Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Light wheat bread

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This bread is one of my favorites for a few reasons. It's delicious, of course, but also I find that my favorite wheat breads require a soaker or pre-ferment to be made the day prior and I usually don't think ahead enough to make that! This one fits the bill nicely in that it can be made on whim. It is soft, great for sandwiches especially, but it also has that nutty wheat taste that I love.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 Cups unbleached bread flour
1 1/2 Cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/ T granulated sugar or honey (I prefer honey)
1 1/2 t. salt
3T powdered milk
1 1/2 t. instant yeast
2T shortening or unsalted butter, at room temp.
1 1/4 Cup water, room temp

Directions:

Mix together both flours, sugar (but not the honey yet), salt, powdered milk and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the shortening/butter, honey and water. Blend on low speed until the mixture forms a ball.  If needed, add a few extra drops of water to pick up any flour lingering in the bowl. The dough should be soft.

Dust a counter top with either bread flour or wheat flour and knead dough (I use the mixer still w/the dough hook for most of this) until dough is slightly tack but not sticky. Add more flour if needed. (I always need to). Knead for about 10 minutes.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Ferment at room temp for 1 1/2- 2 hours or until the dough is double it's size.

Fold the dough into a loaf shape and place in a lightly oiled loaf pan. Mist the top lightly with oil and cover with plastic wrap.

Proof at room temperature for about 90 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Place the loaf pan on a sheet pan and bake for 30 minutes, then rotate the pan 180° and continue baking for an additional 15-30 minutes. The loaf will be golden brown on the top and sides.

Remove from the pan and let cool.

Source: The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart , pages 181-182

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