Friday, February 20, 2009

50% Whole Wheat Bread

This is another recipe from Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads cookbook. You might remember that, a couple weeks ago, I made his basic 100% whole wheat sandwich bread which was fine for what it was, and made really good toast, but not really what I want out of a loaf of bread most of the time.

My standard loaf uses maybe 20% whole grains so 50%, made more palatable by Reinhart's techniques, may well be just as good and a bit more healthy too.

This recipe isn't too much different from the last one. There's a soaker:
227 grams whole wheat flour
4 grams salt
170 grams water
mixed, covered and let sit at room temperature overnight.

And there's a biga:
227 grams white bread flour
1 gram (1/4 teaspoon) yeast
142 grams water
mixed, lightly kneaded, and let sit in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, after the biga has warmed back up, they get mixed along with
28.5 grams whole wheat flour (I substituted rye and a little gluten flour)
5 grams salt
7 grams (2 1/4 teaspoons) yeast.

That's kneaded, let rise for an hour, stretched and folded (in lieu of punching down), formed into a loaf, let rise for another 45 minutes then baked. You can see in the picture that I managed to neatly pleat the parchment paper in the rising bowl which made moving it to the oven easier and a lot less likely to rip the dough if it sticks during the transfer from the concave to flat surfaces.

As usual, I baked in my big cast iron dutch oven, 30 minutes falling from 500 to 425 with the lid on and 20 minutes lid off. That got me to 210 degrees on the inside which is when I usually take my bread out the oven. This recipe says to take it out at 200 which I wanted to try, but I got there too late.

Crumb's looks pretty good and you can see how lovely that crust is. The texture in the mouth is a good soft chew like a standard rustic loaf, too, so all that soaking did the job of tenderizing the flour. If you hold your nose you wouldn't guess this was more than 10 or 20% whole grain. The smell is the giveaway, though, it's strongly whole wheat which is a little disconcerting. The flavor is good compromise; a little too straightforwardly hearty for the complex flavors that you get in a really good mostly-white-flour loaf, but very bready, unlike the wheaty flavor of the 100% loaf. It doesn't have the allure of a great rustic loaf that causes me to compulsively eat plain slices, but it's just the thing with a bit of strongly flavored cheese that would overwhelm a lighter loaf. Probably really good with a winter stew, too. I don't think this is going to be my go-to recipe, but I could see making this again.


LaDivaCucina said...

You are really good with your dough, boy! I'm impressed, it looks so good.

billjac said...

My previous attempts at bread baking have all been pathetic failures, but this time around I was able ease my way into complicated stuff. I started with simple no-knead recipes and then getting the feel for what the dough should look and feel like and built expertise bit by bit. The next step is a sourdough starter but I'm not sure I'm quite ready yet.

LaDivaCucina said...

OH, go on! WE both know we love to jump in head first and deal with the consequences later. Makes good blog fodder at the least!

billjac said...

Once bitten, twice shy. Lactobaccillus and I have a history and it's a contentious one. I'm not sure I want to jump back into that relationship.

Anonymous said...

Is the strong smell you're getting from the whole wheat, or the rye? I'd bet on the rye.

billjac said...

It's not the rye. My point, unclearly phrased as it may have been, was that while the bread looks and chews like country white it smells just like 100% whole wheat. Which is kind of weird.