Saturday, May 30, 2020

100% Fresh Milled Whole Wheat Bread


This week I tried out a 100% whole wheat loaf made with freshly milled Edison wheat, a hard white spring wheat bred specifically for the Northwest maritime weather where I live.  It was developed in the Bread Lab at WSU and is a fantastic cultivar with a buttery flavor and beautiful golden color.  You can get it already ground into flour, or whole and I highly recommend giving it a try as it has wonderful flavor.


I am just thrilled with how it turned out and will have to give it a try with a portion of sprouted grains next time.


This bread has the most delicious aroma both during and after baking!  There isn't a huge amount of honey, but it has the most beautiful sweet smell.  That may be partly due to the variety of wheat.  I have used Edison wheat before that we grew and threshed in the local church garden and it has amazing flavor.  That was why I chose it for this loaf, knowing it was a good performer.  I also have lots of sprouted grains to mill, but wanted to test out this loaf with a regular wheat first.


100% Fresh Milled Whole Wheat Bread
makes 1 loaf

267g water (1c + 2tbsp)
30g oil, ghee, or softened butter (~ 2 tbsp)
40g honey (~2 tbsp)
8g sea salt (1½ tsp)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
30g milk powder (~3½ tbsp) (I use whole goat milk powder)
455g freshly milled wheat flour (~3 3/8 cups) (I used Edison wheat, which is a hard, white, spring wheat, and I sifted and reground the bran to be quite fine.)
5.5g instant yeast (1½ tsp)

Combine all ingredients in a stand mixer or large bowl and knead on low or mix by hand until all ingredients are combined.  Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.  Adjust dough if necessary by adding water by tbsp.  It should be between sticky and tacky and somewhat firm, but not stiff.  Knead just long enough to make a cohesive dough ball. 
Cover and let rise for 40 minutes.  Turn out dough and press out into a rectangle.  Fold in the short ends by thirds, press down and turn 90º and fold in the ends again.  Place back into bowl.  Repeat the 40 minute rise and fold twice more.




Let dough rest for 10 minutes.  Form into a loaf and place in a buttered 8x4" loaf pan.  Allow to rise until double, approximately 40-60 minutes.  Meanwhile preheat oven to 400ºF.

Place loaf in oven and turn down to 375ºF.  Bake for 30 minutes, then remove from pan and bake directly on the rack for another 5-10 minutes until internal temperature is at least 190ºF.  Remove from oven and cool on rack completely before slicing.


Although it can be hard to resist, you will get a better crumb, flavor, and keeping quality if you refrain from cutting into bread that is still warm.  Cutting too early can result in a sticky, gummy crumb and ironically, a dried out bread as well.  Bread can always be reheated after the starches have set, if a warm bread is desired.


This actually turned out to be a forgiving dough as the timing ended up being right when I needed to take my daughter to an appointment.  So I threw the rising loaf in the fridge and hoped for the best.  It still rose so much it flattened the top against the upper shelf and I had to gently reshape it somewhat.  But it puffed up nicely in the oven and there you go, lovely 100% whole wheat loaf.


Saturday, May 16, 2020

Early American Cottage Loaf #BBB


This is the saga of the bread that prevailed.  The little loaf that could.  The dough that defied fate.  Okay, I'll stop, but truly, baking circumstances were colluding against me on this one.  And yet we still ended up with two very tasty loaves, albeit one slightly scorched on the bottom.

A slightly lopsided cottage loaf, owing to the spacious
Dutch oven and the uneven "oven" spring.

It tried to doff its cap.
 So on the first loaf, my oven died right in the middle of preheating!  I went to put in the loaf, already in the Dutch oven I was using and noticed that the little oven thermometer inside read minimum temp.  Good thing I noticed or I wouldn't have been able to easily save it 40 minutes later as I had preheated the Dutch oven on the stove top burner, which still worked.  So I frantically heated up the barbecue and shoved the Dutch oven in there.  I knew it would scorch the bottom a bit but was hoping the cast iron would provide a little protection.  (Actually it was a good thing I was trying out the new Dutch oven as I am certain a glass dish could have shattered on the barbecue.)  It seemed pessimistic on first glance, but after slicing, it was just fine.  Cut off that very thin edge of scorch and the bread was delicious! 

Oh my, that looks bad.
Hmm, maybe not as bad as I thought.
Well look at that, just superficial scorch!
The second time I fully intended on baking in the barbecue, even though we had our new oven by then.  But I also knew we were running low on propane.  I was watching the grill carefully and had already sent hubby to the store to replace the empty spare tank, just in case.  It was a good call, the flame ran out right at 375ºF.  The dough was starting to get over-risen at that point so I deflated and reformed the loaf so I could have the best possible results.  And here is how the setup and the resulting loaf looked:



The crust is actually quite soft, and I accidentally put out my burners when trying to add some steam at the beginning.  I figured it out when the temperature had gone down the next time I checked and had to quickly relight with a fwumph.  I originally intended on using my oblong clay baker, but soon found there was not room for it atop my setup.  So I switched to the pizza stone and did a regular oblong loaf.  I wonder if just the overturned sheet pan or the oven burner grill plates alone would be enough protection for the bottom of the Dutch oven or baker.  The point is to allow for heat circulation as well as limiting direct heat contact.  My friend actually makes cinnamon rolls, (cinnamon rolls!), using this method and a pyrex dish.  She uses the overturned half sheet pan and the burner plates.  The resulting breads, baked in the grill, take on an elusive and extremely pleasing hint of smokiness or savoriness from the grill.  Her boys actually prefer the hint of smoke in the barbecued cinnamon rolls and I now completely understand why.  This honey touched loaf is absolutely delightful with the hint of grill flavor.  The challenge of the barbecue is that it loses a lot of heat very quickly if you lift the lid, so you need to figure out the temperature settings ahead of time.  I wanted to just have one burner going to get some convection, but the temperature would not stay high enough, so I had to use both.  The loaf actually browned better in the Dutch oven, I assume as a result of more even heat from the cast iron conduction.


I used the yeast method for both of my loaves but there is also a sourdough adaptation provided.  This was a nice and quite happy dough to work with and I was more than happy to make it twice.  I actually would like to see how it turns into french toast.  It makes the lightest toast too, just delicious.  I love the touch of honey flavor.  Everybody is baking more right now, why don't you join us and try out this tasty loaf of bread?  No blog is necessary to participate, a picture will do. Just send a picture or your post of your finished loaf to our host kitchen by the 30th of this month.  You will receive a Bread Baking Buddy graphic to keep or add to your post, and be included in our Buddy round up at the end of the month.  New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.

Early American Cottage Loaf
Makes one large loaf 
adapted from Red Star Yeast

Yeast Version:
1¼ cups water
2 TBSP oil (I used butter)
3 TBSP honey
2¼ cups (286 grams) bread flour (I used 300g King Arthur all purpose) 
1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat flour (I used 135g freshly milled sprouted spelt flour) 
1½ tsp sea salt
2 TBSP wheat germ (I substituted sprouted amaranth that I ground at level 5 on the mockmill - about a farina consistency)
¼ cup (30 grams) oat or wheat bran (I used the bran from the milled spelt here)
¼ cup (30 grams) oatmeal (I used steel oats, milled coarse enough to flake them)
2 TBSP corn meal (I used freshly milled sprouted millet meal - level 10 on the mockmill gives a good corn meal level grind for me)
1½ tsp instant dried yeast (original recipe calls for 2¼ tsp active dried yeast)

Sourdough Version:
120 grams sourdough starter, fed & active (or create a levain the night before with a tablespoon of starter + 50 grams flour and and 50 grams water to equal 120 grams and let it ferment overnight)
220 grams water
27 grams oil
63 grams honey
226 grams all-purpose or bread flour
120 grams whole wheat flour
9 grams salt
14 grams wheat germ
30 grams rolled oats (old fashioned)
30 grams oat or wheat bran
15 grams corn meal

*The method is the same for both versions except you would add the sourdough with the wet ingredients and let it ferment longer.

In a mixer bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, including the dried yeast and salt.  Add the water, honey, and oil.  Knead until a cohesive mixture is formed.  Let rest for 5 minutes, then knead until the dough is elastic and just slightly tacky.

Cover and let rise 45 min to 1 hour.  Do a stretch and fold and let rise an additional hour or until doubled.  (It usually takes less time to double after the first rise.)

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and press down to degas. Cut off 1/3 of the dough.  Let the dough relax for 10 minutes.  You can divide the dough by weight or just estimate.

Shape each section into a round ball. Place larger ball in a greased 2½ quart casserole or soufflé dish. Using a sharp knife or lame, cut a cross, about 1½ inches across, in the top of the larger piece of dough.  Brush the surface with water and then place the smaller piece of dough on top. Press through the center of both pieces of dough using the handle of a wooden spoon or your finger.  (That is the traditional cottage loaf form, but this bread is delicious in any shape you choose.) Check out the host kitchen's post for excellent step by step pictures to form the traditional cottage loaf.

Cover and let rise until an indentation remains after lightly touching dough. 

Second loaf, standard oblong shape.

Just before baking, stick handle of wooden spoon or finger to refresh the hole. Using a sharp knife or lame, make 8 long slashes around the top and 12 smaller slashes around the bottom of the loaf.

Bake in preheated 375°F oven 35 to 40 minutes.  Remove from dish and cool on rack.


The rest of the Bread Baking Babes




Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Black Pepper Rye Bread #BreadBakers


Can you believe it is time for the May #BreadBaker's bake?  The days just seem to flow into each other right now.  Our theme this month is rye breads, hosted by Karen's Kitchen Stories.  I was fortunate enough to have both rye flour and rye berries on hand as I understand there are some shortages of rye flour in various areas.  Interesting, as rye has a definitive flavor that not everyone appreciates as well as being a little more tricky to work with as it has a weaker gluten structure.  I learned to love rye at Denny's of all places.  I started getting the rye toast option and never looked back.  Of course that is a very light version of rye the likely has only a small portion of rye flour.  I do prefer a lighter rye loaf to a dense, all rye bread like you might find in Europe, though I did just find a bauernbrot recipe that is just over 50% rye that looks really tasty!  This dough smells delightful, with its spicy coffee infusion.


The recipe I made comes from Dan Lepard's Short and Sweet cookbook.  This link (not an affiliate link) is the UK version and I actually do not recommend the American published version, as they converted all the weights to volumetric measurements and allegedly screwed up many of the recipes in the process.  I ordered the original UK publication for that reason and still have two dozen recipes bookmarked to try!  We have enjoyed other recipes from Dan as well.  I remember in particular a fabulous garlic bread...
Now upon reading this recipe in preparation for baking, I was surprised to find that it uses a tangzhong method to make the dough, though it doesn't call it out as such.  The description does however state a very moist and soft light rye bread, which is of course what tangzhong would lend to the results.  Now that I have tried this one, I also want to try his Deli bread, which has mashed potato and onion in it, and mashed potato also adds a lovely soft, springy texture to bread.  Sigh, this will have to wait until my new oven arrives, as the old one very inconveniently died in the middle of preheating for another loaf.


Black Pepper Rye
makes 1 loaf

325ml regular black coffee
150g rye flour (I ground mine fresh)
2 tsp crushed black pepper
2 tsp anise, fennel, or caraway seeds (I used caraway, yum)
1 tsp fast action yeast (I used instant yeast)
325g strong white flour, plus extra for shaping (I used all purpose)
1½ tsp fine salt
oil for kneading (I did not use this)
beaten egg and poppy seeds to finish (of course I could not find my poppy seeds, so used more caraway)

Mix the coffee and half the rye flour (75g), along with the pepper and seeds in a saucepan.  Whisk while heating until the mixture is thick and just reaching boiling.  Quickly remove from the heat and transfer to a mixing bowl to cool down to just warm.  Once the mixture has cooled, stir in the yeast, mixing well, then add the rest of the rye flour, the white flour, and the salt.  Mix until a smooth dough is achieved.  (Whether because of my fresh ground rye, or using all purpose instead of bread flour, my dough needed more flour to achieve a suitable and not totally sticky dough.)  Cover and let rest for 10 minutes, then knead dough for 10 seconds on a lightly oiled surface.  (I simply did folds within the mixer bowl for my dough, using a bench scraper.)  Cover and repeat this process twice more, every 10 minutes, and then let rest for 30 minutes.
Line a baking sheet with parchment.  Dust the dough with a little flour and pat out into a 20cm square, then roll up tightly.  Place seam-side down on the parchment, cover and let rise by half, around 45 minutes.  (Mine took much longer.)  Heat the oven to 230ºC/210ºC fan/ 450ºF.  Brush the top with an egg wash, (I like to use a whole beaten egg, thinned with a tbsp of water), cut six diagonal slashes across the top, and sprinkle with poppy seeds.  Bake for 40 minutes or until done.



Today, the Bread Bakers, hosted by Karen's Kitchen Stories, have baked breads with rye.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.