Friday 11 January 2013

Almost Entirely Wholewheat Bread

Lately, for some reason or another, I seem to be posting a lot of healthy food. Although I doubt this will last long, let's consider it as fortuitous for anyone who was hoping to eat healthier in the New Year. The recipes I've been posting recently are really what I eat on a day to day basis, if I always ate my richer recipes such as the cakes and decadent desserts that I post, I'd easily be thrice my size! So here is a recipe for the bread I eat on a day to day basis, being almost entirely wholewheat with just a tad of white flour, olive oil and honey to make a tall, slightly fluffier wholewheat loaf with a nice crumb. Although you can go all brown and leave out the oil and honey, something which I do occasionally happen to do, this leads to a flatter, denser and tougher bread. This isn't necessarily the biggest issues except that you might get tired of unplugging your toaster and chasing your toast with a knife because it fell through the grills. So with that in  mind, I recommend splurging and taking the white flour, oil and honey route, it really isn't so bad (join the dark siiiiiide).

Makes 2 loaves

4 c. Wholewheat flour (the real deal)
1/2c. High gluten flour (available at specialty stores or bulk store like bulk barn, the gluten helps get some extra rise, it can be swapped out for other flour though if you like!)
3/4c. White Flour
1 1/2 tsp. Active Dry Yeast
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
3 c. Barely warm water
1 tsbp. of good quality olive oil

1) Combine flours, yeast and salt in a large bowl, being careful to keep the salt and yeast from touching. Keep in mind that the dough will double to more than twice its side so you'll need one very large bowl or two smaller ones,  preferably made from ceramic, stainless steel or glass.
2) Add water and oil.
3) Mix the dough until homogenous with a spatula and then knead the dough in the bowl until smooth. To knead the dough, simply fold the dough in three like an envelope, apply pressure, flip it and start again (rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat, for at least 4 minutes).
4) After kneading, flour the dough lightly and cover the bowl with a damp cloth. Let rise at room temperature, around 20 degrees for one hour before refrigerating or storing in a cold room overnight, at least 12 hours, I tend to leave it for about 18. The process of letting the dough rise very slowly in a cold environment develops flavour and allows the relatively small amount of yeast to reproduce. In doing so, you'll manage to have a tender bread that doesn't taste yeasty.
5) After the prolonged rising, remove the dough from the bowl and break it into two balls. Gently stretch the balls and deposit them in a loaf pan to proof for another 3 hours or so covered by a damp towel.
6) Once the 3 hours of proofing have passed, put a baking stone if you have one on the lowest rack and set the next rack one slot above. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
9) Prepare an atomizer filled with cold water, open the oven and quickly insert the bread on the higher rack, close the oven most of the way and through a slit spray at least 20 sprays of water into it.
10) Bake for about 25 minutes until browned and hardened, eject the loaves from their pans onto a cooling rack and tap the bottoms of the loaves, if they sound hollow, they're ready!
11) Cool and enjoy! This bread makes excellent toast, I recommend pre-slicing it and freezing it to have it during the week.

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