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When I remove it from the oven, I'm pleased to see it's taller than the first loaf, but I'm not happy with the texture, despite my efforts — although edible, it's still indisputably heavy. It's time to try a more traditional technique, as outlined in my trusty Leiths baking Bible.

Need to knead?

After stirring the flour, yeast, salt and sugar together with water, I turn the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead in the time-honoured fashion for about 10 minutes, until it feels silky and elastic. It rests in an oiled bowl until doubled in size and then I'm finally allowed to 'knock-back' the dough — ie sock it a hefty punch — before tipping it on to the work surface for a brief final pummelling.

Into the tin it goes to prove, and when it's doubled in size, it's ready to cook. This is the best risen of the loaves so far, but texture-wise, although it's less heavy than my Bertinet-method bread, I'm still not satisfied. I'm beginning to wonder whether this could be more to do with the ingredients than the method. Finally there's the Dan Lepard technique, as put forward on this very website. Dan explodes the idea that kneading helps to 'develop the gluten' and give a lighter texture:. So you can knead the dough fast, slow, or even not at all, and end up with similar results.

He favours dough kneaded "briefly and intermittently" after a 10 minute pause to allow the flour to absorb the water: three 10 second kneads at 10 minute intervals, followed by 15 minutes rest, after which the dough is flattened into a rectangle, rolled up tightly, and placed, seam-side down in an oiled and floured loaf tin until it has doubled in size, and then baked at C for the first 20 minutes, and then C for a further I heave a sigh of relief when I eventually cut into it: finally, I have myself a winner.

This loaf boasts a good, chewy crust, and a fine, relatively dry crumb. If it wasn't my fifth of the morning, I'd have seconds. With my method in place, it's time to take a look at the ingredients. Although basic bread recipes tend to be fairly standard — flour, yeast and water, with sugar acting as extra food for the yeast, and salt as seasoning — there are some variations which might help me make a lighter loaf.

One is fat: not an essential, but often included to give a 'finer texture'. I pour in 50g of melted butter to my mixture after adding the water. The resulting bread seems to have a moister texture, without the slightly gummy heaviness of some of the previous loaves, and a richer, fuller flavour. Butter is in. Dan Lepard, meanwhile, has another secret weapon up his floury sleeve: vitamin C, which apparently counteracts the glutathione which is responsible for wholemeal bread's heavier texture.

Half a mg tablet, crushed to a powder and added along with the yeast, is apparently sufficient to stop the pesky chemical in its tracks. It proves well-nigh impossible to find vitamin tablets that don't taste like children's sweets in my local area, so I plump for lemon flavour, on the basis that I've got some smoked salmon in the fridge crying out to be made into an open sandwich, and hope for the best.

Thankfully it's undetectable in the end result, which has a nice open structure, and a near fluffy texture. Added vitamins also get the thumbs up. The last approach is to dilute the wholemeal flour with strong white flour: Leiths suggest a ratio, which seems a bit like cheating, so I opt for Darina Allen's more restrained mix. When I cut into the finished loaf, it has significantly larger air bubbles, and a lovely chewy crust. Conclusion: Margaret Costa's recipe is one I would certainly make again if I was short of time — it's marvellously quick, and very palatable.

Although my perfect recipe takes a little longer, there's actually very little work involved, and it's all very easy indeed; far simpler, in fact, than trying to remember where you left the manual for the breadmaker. Tip the flours, yeast, vitamin powder, salt and sugar into a bowl and mix well. Add ml water, and stir in well, then pour in the butter and work in well.

You should have a soft, sticky dough: if not, add a little more water. Cover and leave for 10 minutes. Tip out on to a lightly oiled work surface and knead for 10 seconds, then put back in the bowl and cover. Repeat twice more at intervals of 10 minutes, then leave the dough to rest for 15 minutes. Flatten the dough into a rough rectangle about the length of your baking tin, then roll up tightly, and put into a greased tin, with the join facing downwards. Pre-heat the oven to C.

Then I chopped the sponge up into a dozen or so little pieces with a knife and mixed them into the dry ingredients. Finally I added the water and mixed everything together, adjusting the flour or water until the dough formed a nice ball of dough that was soft and tacky but was not too sticky. I poured the dough onto a floured surface and kneaded it for approximately 10 minutes. Then I put the dough back into a greased bowl and allowed it to rise for approximately 90 minutes. I then shaped the loaf and allowed it to rise for another 90 minutes. A note about these rise times: they are not exact.

In reality, much was going on during the day, including a trip to the store and another trip to the playground, so no one was closely monitoring the clock. It seems to the uninitiated that making bread is a long and complicated process because the overall time it takes can be a day or more, but understand that it's really only about 20 minutes of work spread out over the entire day.

It is easy enough to accommodate if you are going to be near the house all day. When the oven was hot and the bread looked risen, I put the bread into the oven on the top shelf and quickly pour a cup of hot water into the pan on the bottom shelf and closed the door. After about minutes, I reduced the temperature from to degrees, figuring that the loaf was done springing and would bake more evenly at a lower temperature. I baked it for 20 minutes, then rotated the loaf and bake until done. This loaf took about 45 minutes, but time is dependent on the shape of the loaf. I used an instant-read thermometer.

Classic % Whole Wheat Bread | King Arthur Flour

When the loaf hit degrees inside, I pulled it out. Aftermath Comparing this loaf on the right to my bread from lesson one on the left , I definitely noticed that this one had a nicer crust - it even crackled when I took it out of the oven and set it out to cool. It seems to me that it had a richer flavor, which was in part the whole wheat flour and partially the longer, slower rises and overnight fermentation.

A criticism of both of these loaves is that, although they are decently raised, neither one has the big irregular holes that you strive for in a rustic loaf. I think there are a couple of reasons for this.

How to bake wholemeal bread

One likely reason is that I handle the loaves fairly roughly when shaping them: I suspect I am squeezing out too much of the air at that stage and rolling my loaves too tight. I also suspect I am underhydrating my dough. A moister, slacker dough should have an easier time forming large pockets. Underkneading or baking before my dough is fully risen could also have been contributing factors. As I have mentioned before, getting started baking is extremely easy, but mastering baking takes a lifetime.

One shouldn't be intimidated by this: the majority of your experiments still end up quite edible. The path to perfection is tasty, indeed! That crust looks beautiful and gives me hope that one day I can master the crust for German brotchen one of my ultimate bread dreams. Hey nice website! I have a big honking rock oven I built inside my house for heating purposes, but found out it works GREAT for baking bread.

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I am still a novice at it. This is the recipe I used.

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It didn't really turn out as I remembered them, partly because I was terrible at making crust until about 2 weeks ago and partly because there's a lot of regional variation in Brotchen.. But it's worth a shot! Pour yeast, sugar, and two tablespoons of warm water the water comes from the 1 cup listed above in the well. Mix yeast, sugar and water carefully within the well. Do not mix with the flour at this time. Cover the bowl with a cloth and set it in a warm place for 15 minutes.

Add the remaining water and oil and beat until mixed. Turn out on counter top and knead until smooth. Put dough in a bowl, cover, and let it rise until double in size. Punch down and divide the dough into 12 parts. Shape into oval rolls and place 3 inches apart on a greased and floured cookie sheet. Cover and let rise until double in size. Beat egg white and 1 teaspoon water with a fork until frothy and brush on the rolls. Bake in a preheated oven at for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. So far I've been baking variations of a simple French bread recipe in my rock oven. As this topic describes, it seems that technique time and temp is just as if not more critical than ingredients for mastering the art of baking.

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But as I learn the ropes I plan to try more complicated recipes. So far the simple French bread with whole wheat and rye variations have turned out so good that I have been quite satisfied. Reading this topic again, I think I'll add some kind of steam injection into my rock oven, altho the crust of my bread has been turning out nice and crunchy Keeping a pan of boiling water under the baking rack is a great tip.

Just had to comment and tell you that your website is awesome! I'm definitely inspired to bake some more bread :D. Very nice, Floyd.

Nice to have another lesson. I appreciate the literary value as well.