Monday, May 4, 2009

100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Thus begins my journey into Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads. One thing I like first off was the fact that the recipes were, for the most part, 100% whole grain. Seems simple enough, but I am finding that most so-called whole grain baking books are mostly filled with recipes that are partially whole grains. The rest are white flour.
Peter even goes so far as to call the couple of loaves in this book that contain white flour "transitional loaves". I appreciate that.
I dutifully read the ninety pages of science and method that precede the recipes in this book, and, having gotten through it, was happy to find the the recipes themselves are not that complicated.
His goal was to lighten and sweeten the whole grain loaves, by the method of creating them rather than by adding extra lightening and sweetening ingredients.
The recipes each have two preferments, which are put together for the final loaf(s).

This, my first loaf from the book, came out perfectly. It rose so high and had such a lovely crumb. I had to lower the rack it was on in the oven as I got such lift out of the dough. Success!

100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
Peter Reinhart, Whole Grain Breads

Soaker
227 grams whole wheat flour
4 grams (1/2 tsp) salt
198 grams buttermilk (could also use milk, yogurt, rice milk, soy milk)

Mix all soaker ingredients together in a bowl for about 1 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 temperature for 12 to 24 hours. (If longer, chill dough - but let come to room temperature before mixing with the other ingredients)

Biga
227 grams whole wheat flour
1 gram (1/4 tsp) instant yeast
170 grams filtered or spring water, at room temperature

Mix all of the biga together in a bowl to form a ball of dough. Using wet hands, knead the dough in the bowl for 2 minutes to be sure all of the ingredients are evenly distributed and the flour is fully hydrated. The dough should feel very tacky. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then knead it again with wet hands for 1 minute. The dough will become smoother but still be tacky.
Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.
About 2 hours before mixing the final dough, remove the biga from the refrigerator to take off the chill. It will have risen slightly but need not have risen significantly in order to use it in the final dough.

Final Dough
All of the soaker
All of the biga
56.5 grams whole wheat flour
5 grams (5/8 tsp) salt
7 grams (2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
42.5 grams sugar or honey
14 grams (1 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted, or vegetable oil
Extra whole wheat flour, for adjustments

Cut up the biga and soaker into small pieces. Mix by hand or in stand mixer. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix together until incorporated. Add more whole wheat flour as needed.
Turn out to a floured counter or board and knead 3-4 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes while you lightly oil a bowl for the dough.
Knead for one minute more, adjusting flour or water as necessary, then shape into a ball and put into the oiled bowl, turning to coat. Let rest at room temperature, loosely covered with plastic wrap, until 1 1/2 times it's original size (about 45-60 minutes).
Transfer to lightly floured counter and shape into a loaf, set it into a greased loaf pan and let rise until 1 1/2 times it's size again (about 45-60 minutes).
Preheat the oven to 425f. When you put the loaf in, reduce the temperature to 350f. Bake 20 minutes, rotate the loaf, and bake another 20-30 minutes, until the loaf is rich and brown and registers 195f in the center.
Transfer to a cooling rack and allow it to cool for at least one hour before serving.

This loaf has gone Yeastspotting!