- The Secret To Making Really Great 100-Percent Whole Grain Bread | Kitchn:
- The Wheat Lowdown - The New York Times:
With so many relatively decent loaves readily available in stores, bread-baking is more of a hobby.
There are three reasons that my whole-grain breads have become better: the food processor, the overnight rise and the sourdough starter.
And they all involve abandoning kneading.
Kneading dough by hand for 20 minutes — as was the practice when I first started baking — was never actually necessary (few home bakers knew that), but a requirement of a particular kind of bread made in a relatively hurried fashion using a relatively large amount of domesticated (that is, store-bought) yeast.
I came to the realization that great 100 percent whole-grain bread can be made only with sourdough (it’s about the difference between how whole grains respond to store-bought yeast and how they respond to acid, or a combination of acid and wild yeast), and I discovered that via a combination of driving other people crazy with questions and a recipe from “The Scandinavian Cookbook,” by my friend Trine Hahnemann.
Sourdough rye requires time: a few days to make the starter, and 12 hours or so every time you want to make bread.
But kneading? No.
You can make it lighter in texture and color by using a touch of white flour in place of whole wheat, though to me that defeats the purpose.
You can make it darker in color — gorgeously so — by adding roasted malt powder.
Seeds — fennel, caraway, anise — add flavor.
If it’s too chewy for you, use flour in place of cracked rye.
Finally — and this may be hard to believe — it’s best when wrapped in plastic and cured for a day before eating.
If you follow the instructions to the gram, you will produce very good bread.
By upping the amount of yeast, using the food processor and incorporating relatively large amounts of fat (in the form of olive oil), you can make a 100 percent whole-wheat focaccia (other shapes, including baguettes, will also work, but I like it best as a puffy flatbread) in a minimum of time.
Really, the best treatment for whole grain is sourdough.
But if you’re in a hurry, greatness takes second place.
Sourdough Rye (mad with 2 cups rye flour, 2 cups whole-wheat, and 1 1/2 cups cracked rye).
YIELD 2 loaves
FOR THE SOURDOUGH STARTER (the rye starter did work beautifully)
2 ⅔ cups rye flour Pinch instant yeast
FOR THE DOUGH
2 cups rye flour
2 cups whole-wheat or white flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 ½ cups cracked rye or rye flour
To make the starter:
In a tall, narrow, nonmetal container (a tall, narrow bowl is fine), mix
2/3 cup rye flour with
1/2 cup water,
along with the tiniest pinch of instant yeast — less than 1/16 teaspoon.
Cover and let sit for about 24 hours, then add the same amount of both flour and water (no more yeast).
Repeat twice more, at 24-hour intervals; 24 hours after the fourth addition, you have your starter. (From now on, keep it in the refrigerator; you don’t need to proceed with the recipe for a day or two if you don’t want to.
Before making the dough, take a ladleful — 1/2 to 3/4 cup — of the starter and put it in a container; stir in 1/2 cup rye flour and a scant 1/2 cup water, mix well, cover and refrigerate for future use.
This starter will keep for a couple of weeks.
If you don’t use it during that time and you wish to keep it alive, add 1/2 cup each flour and water every week or so and stir; you can discard a portion of it if it becomes too voluminous.)
To make the dough:
Combine the remaining starter in a big bowl with the rye flour, the whole-wheat or white flour and 2¼ cups of water.
Mix well, cover with plastic wrap and let sit overnight, up to 12 hours.
The next morning, the dough should be bubbly and lovely.
Add the salt, the cracked rye and 1 cup water — it will be more of a thick batter than a dough and should be pretty much pourable.
Pour and scrape it into two 8-by-4-inch nonstick loaf pans.
The batter should come to within an inch of the top, no higher.
Cover (an improvised dome is better than plastic wrap; the dough will stick to whatever it touches) and let rest until it reaches the rim of the pans, about 2 to 3 hours, usually.
Preheat the oven to 163C/325F and bake until a skewer comes out almost clean; the internal temperature will measure between 190F and 200F.
This will take about 1 1/2 hours or a little longer.
Remove loaves from the pans and cool on a rack.
Wrap in plastic and let sit for a day before slicing, if you can manage that; the texture is definitely better the next day.
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