Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Uptown Whole Grain Bread

You can probably guess that I have a thing for whole grain breads, and whole grain baking in general. We all know it's healthier, because of fiber and B-Vitamins etc. I also just happen to love the full earthy flavor of the wheat itself. And so, I am always looking out for 'new' recipes or techniques, and to try different ideas I read about. One of my favorite places to go when I am trolling for whole grain recipes is King Arthur Flour, where you can find thousands of great recipes from people who really, but really understand baking. Also they have great forums where you can ask questions or get advice on how to make your baking even better. Two of my favorite baking cookbooks are Whole Grain Baking from their print shop, and Baking Artisan Bread, by Ciril Hitz, a certified Master Baker and instructor in their school. The one thing I love about both books is the straightforward and easy-going style of writing. And, of course, the instructions, which are always dead-on! Either or both are highly recommended for any serious bread baker.

This bread is slightly adapted from Baking Artisan Bread. To maximize flavor, start today, and bake tomorrow using a biga, or rather rubbery starter favored in Italian-type bread (which this is not).

Here's What You'll Need: (for the biga)
bread flour 180g (1 1/3C)
water  107 ml. (1/2 C)
Instant Yeast 1/3 g (1 1/4 tsp.)

Mix all the ingredients together for 4 or 5 minutes in a mixer at medium speed. Then place in an airtight container for at least 2 hours. The flavor will be more developed if you leave it overnight, so if you decide to go that way, after 2 hours, gently degas the biga, and place it back in the container. Let it rest overnight in the refrigerator.

for the dough:
whole wheat flour 657g (5 1/2C)
water 462 ml. (2C)
honey 52 ml. (2 1/2 Tbs.)
instant yeast 2.5g (3/4 tsp.)
salt 16g (3 tsp.)
all of the biga from yesterday
various seeds - sunflower, pumpkin etc. 150g (1C)

Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a mixer and mix for about 5 minutes at medium speed.

Then place in a lightly-oiled bowl, turn to coat, and cover for the first rise, about 2 hours. During this time, about every 45 minutes, remove the dough from the bowl, stretch it and fold it over itself, without kneading. This helps develop the gluten without making the bread too chewy.

At the end of this time, divide the dough into 2 equal pieces, gently shape into a log, and, if desired, roll the dough in oat flakes (see photo). Place the dough in a loaf pan and cover lightly to rest and rise about 45 minutes. It should just peak over the top of the pan.

Bake for about 40 minutes, with steam at 180C (350F). To develop the crust, you can remove the bread from the pans for an additional 5-10 minutes in the oven directly on the oven rack, or even on a baking stone. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.


  1. Still no way to print without the photos!!!!

    1. I have added printing functionality to the blog for those who would like to print the posts. However, since I am convinced that the photos are an integral part of the post, and because I have not been able to find a programming tip on how to eliminate the photos, I have not changed that. If you would like to print without the photos, Copy the post (with the photos) to Word, then Save As the document as a Text Only document. Word will delete the photos automatically for you. Then Print from Word. Hope this helps. All the best, David

  2. This is a wonderful bread. Thank you so much! I made it last night. We really loved it and tonight I have put a new biga, only ww this time in refrigerator after the 2 hour rise. It is moist, but firm not crumbly, soft and chewy. I can't even describe it . Thanks again.

    1. So glad you like this bread. It is also one of my favorites. I really like that the bread holds together unlike some whole wheat breads that get very crumbly after a day or so. Enjoy! I have not posted in a while, but hope to restart the blog soon.