Note to Self:

Monday, July 16, 2012

Just Four Ingredients (OK, Five)


“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

That beautiful loaf of bread pictured above was made with the four basic bread ingredients: flour, water, yeast, and salt. The best part is that it was made with 100% whole wheat flour. That's the reason I added a tablespoon of vital wheat gluten to the recipe (the fifth ingredient). Whole wheat flour has less gluten...the bread dough's muscle, if you will. Anyhow, this is easy to make, really delicious, and super healthy. I hope you try it, even if it's hot out. For more detail directions, with many more photos of the bread being made, click here.


100% Whole Wheat Bread

Makes 2 loaves

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup water
2 teaspoons instant yeast
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4 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
2 cups water
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3 teaspoons instant yeast
3 teaspoons kosher salt

In one bowl make a preferment by combining 2 cups of whole wheat flour with 1 cup water and 2 teaspoons of instant yeast. Begin the autolyse in another bowl by combining 4 cups of whole wheat flour, the wheat gluten, and 2 cups water. Stir each bowl just enough to combine the ingredients, taking care not to get yeast into the bowl with the autolyse. Cover both bowls and allow to rest and ferment for 30-90 minutes, during which time the preferment will begin it’s job multiplying yeast and fermenting flour, and the autolyse will soak the grain, swelling the gluten.

After an hour or so, combine the ingredients from both bowls into the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the salt and remaining 3 teaspoons of yeast (add the yeast and salt on opposite sides of the bowl). Knead the dough on medium speed for about 8 minutes. Place the dough in a lightly oiled container, cover it loosely, and allow to ferment for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in bulk. Deflate the dough and allow it to ferment an additional 30 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and cut it into 2 or 3 pieces. Shape into loaves and place into lightly oiled pans (or shape them fre-form and place them on baking sheets). Loosely cover the loaves with plastic wrap and allow to ferment for 30-60 minutes, or until double in size and when gently touched with a fingertip an indentation remains.

Bake the breads for about 30-40 minutes, adding steam to the oven a few times (either with ice cubes or a spray bottle) and rotating the breads every ten minutes. The breads are done when they are dark brown and sound hollow when tapped upon. Remove the breads from their pans and allow them to cook on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before slicing. 


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