Thursday, September 16, 2010

No Knead 100% Whole Wheat Bread

This is the easiest bread in the world. On Sunday night I mixed it all together in a 6 quart container and left it on the counter for 3 hours so it could double. Then I stuck it in the fridge. I took a handful out on Monday night and made a pizza with it. That's another post. On Tuesday morning, I took the container out of the fridge and put it on the counter for about 3 hours to warm up and start rising. Then  I grabbed about 1 1/2 lbs of the dough out of the container and formed it into a loaf. I put it in a loaf pan and let it double and baked it. The bread is moist and soft. It holds together well for a sandwich. The dough is very sticky so use wet hands when handling it. Give it a try! I still have another loaf's worth in the fridge for tomorrow. You can make fresh bread for up to a week and the longer it ferments in the fridge, the better it tastes.
Update: I baked the second loaf today. The dough smelled a little sour but the bread was great. Before rolling it into a loaf, I sprinkled the rectangle with a good amount of cinnamon sugar. WOW!

100 Percent Whole-Wheat Sandwich Bread
adapted from "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day"

1 T yeast (1 pkt)
1 T salt
1/2 cup honey
5 T oil, plus more for greasing the pan
3 cups lukewarm milk
6 2⁄3 cups whole wheat flour (not packed) (I like Gold Medal and King Arthur brands)
2 T vital wheat gluten (optional but makes a lighter loaf)

Mix the yeast, salt, honey, oil, and milk in a 6-quart bowl or other container. Stir it enough to dissolve the yeast.

Mix in the flour and gluten using a large spoon and a little muscle. Make sure all the flour is wet. The dough will be very wet.

Cover loosely, and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough doubles or triples (about 2 to 3 hours).

Refrigerate and use over the next several days.

On baking day, remove the container from the refrigerator to warm it up for a couple of hours. Lightly grease a loaf pan. Using wet hands, scoop out a 1 1⁄2 pound (cantaloupe-sized) hunk of dough. Keeping your hands wet, form a loaf. There are fancy ways to do this but you can just flatten the dough into a rectangle (the length of your pan) on the counter and roll it up. Spray the counter first with oil so it doesn't stick.

Drop the loaf into the prepared pan. You’ll want enough dough to fill the pan slightly more than half-full. Spray with oil and cover.

Allow the dough to rise until doubled. This will take an hour or so, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until internal temperature is over 200. It should be nicely browned and firm.

Cool completely before slicing.

Note: If you are weighing your flour, which is a great idea by the way, whole wheat flour is about 4.75 oz/cup or 130 g/cup. If you don't weigh your flour, at least don't pack it in the cup. Loosen the flour first and then scoop it.

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