Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Whole Wheat Bread in Just a Few Minutes a Day

Recently I heard that some friends of mine were grinding their own wheat and making some fantastic bread.  I have made bread many times in the past, but I never found a recipe that I liked enough to warrant the time it took to make it.  These ladies were holding a demonstration, so I eagerly went.  Sure enough, the bread was simple to make, incredibly healthy, and tasted great!  It takes a few times of making the recipe to get the knack of it, but once you do, it really only does just take a few minutes of actual work each time you want fresh bread!

Whole Wheat Bread  
                    
Ingredients:
6 ½ c. flour          (2 ½ c all purpose, 4 c whole wheat or any combo you want!)
1 ½ T salt             (according to taste, I use 1T)
1 ½ T yeast          (I have used both rapid and regular yeast)
3 c. water            (distilled, microwaved for a minute)
1/4 c vital wheat gluten  (optional, but really makes the bread fluffier!)

Method:
In a very large bowl, blend Flour, Salt, and Yeast.

Add Water and mix until all of the flour is moistened. It does not need to form a ball. (Personally, I have discovered that I like putting the water in the bowl first, then adding the mixed dry ingredients.  This insures that you get all the dry ingredients mixed in and don't miss some at the bottom of the bowl!)


 Cover with plastic wrap (or lid, not sealed) and leave for 30 mins.

Lightly OIL the counter top.  

After 30 minutes, dump the dough onto the oiled counter top.  Flatten it with wet hands.  Bring the sides into the center and turn the dough over.  Round the dough into a ball.


 Place the ball of dough into an oiled plastic bucket (bucket should be 4 quarts or larger) with the smooth, oiled side of the dough on top. Cover with an oiled piece of plastic wrap (to prevent the dough from drying on the top) and seal the bucket with its lid.


Leave the bucket on the counter until the dough has doubled (about 2 hours).

 
Refrigerate overnight. The dough can be stored this way for up to two weeks.
  
The next day, take out the amount of dough that you want to bake (I usually do half the dough). 

Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and shape into a ball by folding the sides in to the center, turning the dough over, and rounding it downward so you form a smooth top and a tight seam on the bottom. (You want a tight seam, so even if you have to pinch it closed on the bottom, do it.)



Let the dough rest on the counter for 10 minute.

Shape the dough into the desired form (I typically form it into a long loaf), and place it onto parchment paper (seam side down) on a flat cookie sheet or baker’s peel.  Let it rise for 30 minutes, then preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Let the dough continue to rise until the oven is preheated (you will have to figure out exactly how long you need to let your dough rise, but it really works however long you let it sit).



In your oven, you should have a rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack and either a stone or a flat cookie sheet (or a rimmed sheet turned upside down) on a middle rack.

When you are ready to bake your bread, sprinkle small amount of flour over the loaf and slash the top in any design you wish.

Right before you are ready to put the dough into the oven, microwave 1 ½ c of water into hot (1-2 minutes). Slide dough into the hot oven and pour water into the bottom rimmed sheet. This creates steam in the oven. 

Reduce the oven’s temperature immediately to 450 degrees and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Remove the bread from the sheet and let cool before you cut into it. When it comes out, the crust if very hard, but as it cools it softens right up!



I store my bread in a sealed container and that keeps it soft. I have heard that if you leave it out on the counter, cut side down, the crust stays crusty.

Personally, I make up a few batches of dough all at once at the beginning of the week and it's in the refrigerator ready to bake up each time we need more.



If you're interested, I've also heard great reviews of the first book published by the same authors Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking

Happy Baking!

2 comments:

  1. this sounds pretty easy, i'll have to try it! it'd be fun to cut some cool patterns on top too eh?

    -kelley:)

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  2. You should! Let me know if you do =) I haven't been too creative with the slashes on the top. If you do anything fun, take a picture!

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