Whole (Wheat) Lotta Love

Great Led Zeppelin song – Whole Lotta Love

You may have noticed that I’ve been on a no-knead bread kick lately. Kneading dough isn’t a problem. My Kitchen-aide stand mixer and dough hook are very happy to knead the dough for me. What’s nice about this bread, aside from flavor, crumb, crust and appearance, is that it takes less that 10 minutes to mix the dough in the evening. It then ferments overnight, building all that great texture-generating gluten. In the morning simply form the dough into a ball and let it rest for an hour as the oven and Dutch Oven are heating, then bake for 30-45 minutes.

I found this recipe for a whole wheat no-knead bread a week ago and have made several loaves, giving most to friends, neighbors and family. I made two loaves today, one without seeds for my granddaughters, and one with for Fran and me. I use King Arthur’s Artisan Bread Topping which is a mixture of many seed varieties.

Made in a Dutch Oven, this bread has a great crust and excellent crumb and flavor. I find comments from each loaf, delivered while still warm, typically are, “You really outdid yourself with this loaf. It’s the best ever!” There is a feeling of satisfaction when, in these times, you are able to provide a simple, sensory respite for someone.

No-Knead Whole Wheat Bread

INGREDIENTS

• 300 grams (2 1/4 cups) bread flour, plus more for the work surface
• 100 grams (3/4 cup) whole-wheat flour
• 1 1/4 teaspoons salt (table)
• 1/2 teaspoon dried instant yeast
• 300 grams (1 1/3 cups) cool water (55 to 65 degrees)
• Wheat bran or cornmeal, for dusting (may use additional flour)

METHOD

  1. Stir together the flours, salt and yeast in a medium bowl. Add the water; use a wooden spoon or your hands to mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl and let the mixture sit at room temperature until its surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough has more than doubled in size, 12 to 18 hours.
  2. Generously dust a sheet of parchment paper with flour. Use a rubber spatula or lightly floured hands to scrape the dough onto the parchment paper in one piece. Use your lightly floured hands to lift the edges of the dough up and in toward the center. Gently pinch the pulled-up dough together, cupping the edges in your hands as needed to nudge it into a round (don’t worry about making it a perfect circle.)
  3. If the dough feels sticky, dust the top lightly with more wheat bran, cornmeal or flour. Place the plastic wrap used to cover the bowl of dough loosely over the dough. Place the dough in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when it has almost doubled in size. When you gently poke the dough with your finger, it should hold the impression. If it springs back, let it rise for an additional 15 minutes.
  4. About half an hour before you think the second rise is complete, position a rack in the lower third of the oven and place a 4 1/2- to 5 1/2-quart heavy Dutch oven or pot with a lid in the center of the rack. Preheat to 475 degrees.
  5. Use pot holders to carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven, then lift off the lid.
  6. Uncover the dough. Quickly, but gently slit the top with a lame or sharp knife. If you are going to add seeds, spray the loaf with a light coating of water and sprinkle the seeds over the top. Pick up the four corners of the parchment paper and place into the pot. (Use caution — the pot and lid will be very hot.) Cover with the lid; bake (lower rack) for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove the lid; continue baking until the loaf is a deep chestnut color but not burned, 15 to 30 minutes more. (If you are like me and want a more precise measure, the bread is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the bread registers 200 to 210 degrees. I use the thermometer on every loaf.) Use the parchment paper to carefully lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool thoroughly before serving or storing. Note: The oven temp is 475 degrees and if you remember Ray Bradbury’s book, you will never forget paper burns at Fahrenheit 451. It will be brown, black and crispy. Be gentle.

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