Sunday, March 4, 2012

Whole Wheat Lean Dough

The next recipe in my text book to tackle is actually bagels, however, there are some oddball ingredients needed in bagel making that I haven't tracked down, so I skipped ahead one recipe to: Whole Wheat bread.

As in my previous post, I quartered the recipe as below:

Bread Flour: 0.75 Pounds
Whole Wheat Flour: 0.5 Pounds
Instant Dry Yeast: 4.75 Grams
Water: 14 Fluid Ounces
Salt: 12.5 Grams

I was surprised by the white bread flour to whole wheat flour ratio. One would think that when making whole wheat bread, there would be more whole wheat flour in the recipe than plain ole' bread flour, but I pressed on nonetheless.

I began by mixing my flours and yeast in one bowl, and the water and salt in the mixer's bowl.

I added the dry ingredients to the water/salt mixture and blended on low (stir) speed for about 2 minutes, then on about medium for another minute or two.

Once I had achieved the "improved stage of gluten development" which is a thin membrane of dough I was ready to rise!

The dough needs to do what is called "bulk ferment". What I do is let it sit in this lovely bowl (covering the dough ball with plastic wrap) for 30 minutes. After the first 30 minutes, I fold the dough over once or twice and bulk ferment for another 30 minutes, folding the dough again and giving it another 15 minutes to rise.

You may find yourself asking; "Jill, what do I do during this 75 minutes of bulk fermentation?". Here's an example of what I did:
  1. Baked a quick batch of cookies (at darling husband's request), and yes, I used a mix!
  2. Unload and reload the dishwasher (all this baking is messy)!
  3. Fold yet another load of laundry (isn't it handy that the laundry room is just off the kitchen)! 
  4. Rescue Son from his crib once he wakes up from nap
  5. Feed Son lunch
  6. Clean up all the food said 16 month old Son threw on floor (when does that stage end)?
  7. Get needed supplies for the actual shaping and baking stage (coming up next)!

Now that pesky fermenting and rising has been taken care of, it's time to preshape the dough! I began by dividing my dough into the requisite one pound 'hunks'. I used my trusty scale and dough blade for this.

The 'hunks' now need to be preshaped into a 'large oblong'. This is done by stretching the dough into a rectangle and folding the left and right edges to the middle, pressing lightly with the fingertips to seal the edges:

Then we fold the top edge of the dough down to the center, press lightly to seal, then fold the top of the dough down to the bottom edge, sealing together with the heel of your hand, then we roll the dough into a tube about 6 inches long (and yes, I really did use a tape measure):

Once I repeated with the other dough 'hunk' I needed to let the preshaped dough rest, covered, for 15 minutes. I will admit, I neglected to cover my dough...I did notice it was slightly drier than I would have preferred, but it turned out ok, so I'm not too beaten up over it!

This is the fun part, this is when we get to shape the dough into a batard. This was much easier than shaping a boule and I didn't even need to call my Mom! I started out by gently flattening the dough with my fingertips:

I then folded the top of the dough into the center, pressing the seam to tighten the dough, and repeated until I had a nice tight roll:

Then I rolled out the dough tube with my palms, tapering a bit at the ends:

The next step was to proof the dough once again (there's a lot of freakin' waiting involved in baking bread, it's no wonder people went ga-ga for the bread machines back in the early 2000s), I actually covered the shaped dough with a towel and put it into my cold, bottom (I have a double) oven for 45 minutes to proof.

While I was proofing, I preheated my top oven to 350 degrees and I made my egg wash. One egg, beaten with some water.

I scored my loaves with a paring knife and applied the egg wash. The loaves are ready to be baked on my pan (which I've sprayed with some Pam and sprinkled with corn meal):

The loves went into the oven for about a half hour. I checked to see if done by (carefully, use an oven mitt) thumping on the bottom of a loaf, if it sounds hollow, you're good to go!

I have succeeded, once again, in the fine art of bread making!

The flavor of the bread was great! It was a nice, hearty, wheat bread! My son got the first piece and opened his mouth for more, so I take that as a seal of approval! My husband made lunch and used the bread to make little patty melt sliders!

I will say that I was, considerably, more confident this go-around than the last time (now that I had one success under my belt and was hoping for a repeat performance)! I didn't hold my breath and listen to the dough to see if I could hear it rising, I didn't come back and stare at the bowl for minutes on end, willing it to rise. I was able to walk away, go about my business, and come back to fold every half hour or so.

My next project should be bagels, provided I can find the diastic malt and malt syrup (I may have order these online), otherwise, you may be looking forward to Durum Rosemary Dough! 


  1. You...are awesome! There is no way I would have the patience to do all that waiting just to make bread. It looked fantastic! Go, you!!

    1. Thanks! Give it a try, you might be suprised! :-)