No-knead Light Whole Wheat Loaf

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So, the last 2 experiments on wet and sticky, No-knead dough yielded results that were surprisingly good. And I’ve been wanting to venture into the whole wheat space for a while now. So, this recipe from Artisan Breads in Five Minutes a Day sounded like the perfect place to start. In all my previous experiments, I’ve resorted to an overnight refrigeration of the dough. This time around, I just couldn’t wait that long. So, after the initial ferment of 2 hours at room temperatue, all I managed was 4 hours of refrigeration. Am sure if it sat in the fridge overnight, the flavor would have been a lot better. If you find parts of this recipe exactly like the earlier No-knead recipes, don’t be – it’s the same process with slightly different ingredients. 🙂

Ingredients makes 2 medium boules and this recipe can be easily halved or doubled
3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 T* Instant yeast
1 1/2 T Salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
5 1/2 C’s* maida / APF 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). Pour in the water and 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 to make some bread for dinner and had to pull it out of the fridge after 4 hours. As always, the slow ferment yields a light sour note on the nose. This is what it looked like after the 4 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. 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 14 days. It’s now time to shape the dough into a boule. With well floured 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 the dough has a smooth taut surface. I keep flouring my hands to ensure that the dough doesn’t stick. This step shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes. Here’s a link to a video that you might find helpful.

Rest the shaped dough on a parchment lined baking sheet for 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 again, as was the case with the previous no-knead doughs, I didn’t notice much of rise, but it rose beautifully in the oven. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 250C. I played with steam while baking – I just love the beautiful crust steam produces. For this, I keep a baking / broiling tray in the lowest rack while I pre-heat the oven. As soon as I start the baking process, I empty a cup of hot water onto the hot baking tray and shut the oven door. This creates steam that transfers heat into the dough quicker than dry oven air and keeps the surface of the dough moist and elastic – allowing the dough to stretch and expand.

Dust the top of the dough liberally with flour and score the surface. Here is a video that you might find helpful. 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 230C and bake about 35 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. I also pull 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.
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Turned out really really well, yet again and I must confess these recipes by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois, are absolutely fool-proof and for me, they’ve always delivered.

Cool and eat soon. What i absolutely love about these simple loaves is their crackling crust that mildly chewy and a moist airy crumb – thanks to the high hydration levels in the dough. And yes of course the mild sour note that lurks around never ever threatening to overpower.

T = Tablespoon, C = Cup.

Recipe source Artisan Breads in Five Minutes a Day

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