Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Whole wheat no-knead bread

My original plan was to bake one loaf of whole wheat no-knead bread on Saturday, but the events of the day interfered. Railroad work in the morning, study for Bible class and a visit with Debbie's parents precluded any bread baking. It was late in the day by the time I would've baked the loaf.

Saturday demonstrated the flexibility of any bread that's fermented under refrigeration. The dough tolerates interruptions. It accepts adjustments to your schedule and lets you bake the bread when you're ready.

I baked a 20-ounce boule of the bread Sunday evening. While it tasted like a good loaf of whole wheat bread, the loaf didn't have the complete flavor I was looking for. I'm looking for the characteristic crust and crumb of artisan bread.

I began with a 50-50 mixture of whole wheat and bread flours. Next time I plan to adjust the formula to 70 percent (by weight) of bread flour and 30 percent whole wheat flour. I may add honey to sweeten the loaf a bit. At some point walnuts or wheat berries may be a good addition to the formula.

My next step will be to try my cousin's sourdough starter. He sells it at My Sourdough Starters. You can purchase the starter or just read his insight. (Yes, this is a shameless plug for a relative!)

I baked the remaining two loaves of whole wheat no-knead bread yesterday. Each time the bread shows improvement. Patience is required when proofing refrigerator-proofed loaves. Since the dough comes out of the refrigerator at around 40 degrees, it currently requires about  2-1/2 to 3 hours to proof in my house, which is hovering around 65 to 70 degrees right now. Leave the loaves in the oven a few extra minutes so the crust has time to completely brown and develop its crusty, chewy texture.
I baked a loaf of whole wheat no-knead on Sunday. After a three-day ferment in the refrigerator, I gently shaped a 20-ounce piece of dough into a boule, or ball-shaped loaf. The load proofed on a piece of parchment paper dusted with cornmeal for a little over two hours. Following my recipe for no-knead bread, I baked it inside a cast iron Dutch oven in a 450-degree oven, lid on for the first 20 minutes. It took an additional 15 minutes to develop the nice crust on the boule. The parchment paper lets me gently lower the loaf into the Dutch oven without deflating.
Last Thursday, I combined two flours, water, kosher salt and instant yeast in a six-quart lidded plastic tub. Pillsbury's Better for Bread made up 50 percent of the flour by weight. The remaining 50 percent was King Aurthur organic whole wheat flour. After a thorough mix by hand, I left the dough to ferment on the counter for about three hours. I then set it inside the refrigerator. The slow ferment at cool temperatures favors alcohol and acid production in the dough. These are the elements that give artisan bread its great flavor.

1 comment:

  1. Hey there Shameless Cuz! Thanks for the plug and your bread looks fantastic. No Knead is something I want to try myself. I've got the Tartine Bread book and hopefully I get a chance to do something. I have a new post I'll be putting up tomorrow where I use my Tara starter and make two normal loaves of wheat bread in pans. They turned out fantastic.