Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hamelman's Whole Wheat Bread

It's been a while since I've posted, I know. I think I've just been a bit lazy. Also, it's been Chanuka and things have been going on around here. We had parties and some trips and COLORWAR!! and also some much needed vacation. I also got to spend some quality time with my kids in Alon Shvut. Now that Chanuka is out, the girls and I are on a long stretch of school and learning. Yesterday, I took the opportunity to to make some bread because it has been too long and I truly miss it. I'm even considering bringing my sourdough starter back to life. But that's for another time. Having bought a bag of whole wheat flour (I think it was intended for whole wheat bagels), and not used it, I decided to make a simple whole wheat loaf of some sort. My first thought was to turn to Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads, but I didnt really want a bread that would take two to three days to make. So I turned to one of my Bread favorites, Hamelman's Bread and chose to make a whole wheat loaf made with Pate Fermentee. The night before, I made a simple starter of flour, water and yeast. By the next morning, the starter had tripled in volume. Completing the dough was easy- mixing in some more flour, water, yeast, salt and honey. Because I didnt use a mixer, the pate fermentee, didnt completely incorporate, but it didnt take away from the final product at all. The dough fermented for two hours, with a fold in between. After shaping, the loaves proofed for another two hours. I preheated my stone (long time no use!) while they were proofing. I slashed my loaves with a sharp but regular kitchen knife. I learned from this that I like a smooth blade better than a serrated knife because it doesnt drag the dough and deform the bread. My chef's knife made lovely slashes that opened up beautifully in the oven. These loaves also had great oven spring (my roommate was in awe!). As soon as they were a little cool, I sliced them open to expose an even crumb. The loaf was so moist and flavorful, delicious enough to eat on its own. I was nervous that it would turn out too salty but it was really perfect. The crust was divine, as one of my girls later noted. Enjoyed the next day, they were still winners. Stay tuned for more adventures in bread. Armed with two bags of semolina flour and sesame seeds, anything can happen!

Whole Wheat Bread
from Hamelman's Bread

Pate Fermentee:
8 ounces all purpose flour or bread flour
5.2 ounces water
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp instant yeast

1 lb whole wheat flour
8 ounces all purpose flour or bread flour
1 lb .6 ounces water
2 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp yeast
1 ounce honey
Pate Fermentee
For the pate fermentee, place all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the water and stir to make a rough dough.Knead it until it becomes a uniform mass. Cover and set aside at room temperature overnight.It should look all bubbly and have tripled in volume by the next morning.The next day when you're ready to bake, place all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl,and whisk to combine.Pour the water and stir to make a shaggy dough.
Tear the pate fermentee into pieces and scatter over the top of the flour mixture.
Knead until a smooth, uniform dough is formed. Set aside to rise for two hours, giving the dough a fold once after the first hour.
Portion the dough into two,
round them and dust with flour. Set aside to proof for two hours. Towards the end of proofing, preheat your oven to 450, remembering to place the stone in it.
Slash the loaves as decoratively as you please and bake for about forty minutes or until a thermometer registers 190-200.
Remove from the oven and cool completely. Enjoy!

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