Today I will share with you one of the most popular recipes in the blog world. This post is rather long and I really want you to read it fully if your are interested in whole wheat bread. Any wheat bread I see usually has maida/ all purpose flour in it to improve texture. And whenever I tried a bread with 100% wheat flour, it always turns out dense and not so light in texture when compared to the white bread. But every thing changed when I bought The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. I saw a whole wheat bread recipe by Peter Reinhart in that book but still I didn’t try it out. When I went to Chennai for the Blogger’s Meet during February, Nandhini vouched for that recipe and she also gave me some interesting tips to get good breads. When this BM was announced, I made sure that one recipe would be the whole wheat bread.
The very first I tried for this BM was this wheat bread. From that day, I have tried it thrice and every time the result was different. Wait! There was no problem with the recipe. It was at different circumstances and I am just going to explain what lead to different results. The very first time I made this bread, I didn’t have the exact sized pan which Peter suggested in the recipe. So I went for a bigger loaf tin and so the bread didn’t have a dome. It was tasty flavourful but flat on top. For many days, I just wanted to blog about it but as I was not happy with the look of the loaf, I tried it again.
This time, I decided to make it in the loaf tin I usually use. But as it is little smaller than the one Peter suggested, I divided the dough and made two more small loaves along with the larger one. Every thing went as planned until the final proofing. The bread rose beautifully and I was so happy. But disaster struck when I switched on my oven for preheat. There was a power shut down and they said that it was for the whole day. Now I didn’t know what to do. I at once contacted BM group on whatsapp and the first suggestion was to punch down the dough, place it in a bowl and return it back to the fridge. I did as suggested and then came the next suggestion. If I let it stay in the bowl, then the bread will have to go through four rises which may result in a sour bread. So shaping and placing it in the pan may do good. I shaped the loaf, put it in the tin again and placed it in the fridge. Now my dough was over enthusiastic that day as the temperature was hot. IN less than 30 minutes, my dough doubled and had a beautiful dome inside the fridge. I was confused. I didn’t want the dough to over proof and loose the gluten. I took out the dough and placed it inside the freezer to control the rise. And I think it worked. The dough stopped rising and stood as a beautiful loaf.
And at 3:30 PM power was restored. I took the loaf out of freezer and allowed it to sit on counter for 1 hour before baking. Then I gave a milk wash and baked it. The crust looked so rustic but I was happy with the loaf. I waited patiently for the loaf to come to room temperature. My daughter wanted to taste it but I didn’t want to slice it at night. I wanted it for the photo shoot. So I told her that it will be available only the next day. She understood and ate her dosa that night. I wrapped it with cling film and let it sit on counter till morning. The first thing I did in the morning was to slice it. I was expecting a not so good bread, but it turned out amazing. Incredibly soft and not at all sour, it was so much like a loaf made with maida with all the goodness of wheat flour. If I am a sane person, I should have stopped there, but as I thought that the loaf was so rustic, i wanted to try it again. After a few days, I tried it again. Every thing went well, but it didn’t rise as much as the previous dough. That day it was raining and the weather was cool so I think it was because of the temperature. Though the loaf was tasty it was not soft as the over proofed loaf.
Here is my conclusion: Next time if I make this, I am going to let the dough rise in the fridge for both the proofing. I know it will take two days to make it, but I think it is worth the wait. I am really happy that I tried it again and again so that I now found out how to make amazing soft and delicious whole wheat bread.
The above two photos are of the second trial and the below snap is of my third attempt. I think now you know the difference.
Source: Bread Baker’s Apprentice
For The Soaker:
Wheat Flour-1 cup
Wheat Flour-1 1/2 cups
Instant Yeast-1/4 tsp
Vital Wheat Gluten-1/2 tbs
Wheat Flour-2 cups
Vital Wheat Gluten-1/2 tbs
Instant Yeast -1/2 tbs
Salt-1 1/3 tsp
Baking Soda-a pinch
Mix flour and water.
Cover and set on counter overnight.
Mix together flour, vital wheat gluten, instant yeast and water.
Mix until combined.
Cover with wrap and set aside for 2-4 hours.
Once the poolish is double and bubbly, place it in fridge and let it sit overnight.
Next day remove it one hour before dough preparation and let it come to room temperature.
In a bowl mix together flour, salt, wheat gluten and yeast.
Mix together curd and baking soda and set aside for 3 minutes.
Now add room temperature poolish and soaker along with oil, curd and honey.
Knead everything together to make dough. No need to add any more water.
Now transfer the dough to your counter and knead for 10-15 minutes or until the dough passes the window pane test.
Oil a bowl and place the dough inside.
Rotate the dough to coat it with oil and cover with cling wrap.
Allow it to double. It may take between 40 minutes to 2 hours depending on the temperature.
Once it is double, transfer to counter, press it to release gas.
Shape it into a rectangle with a width of your loaf tin.
Now start rolling the dough. Roll once and press it into the rec tangle with your palm.
Again roll it and press. Keep on repeating until you reach the edge. Pinch ends to seal.
Place the roll into a greased 8 1/2″ * 4 1/2″ loaf tin with seam side down.
Press the roll to one side of the pan. This will ensure an uniform rise.
Cover it loosely with a cling wrap and allow the loaf to double in size.
Brush the top of the loaf with milk.
Preheat oven to 175°C.
Bake the loaf for 30 minutes.
Then increase temperature to 180°C.
Bake for 15-30 minutes until the top is golden.
Remove from oven, transfer loaf to a wire rack and allow it to cool completely before slicing.
Enjoy with jam, butter or nutella.
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