Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sprouted Wheat Bread

This bread is a perfect example of how far you can break the rules and still end up with a really great loaf of bread. Recipes are formulas, but they're also guidelines. Never be afraid to adapt and adjust a recipe to fit your ingredients, your tastes, or you schedule.

In this case, I wanted a fresh loaf of bread for dinner, but I had a chunk of time where I was going to be away from the rising dough - and then I knew I'd need to bake soon after, or the bread wouldn't be done when dinner was served.

Spouted wheat flour was a new ingredient for me. Sprouted grains are touted as having all sorts of health benefits compared to the unsprouted grains. One source explained that it's easier to digest - more like a vegetable than a grain. The sprouted grains are also richer in certain vitamins.

But I was more interested in what it tasted like. And the texture. This bread was a little sweeter than a normal whole wheat loaf - or maybe it was just less bitter. And there was another interesting flavor that I couldn't quite pinpoint. Nutty, maybe. Or vaguely like sesame seeds. The texture wasn't quite like plain white bread, but it also wasn't as rough as a normal whole wheat loaf. Overall, I thought it was pretty darned good.

Sprouted Wheat Bread

1 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) sprouted yeast flour
1 1/2 cups (6 3/4 ounces) bread flour (divided)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine water, yeast and sugar, and set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the sprouted yeast flour and about 1 cup of the bread flour. Stir to combine, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside for 2 hours. It will rise and possibly collapse in this time.

Add the remaining bread flour and knead with the dough hook until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add the salt and olive oil and continue kneading until both are completely incorporated.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and sprinkle some cornmeal on a baking sheet.

Remove the dough from the bowl and knead briefly by hand, then shape into your preferred shape. Place it on the prepared baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside until doubled in size, about 40 minutes.

Remove the plastic wrap, slash as desired, and bake until nicely browned, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the bread cool completely on a rack before slicing.

Note: you don't have to use this unorthodox rising schedule - this is just an example of what you can do if you've got odd time constraints. Normally, I would have let the mixture sit for 20 minutes or so instead of the two hours, then finished the dough and let it rise until doubled before forming and baking.

This has been submitted to Yeastspotting.