Good Morning! Hope the long weekend has geared you up to read today's really lengthy post! Coz I am waiting to tell you everything in detail about this bread I baked. Thrice in 4 days actually, and again once recently. Yeah the SAME One. Why? First it caught my eye from the pages of the KAF book as a 100% whole wheat no-knead bread. And it said that this is 'the most easy beginners bread if you want to step into the lukewarm water of baking bread'. Its no-knead, one rise. Which means you don't have to wait for hours for the bread to get baked - whole wheat dough takes longer to proof. No knead - but you need to mix the dough in a stand mixer, a point of hesitation for me as I don't have one - yet! But then, I have nothing to lose I thought. I must admit, the no-knead, quick and 100% whole wheat was too good a recipe to not try out. I must also admit, though I have begun to love home-made bread, the thought of clearing space on my over-crowded kitchen counter and kneading the bread dough there is sometimes a put-off. Buying bread has dwindled down and I can't forgo home-baked bread. Time to get my bread machine...
The dough here is quite loose as in all no-knead yeast breads and is mixed in a mixer for 3 minutes. After reading the reviews on the KAF site, I was all set to mix the dough with the dough hooks of my hand mixer. But to my horror, the dough started to crawl up the hooks and gave me an electric shock! Thankfully, I had my wooden spoon ready and I beat the very sticky and very viscous dough 200 strokes by hand. And yes, of course, I had an achy arm and shoulder the next 2 days. The recipe said the dough would take 60 - 90 minutes to rise to the rim, but mine surprised me by rising way over the rim in about 35 minutes in this no-sun weather. I should have seen it coming, considering the amount of liquid and yeast in the dough. Well, I got a nice loaf, but was left wondering if I could have done it better and easier. Would using a little less yeast give a slower rise to just to the rim and give me better bread?
Next day. No mood to strain my arms more. I thought of using the hand mixer for beating part of the flour with all the liquid and then mix in the rest of the flour as I had made in the No Knead White Batter Bread. Less yeast. The dough took longer to rise, the bread was good, the hand mixer did the work. Good, but the dough in the loaf tin on the site doesn't look very tall, why not make this bread in my 9x5 pan?
Day 4 - I gave a day's break as my house help was beginning to get convinced that I was really crazy, am sure by now she is!! The bread was OK, shorter and flatter, but I liked it better in the 8 1/2'' by 4 1/2'' pan. Long story short, I baked the bread again in the smaller tin with the amount of yeast specified in the recipe, mixed with hand mixer, watched the dough like a hawk while it rose just till the rim. Baked the bread, got a decent loaf.
Before we move further, let me tell you that the recipe also says that the bread is dense and moist and tasty, all of which it is. Don't let the description 'dense' put you off. I have not liked eating my failed dense breads, but this is dense in a different and nice sort of way, think of this as a different kind of bread altogether. Sweetish, with a hint of orange, slices beautifully, tastes good toasted and eaten warm - with a drizzle of honey if you like. And I thought I must tell you about this bread as I liked it, my kids liked it, my neighbor liked it and my friends liked it. Note, hubby is missing the honor of being in this list. Different strokes for different folks :)
The recipe is from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Book. The recipe in the book has no fat whatsoever. The site and blog have 1/4 cup of oil. I used 2 tablespoons of oil, have added vital wheat gluten, needed to add more water to get the dough sticky, used milk in place of water. Do experiment and see what works best for you and please do tell me about it!
Here is the recipe with the changes I made: You can find the original recipe here. Read the blog and reviews here
- Lukewarm milk - 1 cup (recipe uses 1 cup water plus 1/4 cup dry milk)
- Orange juice - 1/4 cup( fresh or from a tetra pack)
- Melted butter or vegetable oil - 2 tablespoons
- Honey - 3 tablespoons ( Recipe recommends molasses/ maple syrup / dark corn syrup / brown sugar corn syrup)
- Instant Yeast - 2 teaspoons
- Salt - 1 1/4 teaspoons
- Whole wheat flour - 3 cups / 12 oz / 340 grams, divided use ( I used Ashirwad)
- Vital Wheat Gluten - 3 tablespoons
- Grated orange zest - 3/4 teaspoon
- Water - 3 tablespoons aprox ( If needed)
Dump the dough in the pan. Grease you hands and smooth the top. Cover with a greased plastic wrap. I used a greased aluminum foil. Let rise till the dough rises to the rim or 'perhaps barely cresting over the rim' as the recipe specifies. This took me 35- 40 minutes. Towards the end of the rise time, pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C / 350 degree F.
Uncover and bake the bread for 40-45 minutes or till the top is golden brown. This is not a very high rising bread, will not dome much, may remain flat across the top. If the bread starts to brown too quickly, tent with aluminum foil. The internal temperature should read 200 F. The recipe says 195 degrees F, but I have 200 degree F firmly etched in my head! Cool the bread in the tin for 5 minutes, remove and cool completely on the rack. Slice when completely cooled, I liked this sliced thin.
A note on the pan sizes - Use an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 '' pan for best results. You could use a 8″ x 4″ pan, let dough rise till it’s crowned about 1/2″ over the rim of the pan and bake. If using a 9x5 pan, you will have a shorter and flatter loaf. You could try baking in a muffin pan too.
Take a look at the KAF blog post here if you would like to know how to measure your pan correctly.
You could skip the orange juice and zest and use an equal amount of water or milk, but the orange juice is supposed to help temper the tannic flavor of whole wheat. Try mixing in some chocolate chips or toasted walnuts to the dough for a variation.
First three bread pictures are from the loaf with 2 teaspoons yeast, hand beaten, dough rising way over the rim. Did I like this the best?
Below picture from the one with less yeast, mixed with hand mixer, about an hour of proofing time, dough rising to the rim.
Did not bother with pics for the 9x5 pan.
The last is from the loaf with 2 teaspoons yeast, mixed with hand mixer, dough risen to the rim in about 35 minutes.
Please note: Nothing drastically wrong happened (at least noticeably!) with the changes here I made.
If you are still reading my post, I must thank you for your patience and tell you my verdict. An easy, quick, tasty, dense, moist loaf with a tender crumb. If you do not have a bread machine, pressed for time and want to eat home made breads and 100% whole wheat ones at that, you must surely try this. If you have a bread machine and can get a loaf of whole wheat bread without kneading effort, the regular 'knead' bread, light and airy, would be the winner. Since I don't have a bread machine now, I will surely be baking this again, a savory version perhaps? Shall update the results of my experiments. And if you have baked this bread or have any tips to offer, you are most welcome to share!
I can surely say - This loaf is so easy, you can bake this whole wheat bread easily with achy arms without a bread machine and FAST!
This bread goes to Susan's Yeast Spotting.