Morning toast should not feel like penance, and of all the whole wheat breads I've made, this may be my favorite. It might be the inclusion of sesame seeds that tips the balance, but the bread itself has a nice texture - soft but not gummy or crumbly, with enough body to make it feel substantial. It has a pleasant wheaty flavor with none of the bitterness that sometimes creeps into baked goods made from whole wheat.
The downside of this bread is that it needs to be planned in advance, since the whole wheat flour gets an overnight soak in water, but there's little work involved in that.
The whole wheat flour I used weighed a bit less than bread flour per cup, probably because of the fluffy bran. I measured it by stirring the flour then spooning it into the cup and leveling it off. By that method it weighed 4 1/4 ounces per cup.
Whole wheat flour absorbs a lot more water than white flour, and whole wheat flours are not as consistent as bread or all purpose flours, so you might need to adjust the amount of flour or water in the final dough to compensate.
Seedy Whole Wheat Bread
1 1/4 cups water, divided
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon brown sugar
3 3/8 ounces (3/4 cup) bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter
1/8 cup (2 tablespoons) toasted sesame seeds
The night before you want to bake, combine the whole wheat flour and 1 cup of water in the bowl of your stand mixer. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap while it rests.
The next day, combine the remaining 1/4 cup of water, yeast, and brown sugar and set aside for 10 minutes until it is foamy.
Add yeast mixture to the mixture in the stand mixer bowl, along with the bread flour. Knead with the dough hook until the dough is elastic. Add the butter, salt, and sesame seeds and continue kneading until it is all fully incorporated.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled, about 50 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and sprinkle some cornmeal on a baking sheet.
Flour your work surface and turn the dough out. Knead it briefly, then form it into your desired shape. Place it on the baking sheet seam-side down and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside to rise until doubled, about 25 minutes.
Remove the plastic wrap, slash as desired, and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, until browned. Cool completely on a rack before slicing.
This was published on Serious Eats and has been submitted to Yeastspotting.