Wednesday, July 30, 2008

50% Whole Wheat Bread

My weekly bread comes from Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads, the latest addition to my growing baking book collection. In Israel, there is certainly no shortage of good bread but it's just not the same as making your own and it's an excellent way to be on top of eating lots of genuine whole grains. The intoxicating smell of bread wafting from the kitchen down the long corridor is certainly reward enough.

I made the soaker and biga the night before and took them out the next morning to bake with, using less salt in the biga and finished dough than called for (having made a really salty whole wheat bread from the same book the week before--lesson learned!)

I found the two doughs a little difficult to incorporate- and it was pretty obvious, the soaker was brown and the biga is white. In the end it came together well and the assembly was pretty smooth from there. (Although, I did notice some white streaks in the finished loaf.)
The rising went really quickly. In this disgustingly intense Israeli heat, there's no reason it shouldn't have. I shaped the dough into a sandwich loaf and set it aside to proof.
Before I knew it, seriously, not fifteen minutes (only a slight exaggeration there) it had risen above the pan.
I baked it until a thermometer registered around 190.
The crumb was really nice and tight the crust was nice and well...crusty, with great whole wheat flavor and light,even fluffy, texture. Not too overwhelmingly whole wheaty... Just perfect!
This is a loaf that I will certainly come back to.. I'm not sure though that it beats King Arthur Flour's 100% whole wheat loaf from the Baker's Companion (they aren't truly comparable: one is half whole wheat, the other 100% percent, but then what does that say about King Arthur Flour?!) but I sure enjoyed the experiment.

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