No-knead Whole Wheat Loaf – Hundred Percent WW

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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.

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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. 2014-09-14 17.50.41 e

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. 🙂

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Recipe source Artisan Breads in Five Minutes a Day

9 thoughts on “No-knead Whole Wheat Loaf – Hundred Percent WW

    1. Thanks Rujavi. Use 25% more quantity of active dry yeast. Also, you’ll have to ‘proof’ the yeast – that is dissolve the yeast in some tepid water (not hot) with a little sugar and wait for 5 minutes by which time the yeast solution should get foamy. Just mix this with the rest of the ingredients and you’re ready to go. 🙂

  1. Hi..absolutely love your breads and recipes. Last time I prepared it, I was organized in the sense that all my ingredients were in place and the bread turned out perfect but this time I realised my honey is over. So I used sugar instead.. The bread is still fermenting so I’m not sure how it’s going to turn out. Also, I felt my dough is quite hard this time.. This confused me since this is my second bread and I’m far from being a good cook. Could you pls tell why all this happened?

    1. Hi Neharika,

      Thanks for the kind words. Honey adds to the hydration (liquid level) of the dough and when you replace te honey with sugar, you’re effectively reducing the hydration level and that could be the reason why your dough turned out stiff. Also, in my experience, a bread recipe is merely a framework of sorts and you have to go by the look and feel of the dough. The more you play with dough, the more you’ll learn to trust your senses, rather than a recipe. Incidentally, how was the bread you baked?

      1. It was gorgeous to look at and unbelievably tasty.. I am a regular now, I’ve been making dinner rolls out of the dough, have stuffed them with keema, veggies and even eggplant. My father in law and I are totally in love with this bread. Also, I have been using tablespoon for the T mentioned above, however on Garima’s blog (She has adapted your recipe she has written) she has used teaspoon of ingredients like oil and yeast. So I just thought I’ll ask you.

        1. Happy for you Neharika. The T in my recipe stands for Tablespoon and perhaps Garima has modified the quantity? Maybe you can try one batch with my proportions and one with her’s and then decide which one you prefer? Happy baking.

  2. Hi,

    The bread looks lovely…and i finally settled on this recipe to try for a WW bread. I love baking bread, but have an aversion to APF. So hopefully i get to try this over the weekend. What i wanted to check was, how can i incorporate some pesto or spinach in this recipe to get some flavoured bread. Any suggestions? Thank you

    1. Hi Nishal,

      Spinach can be wilted and added to the dough while kneading. Pesto – I would recommend that after the first rise, you flatten the dough and spread the pesto all over, leaving about an inch uncovered at the edges. You could then roll the dough (like a Swiss roll), tuck in the edges to the bottom and leave it to proof in a bread pan. Let me know how your experiments fared? Good luck.

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