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Monday, August 24, 2009

Whole Wheat Hearth Bread

So this was my first time jumping into the bread making pool. I heard that Peter Reinhart had a book out, based solely on whole wheat breads, and immediately looked it up in my library's catalog. They had it so I picked it up that day! In my recent efforts to eat clean, I am staying away from white breads (not that I haven't anyway for last few years) and this book provides me with a plethora of homemade whole wheat bread options.

This is one serious bread making book, and these recipes are involved. I see a lot of recipes that are... dump all ingredients together, rise, shape (and perhaps rise some more), bake. This is a little different. There are pre-doughs to be made, overnight waits, regular dough to be made, rising, shaping, more rising, then baking! Definitely a very involved process, but I couldn't wait to get started!

I began with the whole wheat hearth bread because we were having sweet potato gnocchi and that seemed like the best thing to go with it. I added some agave nectar, but still think it could be more tender. There is certainly some room for improvement in my technique, but I think I'll go with the butter too, next time.

Whole Wheat Hearth Bread
Source: Rewritten from Whole Grain Breads, Peter Reinhart

1 3/4 cups (227 grams) whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon (4 grams) salt
3/4 cup (170 grams) water

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl for about one minute, until all of the flour is hydrated and the ingredients form a ball of dough. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave at room temp for 12 to 24 hours. (If you need more time, place in refrigerator for up to 3 days, but leave at room temp 2 hours before continuing with bread).

1 3/4 cups (227 grams) whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) instant yeast
3/4 cup (170 grams) water

Mix all the biga ingredients together in a bowl to form a ball of dough. With wet hands, knead dough in the bowl for 2 minutes to be sure all ingredients are evenly distributed and the flour is fully hydrated. The dough should be tacky. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then knead again with wet hands for one minute. The dough will be smoother but still tacky. Transfer to a clean bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. Remove from the fridge two hours before making the dough.

Final Dough:
All of the Soaker
All of the biga
3 1/2 tablespoons (28.5 grams) whole wheat flour
5/8 teaspoon (5 grams) salt
2 1/4 teaspoons (7 grams) instant yeast
2 1/4 teaspoons (14 grams) honey or agave nectar (optional)
1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter, melted, or vegetable oil, or olive oil (optional)

1. Chop the soaker and biga into 12 smaller pieces (sprinkle flour over pieces to prevent sticking).

2. By hand: combine biga and soaker into a large bowl with all the remaining ingredients and stir vigorously with a mixing spoon or knead with wet hands for about 2 minutes, until all ingredients are evenly integrated. Dough should be soft and slightly sticky, if not, add more flour or water as needed.

By stand mixer: combine biga and soaker with all the remaining ingredients into mixer bowl and mix on low speed for one minute with paddle (preferred) or hook. Switch to hook and mix on medium-low speed for 2-3 minutes until dough becomes cohesive and assimilated into each other. Add more flour or water as needed until the dough is soft and slightly sticky.

3. Dust a work surface with flour, the roll the dough in flour to coat. Knead by hand for 3 to 4 minutes, incorporating only as much flour as needed, until the dough feels soft and tacky, but not sticky. Form the dough into a ball and let it rest on the work surface for 5 minutes while you prepare a clean, lightly oiled bowl.

4. Resume kneading for 1 minutes to strengthen the gluten and make any final water/flour adjustments. Dough should have the strength to pass the windowpane test, but still be soft, supple, and very tacky. Form dough into a ball and place in prepared bowl, rolling to coat with oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for approximately 45 to 60 minutes, until it is about 1.5 times its original size.

5. Transfer to lightly floured work surface. Form the dough into a boule, 2 to 4 batards or 4 mini baguettes, being careful to degas as little as possible while shaping. Place the boule onto a parchment lined baking sheet and mist the top with pan spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a cloth towel and let rise at room temperature for approximately 45 minutes, until it is about 1.5 times its original size.

6. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F with a baking stone inside; prepare for steam baking by placing a walled cookie sheet on the top rack and boiling some water. When the dough is ready to bake, place it in the oven and add 1 cup of hot water to the steam pan. Turn down the oven to 450 degrees F and bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the bread and continue baking 15 to 30 minutes more, until bread is a rich brown on all sides, sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom, and a thermometer inserted registers at least 200 degrees F. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for at least one hour before serving.

Nutritional Information
Per serving (1.5 ounces or 42 grams)

Calories: 87
Total Fat: 1 g
Sat Fat: 0.4 g
Carb: 17.6 g
Fiber: 3 g
Sugar: 0.6 g
Protein: 3.4 g
Sodium: 172 mg
Cholesterol: 1.5 mg

Slice and enjoy!


Anonymous said...

YUM! I love homemade bread. BTW - your new header is WAYYYYYYY CUTE!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Looks awesome. I'd say your first bread making attempt was a success! Yum!

Jessica Segarra said...

This looks great! I love fresh bread!