Posted by Corrie
As part of my Operation Bread 2009, here is one of my favorite,
seriously no fail, whole wheat breads.
NOTE: This bread takes 24 hours all steps included, so be sure to plan ahead. It is well worth it. I know you are thinking “I don’t
have time for this…”, but you can prepare this bread for the first rise, then practically forget about it. I usually start mine in the
morning, let it rise all day, then refrigerate overnight. I bake it the next morning. Don’t be scared…the yeast does all the work.
From Eating Well magazine:
EVERYDAY WHOLE-WHEAT BREAD
1/4 cup bulgur, or cracked wheat (see Tip)
1/3 cup boiling water
2 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon whole-wheat flour, divided
1 3/4 cups unbleached bread flour, (see Note), plus more as needed
2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ, (optional)
1 3/4 teaspoons table salt
3/4 teaspoon instant, quick-rising or bread-machine yeast
1 3/4 cups ice water, (see Tip), plus more as needed
1/4 cup clover honey, or other mild honey
3 tablespoons corn oil, canola oil or other flavorless vegetable oil
1.Mix dough: Stir bulgur (or cracked wheat) and boiling water in a medium bowl.
Thoroughly stir 2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour, 1 3/4 cups bread flour, wheat germ (if using), salt and yeast in a 4-quart (or larger) bowl.
Thoroughly stir 1 3/4 cups ice water, honey and oil into the bulgur.
Vigorously stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, scraping
down the sides and mixing just until the dough is thoroughly blended.
The dough should be moist and a bit sticky, but fairly stiff. If the
mixture is too dry, stir in just enough additional ice water to blend
the ingredients, but don’t overmoisten. If the dough is too wet, stir
in just enough bread flour to stiffen it slightly. Lightly coat the
top with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
2.First rise: Let the dough rise at room temperature (about 70°F) for
12 to 18 hours; if convenient, stir once partway through the rise.
For convenience (and improved flavor), you may refrigerate the dough
for 3 to 12 hours before starting the first rise.
3.Second rise: Generously coat a 9-by-5-inch (or similar large) loaf
pan with oil. Vigorously stir the dough to deflate. If it is soft,
stir in just enough bread flour to yield a firm but moist dough (it
should be fairly hard to stir). Transfer the dough to the pan. Lightly
coat the top with oil. Smooth and press the dough evenly into the pan
using a well-oiled rubber spatula or your fingertips. Evenly dust the
top with the remaining 1 tablespoon whole-wheat flour, smoothing it
out with your fingertips. Using well-oiled kitchen shears or a
serrated knife, cut a 1/2-inch-deep slash down the length of the loaf.
Cover the pan with plastic wrap.
4.Let rise at warm room temperature until the dough nears the plastic,
1 to 2 1/2 hours. (For an accelerated rise, see Tip.)
Then gently remove the plastic and let the dough continue to rise
until it extends 1 inch above the pan rim, 15 to 45 minutes more
(depending on temperature).
5.20 minutes before baking: Position a rack in lower third of oven;
preheat to 375°F.
6.Bake, cool, slice: Bake the loaf on the lower rack until the top is
nicely browned, 55 to 65 minutes. Cover with foil and continue baking
until a skewer inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs
on the tip (or until an instant-read thermometer registers 204-206°),
10 to 15 minutes longer. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 to 15
minutes. Turn the loaf out on the rack and let cool to at least warm
before serving. The loaf is good warm but slices best when cool.
Tips & Notes
Make Ahead Tip: Wrap airtight and keep at room temperature for up to 3
days or freeze for up to 2 months.
Note: Milled from high-protein wheats, bread flour develops strong
gluten, resulting in well-risen loaves. It helps give breads with a
high percentage of whole grains better structure and a lighter
texture. Find it near other flours in most supermarkets.
Tips: Bulgur is parboiled cracked whole wheat. Cracked wheat is,
literally, cracked whole wheat berries. Find either near other whole
grains or bread-baking supplies in supermarkets or natural-foods
stores. (You can use whole wheat berries that have been chopped in a
blender or coffee mill in place of the bulgur or cracked wheat.)
To prepare “ice water” for this recipe, add a heaping cup of ice cubes
to cold water and stir for about 30 seconds before measuring out the
You can turn your microwave into a warm, moist environment to help
accelerate the second rise of the bread dough. Begin by microwaving
1/2 cup water in a 1-cup glass measure just to boiling. Set the water
in one corner of the microwave, place the pan of dough on the other
side of the turned-off microwave and close the door. The dough will
double in size in 45 minutes to 11/2 hours.