Tuesday, September 18, 2012

TWD: Baking with Julia -- Whole Wheat Loaves


Yeah for me! I get to be the co-host for these golden loaves of deliciousness. The recipe is from Baking with Julia and it is on pages 83-84.

This is a wonderful wheat bread recipe. The bread comes out of the oven with a crackly crust and an ethereal interior. It's much better than store bought loaves of wheat bread which tend to be dense and heavy. This bread is sturdy, but oh so light.

The recipe is pretty straightforward and I didn't run into any difficulties. I added about 3/4 cup less flour than called for because I didn't want my dough to get too dry. I suggest holding back on some of the flour just to make sure that the dough can take it all. You want your dough to be just a bit sticky.

I had malt on hand, but no worries if you don't, just use molasses instead. The malt helps whole grain breads rise since they tend to be heavier doughs. I substituted maple syrup for the honey and oil for the butter to keep the recipe vegan.

The bread makes for some delicious eating and though it is light, it's sturdy enough for toast and sandwiches. We ate it the first day with a chickpea stew and it was perfect for sopping up the sauce. This bread freezes really well and once defrosted tastes as good as if it were fresh baked.

If you've hesitated making whole grain bread, try this recipe. It's not difficult to follow and the results are spectacular. This is definitely a bread I plan to make again and again.

Whole Wheat Loaves
2 1/4 cups warm water (105 F to 115 F)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup honey (I used maple syrup)
3 1/2 to 3 2/3 bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon malt extract (or you can use molasses)
1 tablespoon salt
Butter for the pans (I used oil)

Mixing and Kneading
Pour 1/2 cup of the water into the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with a dough hook and add the yeast and honey. Whisk to blend and allow the mixture to rest until the yeast is creamy, about 5 minutes.

Combine 3 1/2 cups of the bread flour and the whole wheat flour and keep close at hand.

Working in the mixer with the dough hook in place, add the remaining 1 3/4 cups water, the oil, the malt extract, and about half of the flour mixture to the yeast. Turn the mixer on and off a few times just to get the dough going without having the flour fly all over the counter and then, mixing on low speed, add the rest of the combined flours. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat, stopping to scrape down the bowl and hook as needed, until the dough comes together. (If the dough does not come together, add up to 2 tablespoons more white flour.) Add the salt and continue to beat and knead at medium speed for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. If you prefer, you can mix the dough in the machine for half that time and knead it by hand on a lightly floured surface for 8 to 10 minutes. As with many whole wheat doughs, this one will be a tad sticky even after proper and sufficient kneading.

First Rise
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape it into a ball. Place it in a large buttered or oiled bowl (one big enough to hold double the amount of dough.) Turn the dough around to cover its entire surface with butter or oil, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and let the dough rest at room temperature until it doubles in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

Shaping the Dough
Butter two 8 1/2- by 4 1/2- loaf pans and set them aside.

Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough in half and, using the palms of your hands and fingertips, or a rolling pin, pat each half into a large rectangle about 9 inches wide and 12 inches long, with the short side facing you. Starting at the top, fold the dough about two thirds of the way down the rectangle, then fold again so that the top edge meets the bottom edge; seal the seam by pinching it. Turn each roll so that the seam is in the center of the roll, facing up, and turn the ends of each roll in just enough so that the rolls fit in the loaf pans. Pinch these seams to seal, turn the loaves over so that the seams are on the bottom, and plump the loaves with your palms to get an even shape.

Second Rise
Drop the loaves into the buttered pans, seam side down, cover with oiled plastic wrap, and allow them to rise at room temperature until they are double in size again, growing over the tops of the pans, about 1 hour.

While the breads rise, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375F.

Baking the Bread
When the breads are fully risen (poke your finger into a bread; the impression should remain), bake for about 35 minutes, or until they are golden and an instant-read thermometer plunged into the center of the bread (turn a loaf out and plunge the thermometer through the bottom of the bread) measures 200F. (If you like, 10 minutes or so before you think the loaves should come out, you can turn the loaves out of their pans and let them bake on the oven rack so they brown on the sides.) Remove the loaves from their pans as soon as they come from the oven and cool the breads on racks. These should not be cut until they are almost completely cool.

Once completely cool, the breads can be kept in a brown paper bag for a day or two. Once a loaf is sliced, turn it cut side down on the counter or a cutting board and cover with a kitchen towel. For longer storage, wrap the breads airtight and freeze for up to a month. Thaw, still wrapped, at room temperature.

Please visit my co-host Teresa to see her gorgeous loaves of bread.


  1. Wonderful loaves, tall and golden! Thanks for hosting today!

  2. I love the colour of your bread - ours came out much lighter. Your vegan version sounds great - maple syrup would add a nice flavour to this, just as honey does.

    We were happy to co-host with your this week! :)

  3. Your loaves look great! The crumb is perfect. This is definitely a repeat in my house, too. Such a simple yet delicious recipe.

    Thanks for hosting this week!!

  4. I can tell you are a fan of King Arthur! I love the photo of your slices. You can see that it's nice and light with all the tiny air pockets. Nice job! And thanks for hosting this week.

  5. Your bread looks beautiful. It is a recipe that begs to be mastered--well done!

  6. thank you for hosting Michele! I love the idea of substituting maple syrup for honey- I used maple syrup in place of the malt extract. I will have to try it since I am making these again. I love a recipe that turns out exactly as it should! Yours look great and yummy.

  7. Thanks for hosting! Yours turnd out great!

  8. I'm sad I didn't have any malt extract to try it with. Yours looks wonderful! Thanks for hosting.

  9. I wish I had the malt extract ..but my bread turned out yummy with out it! Thank you for hosting and for the wonderful yummy choice!! My family ate all the bread in two days!!

  10. Wonderful loaves! Thanks for hosting!

  11. Great tips about substitutions. Thanks for hosting!

  12. Thanks for hosting! It was such a fun recipe. Your bread looks great!

  13. What a beautiful post. The perfect loaf of bread. Thanks for hosting this week.

  14. Such lovely loaves! THanks for hosting this week.

  15. Thanks for hosting! Loves this recipe!

  16. A very informative post with some good tips- the perfect hostess & your bread looks scrumptious!

  17. You achieved a really nice crumb. Nice looking loaves!

  18. Your bread looks so wonderful! This was a great recipe that I look forward to making again.

  19. Such a great recipe! Thanks for hosting

  20. those are some great looking loaves. Thanks for hosting!

  21. Thanks for hosting! Beautiful loaves:)

  22. these came out beautifully-- thanks for hosting.