The Oven has baked its last loaf. This blog is no longer being updated.

My cooking videos appear at

I write on food at

99.8% whole wheat bread

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Whole wheat bread is hard to swallow. Literally. 
I include wholemeal flour in a lot of breads that I bake, but I am not kidding anyone by calling it whole wheat bread.
Most loaves in the shops are not 100% whole wheat either. In Malaysia, where bread isn't a staple, those kinds of loaves aren't popular. Mr Don Yong, the chairman of the Malaysian Institute of Baking, told me in a recent interview that while awareness of the health benefits of whole grains is rising, most people still prefer soft, sweet breads made with white flour and containing more sugar (or corn syrup) than necessary. And so, the so-called commercial "wholemeal breads" made here constitute mostly white flour.
Real or artisan whole wheat bread can also taste bitter and unless I slather toasted slices of it with butter, it isn't palatable.
So I've been reading up on whole-grain breads and how to make them taste better for me. I've come close with this loaf. It would have been closer if I hadn't burnt the top, but apart from that, this bread appeals to me.
Proof dough to double its size
My research told me I should include these two ingredients in the dough:
1. Orange juice ~ to counter the bitter taste of whole wheat flour.
2. Wheat gluten ~ to help form a stronger, more elastic dough which creates a lighter loaf with larger air pockets. A little extra water should be added to the dough when wheat gluten is used.
This is still a dense bread -- with this much bran, there's no getting away from that. The loaf I made had quite a tight crumb, but it was not a brick. Sometimes, the bottom of a wholemeal loaf has a thick mass of undercooked dough, but this time, the crumb was quite even.
I would say this is the lightest almost 100% whole wheat bread I have made. 
The reason I call this a 99.8% whole wheat is due to the fact that I used plain flour during the hand-kneading and to dust the work surface. It was only three tablespoons, but it should still be included in the baker's percentage.
Slice 'em thick
Almost 100% Whole Wheat Bread
Makes 1 large loaf. With some instructions from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day.

400g whole wheat flour
3 tbsp full-fat milk powder
1 tbsp wheat gluten (see note below)
1 tsp salt
1 egg yolk, beaten
2 tbsp vegetable oil
220g water
65g orange juice
2 tbsp honey
7g instant yeast
Unbleached plain flour
Egg white, optional, for glaze

In a mixing bowl, whisk the flour, milk powder, wheat gluten and salt together.
Combine egg yolk and vegetable oil.
Combine water, orange juice and honey. Stir in yeast and leave to bloom, about 10 minutes.
Add orange juice to the water mixture and add to the dry ingredients together with the egg yolk mixture. Incorporate all the ingredients well to form a wet and shaggy dough. Leave for 5 minutes.
This next step can be done in a mixer with the dough hook attachment. Alternatively, mix by hand using a large wooden spoon or dough whisk. If the dough is still too wet, add plain flour, a tablespoon at a time. The dough will still be sticky but should come away from the sides of the bowl (I added a little less than 3 tablespoons extra flour at this stage).
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface (dusted with plain flour). Knead for a few seconds and form into a ball. Cover with the mixing bowl and leave for 10 minutes.
Gently flatten the dough with the tips of the fingers and do a stretch and fold: Reach under the front end of the dough stretching it out, then folding it back onto the top of the dough. Do this from the back, then from both sides. Flip the dough over and tuck it into a ball. Cover again with the mixing bowl and leave for another 10 minutes.
Repeat this process two more times at 10-minute intervals. Place dough ball into a plastic container or large lightly oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel. Set aside to double in size. At this stage, the dough can be refrigerated (place the container in a large plastic bag if doing this) overnight or up to four days. If the dough is refrigerated, remove from the fridge 3 hours before baking time.
Grease and flour an 11cm by 20cm loaf tin or line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and deflate with finger tips. Form the dough into a loaf shape and place in/on the prepared pans to increase to about 1½ times its original size.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Brush the top with egg white, if desired. For the free-standing loaf, slash the top of the dough. Bake for 40-50 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the bread is a rich brown and it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. The internal temperature will be above 85°C in the centre.
Remove loaf from the pan and cool completely.
Note: Wheat gluten is optional. If it is omitted, reduce water by about 2 tbsp.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your views are welcome and appreciated. Have a nice day!