Monday, July 4, 2011
After all is said and done, sometimes what you really want is a slice of healthy, hearty bread that tastes great and is good for you at the same time. Oh, and it should be pretty, too. This bread, inspired by the Master recipe for whole wheat bread in Jeff Hertzberg's magnificent Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, is just such a bread. It tastes great. Just as important, it has a slightly chewy crust and a soft, but strong crumb. Perfect for sandwiches loaded down with meats or cheeses and with sauces or marinades or other wet ingredients. It does not become mushy but rather is up to the job it's supposed to do, i.e., it is there for you when the going gets tough, and doesn't disintegrate into crumbs all over your clothes. It is also pretty, looking ever so much like a nice artisan loaf without the 'muss and fuss' of working with sourdough.
This is a straight dough, mixed and baked the same day, similar to a challah but not quite as enriched It is shaped like a French boule (french for ball) but of course flat on the bottom. Also, the slashing which is both functional (lets the gas escape so the bread doesn't explode sideways in the oven while baking) and decorative. I have no doubt you'll love it once you try it.
Here's What You'll Need:
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups AP or bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbs. dry yeast
3/4 Tbs. salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
about 1 1/3 cups warm water
Here's What You Need To Do:
1. Mix the dry ingredients (the flours. sugar, salt and yeast) together in a large bowl or in the bowl of an electric mixer until evenly distributed.
2. Add the egg, oil and most of the water and mix to form a rough dough. Add water or flour to form a smooth, slightly sticky dough. Knead the dough in a mixer vigorously for about 10 minutes (or 15 minutes by hand), until the dough is very smooth and only slightly tacky.
3. Place the kneaded dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, then cover with plastic wrap to rise until doubled. This will take about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
4. Take the dough from the bowl, and, trying desperately not to degas the dough too much, form the dough into a boule. This is best done by stretching the dough from the top away from you towards the bottom. After each stretch, turn the dough by about 45 degrees. When the dough is 'stretched, place it, folds on the bottom, onto a baking tray. Cover the boule with a damp kitchen towel to rest for about 45 minutes.
5. Start heating the oven (400 F, 205 C) about 30 minutes before baking. Just before baking, slash the bread twice or three times with a serrated knife, spray with a little water and place in the oven.
6. After about 15 minutes reduce the temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for a total of about 35 to 40 minutes. If you have a baking stone, you can move the boule from the baking sheet to the stone for the last 10 minutes of baking to give more crispiness to the crust.
7. Cool on a rack.