Every now and then, when the ‘bread’ of my labor has been gratifying, I’ve been seduced into believing that I’m ready for whole wheat loaves. And every time, I’ve ventured into the 100% WW space, I’ve had the carpet pulled from under my feet and have rushed back into the APF space – a space that’s a whole lot more forgiving. The success from the slow ferment, no-knead loaves made me feel confident and I knew deep down – my time had arrived. It was time to spread my wings and fly. And while there were some trying minutes that diverted my attention and led to the dough over-proofing, I was very happy with the result. Here’s what you’ll need to do if you want to make this at your end:
Ingredients makes 2 large boules and this recipe can be easily halved or doubled
1 1/2 C’s* lukewarm water
1 1/2 C’s lukewarm milk
1 1/2 T* Instant yeast
1 1/2 T Salt
1/2 cup honey
5 T neutral-flavored vegetable oil I used Sunflower oil
6 2/3 C’s Whole Wheat flour measured with the scoop and sweep method (essentially not packed tight)
Mix the flours, salt and yeast together and transfer into a food grade plastic, lidded container (not airtight). In a separate container, mix the liquids. Mix the liquid-mix and the flour-mix with a wooden spoon till all of the flour is wet and you don’t have any dry patches in the dough. This is a no-knead recipe, so kneading isn’t required. You should be done with this step in about 5 minutes and what you’ll end up with is a dough that’s wet, gloppy and conforms to the shape of the container. Cover the container and let it rise for about 2 hours. The dough is now ready to use but I would strongly recommend that you refrigerate the dough overnight. I had once again forgotten to make the dough the night before and therefore had to pull it out of the fridge after 5 hours. As always, the slow ferment yields a light sour note on the nose. This is what it looked like after the 5 hour slow ferment in the fridge.
Start by preparing the surface where you’ll be shaping the dough, by flouring it well with semolina. I used the entire dough as I wanted to experiment with a large loaf, but you can use a wet silicon spatula and divide the dough into 2 pieces. The dough is of a very sticky consistency, so use the spatula to pry it off the edges of the container and drop it onto the floured surface. If you had chosen to bake in 2 batches, stash the remaining dough in the fridge up to 5 days. It’s now time to shape the dough into a boule. This time around, I tried shaping the dough with wet hands and it worked well. A small container, close by, with water helps. With wet hands, hold the dough in one hand and gently stretch the sides of the dough towards the bottom with the other hand. Now, rotate the dough by a quarter and stretch the surface towards the bottom again. Repeat this till you’ve covered 4 quarter turns. I keep wetting my hands to ensure that the dough doesn’t stick. This step shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes.
This is what it looked like when I dropped the shaped dough to proof.
Rest the shaped dough on a parchment lined baking sheet for 1 hour and 40 minutes. I always dust the parchment paper with semolina as it helps the bread come off easily after the baking process. The authors of this recipe, don’t ask for the dough to be covered and unlike the case with the previous no-knead doughs, I did notice some uneven rise – and that could be due to the high hydration levels in the dough. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 250C.
Dust the top of the dough liberally with flour and score the surface. Place the parchment lined, scored dough in the middle rack. Pour the hot water onto the hot baking tray at the bottom and shut the oven door. Turn down the temperature to 180C and bake about 50 to 60 minutes or till the crust has browned beautifully and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. After the first 15 minutes of baking, I pull the water tray out quickly, so that the bottom of the loaf gets done evenly. Halfway through the baking time (25 minutes) I pulled out the baking sheet / tray and turn it 180 degrees – as I’ve found my oven doesn’t heat uniformly.
Here are some more pictures of the loaf as I pulled it out of the oven. As soon as it cooled and I had finished taking these pictures, we let ourselves loose. The crust crackled out aloud every time I sliced the loaf or whenever someone bit into it. And the crumb was moist. I loved the mild sour tones and the rich nutty and caramelized flavor of wheat with just a hint of honey lurking somewhere on the tongue. I rubbed some fresh garlic on the crumb and brushed some seasoned EVO oil. Bliss. 🙂
Recipe source Artisan Breads in Five Minutes a Day