until elastic and only slightly tacky. Transfer dough in an oiled bowl and place plastic directly on top of dough. Leave to rise for 1hour or until doubled in bulk.
3. Gently punch down the dough and roll out into a rectangle about 8"x3", roll as in jellyroll and seal. Twist the dough, making sure it is even and place it on a lightly greased 9x5 loaf pan.
4. Cover with plastic and let rise until the top of the dough is about 1" from the rim of the pan. The dough will slowly fill in when poked.
5. Bake in a 350F oven for 40-50minutes. No need to apply egg wash, since the long fermentation releases extra sugar from starch, giving the dough a natural reddish-gold crust.
6. Let cool on a wire rack. 1 loaf makes 10-12 slices.

Due to the twist method of shaping, you will notice a tighter crumb and therefore, giving a greater stability for sandwiches.

3 comments:

Mary Irene Siy said...

Hi, I found your site while looking for whole wheat bread. You photos of Whole Wheat bread are very inviting.

I have 2 questions on the recipe. First, the recipe says bread flour for both starter and dough. Since this is whole wheat, I'm wondering if the whole wheat flour is missing from the recipe or should I use whole wheat flour in the dough portion.

Secondly, can you expound more on the twist that needs to be done after shaping? Is this twist motion just like wringing out a wet rag? And is this a single twist or do I twist the entire loaf?

I'm excited to try your recipe this weekend!

Just Desserts said...

Hi, oh yeah, I missed the wholemeal part, anyways, simply add 1/4C of wholemeal in the starter (upto 1/3C may be added, add water 1T at a time if dough seems dry). I find that whole wheat flour gets rancid rather easily and also has a metallic taste so I've always used wholemeal instead.
The twist motion is simply like wringing out a rag. Hold both ends and twist once, manipulate the dough so it will stay twisted; placing a plastic cover directly on top of the dough will help the dough retain its shape while rising.
Let me know how it turns out! Good luck!

Mary Irene Siy said...

I had not seen your reply yet when I tried the recipe out so I used whole wheat flour. The bread was nice and mellow. I didn't quite get the twisting right. I will have to practice and practice some more. =) And I'll be hunting for wholemeal.