Not just any old bread, though. This might be the winner of the Hatchet Seal of Approval for whole wheat bread, done in the AB5M method (Yes, I'm still loving it! We haven't bought any bread for two months now.). The existing whole wheat recipes in the book kept coming out flat for me, so I started surfing the AB5M website for advice and found a really long thread about whole wheat and the amazing power of vital wheat gluten. A poster there suggested most of the recipe below, I took some water out, pumped up the vital wheat gluten and added the sweetener. It was clear to me that Eric wasn't going to go for whole wheat bread that wasn't at least a little sweet and the other WW recipes lacked what he was looking for in his bread. Are you ready? Of course you're ready!
High altitude whole wheat bread
3 cups water (scant) warmed to 100 degrees F. (or leave it room temp, whatever makes you happy)
1/3 c barley malt syrup (You can get some at Vitamin Cottage or Whole Foods. I had a jar leftover from the bagel trials and tried it in the bread. YUM!)
1 tbsp yeast
1 tbsp kosher salt
3 tbsp vital wheat gluten (Vitamin Cottage or Whole Foods again. In bulk! Woo!)
4 c whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups high gluten white flour (VC or WF again. Look in the refrigerator in VC. Once you have this flour and the barley malt syrup, you can also make the bagels I made in this post!)
- Toss the yeast and salt into your bucket/bowl/Kitchenaid Mixer.
- Add liquids, stirring to dissolve barley malt syrup.
- Mix your flours together in a separate bowl so that they are nicely mixed together, along with the VWG and then add them to the liquid mixture.
- Cover loosely in your bucket/bowl/rising bread container and allow to rise on the counter for 2 hours.
- Toss in fridge as usual or lop off a 1 lb hunk to cook now.
- Form into a free form boule or an oval to rise in a loaf pan (I recommend 2 lbs for a loaf pan) and allow to rise 40 minutes (unrefrigerated dough) or 1.5 hours (cold dough).
- Preheat oven to about 400 to 425 degrees, with stone, if using. Bake for about 45 minutes or until you think it's done. Me? I jab it with my Thermapen to check its temperature, aiming for 200 degrees. (I must admit that I'm usually impatient and pull it when the bread is around 195 degrees, but the bread starts getting really brown at that point and I don't want it burnt!) I'm wacky that way.
- Allow to cool fully (Hardest part!) and then serve.
If you're curious like me, reading the comments in the bread blog was fascinating and illuminating. I learned all about how vital wheat gluten works and how it's used to give lift to breads that have lots of whole grains in them. As an additional benefit, it adds more protein to your bread? What's not to love? Well...so long as you're not allergic, that is. There's a good definition of it here, although you'll need to scroll down.
This one's for you, Yvonne!