I have been baking for some years now yet the pleasure of baking a loaf of bread with whole wheat continues unabated. It’s exciting to see a perfect loaf coming out of the oven.
On the risk of being repetitive, I would say that baking is therapeutic. Any bake be it a bread or a cake holds your full attention as every ingredient should be measured with precision before mixing. And then they are mixed either by whipping or folding. Every step is important as the accuracy leads to a beautiful, delicious bake. Its meditation almost:) or do I make it sound more calming? Decide yourself by baking a loaf of bread.
Baking a loaf of bread is simple as all the ingredients are available in Indian kitchens. Just buy a good quality yeast and bake a bread at home. Does it appear easy? Easy it is.
I have again used autolyse. Earlier I have shared a recipe of dinner rolls with autolyse here. Wheat flour is soaked for 20-60 mins. It breaks down on its own and the results in a very soft whole wheat bread.
Whole wheat flour 425 g
Water 300 ml +2 tbsp if the dough is dry
Instant dry yeast 1 tsp
Honey 2 tbsp
Salt 1.5 tsp
Milk powder 2 tbsp
Olive oil or any other oil 2 tbsp
Sunflower and flax seeds 2 tbsp
Milk for milk wash 2 tbsp
Take 300 g of flour and soak it in water leaving half a cup for proofing the yeast. I kept it for 40 mins.
Meanwhile, take half cup lukewarm water and dissolve honey in it. Mix 1 tsp of yeast and keep it aside till it froths.
Mix milk powder, salt, remaining flour and proofed yeast to the soaked mixture. Make a dough using your hands.
The dough will be sticky in the beginning. Knead it gently on a surface adding little oil gradually. Avoid adding flour at this stage. The dough will be soft after kneading for about 10 mins. Kneading should be done gently using the stretch and fold method. The dough should spring back when poked.
Keep it in a greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a cling film or a wet towel. It will take around 1 hr to double in size. The rising time depends on temperature. In cold weather, it may take longer.
After the first rise, deflate the dough and spread it on a floured surface. Roll it into a log. Keep it in a parchment paper-lined bread tin with the seam facing down.
The second rise takes around 40 mins. Preheat the oven for 10 mins at 200’C. Brush the loaf with milk. Sprinkle with sunflower and flax seeds.
Bake the loaf for 30 to 35 mins. If the loaf is getting brown fast, tent it with aluminium foil. Apply butter on the loaf once you take it out from the oven. This makes the crust soft.
Cool the loaf on a wire rack. Cut it after 2 hrs. To store, wrap it in two layers of cling film.
The amount of water that is needed to make dough may vary as different flours have different water requirements. A lesser amount of water is needed during summers or in humid conditions.
The time needed for the first and second rise can be different depending on the room temperature. During winters, the dough can be kept in a warm oven to rise.
The colour of the outer crust depends on the type of sweetener used. A bread made with honey browns faster. Watch carefully and tent with aluminium foil.
Baking time may vary for different ovens.