Wednesday, April 4, 2012

100 % fresh ground whole wheat bread

Ever since I got my grain mill, I had been looking for a good sandwich bread made entirely from fresh ground wheat.  A lot of people recommend Peter Reinhart's method of making a "biga" (whatever that is) and letting it soak overnight, yada yada.  It seemed a bit too involved to me, so as I continued my search, I read many blog posts or comment threads and in a comment thread on The Fresh Loaf, someone suggested a similar method, but very simple.   It still involves soaking overnight since whole wheat flour develops more gluten as it sits, creating a better consistency to the bread (not as dense).  So this recipe is not a perfect sandwich bread, and is still a heavy loaf, but it is absolutely delicious, simple, and it works for sandwiches too! 

I use hard white wheat because it is what I have right now, but I would prefer a blend of red winter wheat and spring spring wheat because it apparently has a more complex flavor with the red wheat.  I used to make it with both grains, but I would need to compare them side by side to really know what the difference is. 

2 cups fresh ground wheat flour
just under 1 cup of water
1 TBS yogurt
sprinkle of salt
sprinkle of yeast

Mix all of these ingredients together, cover and sit overnight (about 12 hours, although less than that will still work).

The next day, add:
 2 tsp yeast
 just under 1 t salt
 1 T honey or agave syrup (or sugar)
 1 T oil

 put it in the bread machine to do the kneading (for about 10 minutes- I always set the timer, otherwise I will forget about it.)  When it is finished kneading, arrange dough in a loaf pan coated with oil and flour mixture, let it rise (about one hour) and bake for about 20-25 minutes at 350.

*For a quicker rise, put dough in a warm oven (that has been turned off) and cover with towel for about 45 min-1 hour, take the towel off and allow the oven to preheat with the dough in there.  I've found that this helps prevent the bread from collapsing during baking. 

This loaf will turn out kind of shorter than typical sandwich bread, but it is just the right amount for my family every 1-2 days. It is no big deal to slice the bread on a bit of an angle for bigger slices if you need them for sandwiches.   You could also make 1 1/2 of this recipe for a larger loaf!

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