I was trying to hold off on posting another bread recipe considering this post is on the heals of this post, but I couldn’t resist. This bread is so good! Seriously! I’m so proud of myself for succeeding in baking not one, but two different kinds of bread!
Ok, enough exclamation points. In the process of baking this bread, I have learned all kinds of things about flour. I’m no expert yet, but I do know that the amount of protein in your flour will determine how ‘doughy’ and delicious your bread is. Basically, you need that little protein known as gluten to form the structure of the bread. Also, to activate the gluten, you need to knead. After a good five minutes or so of kneading, your dough will become less sticky and sort of elastic – that’s because the gluten is activated!
Ok, so which flours contain gluten? The wheat ones, to start, though the protein content varies. Whole wheat flour has a ton of gluten, all purpose flour has less. Some manufacturers make ‘bread flour’, which has even more gluten than whole wheat flour. One thing to note here – regular white flour is apparently lighter than wheat, which is why white breads are often fluffier – the light weight makes it easier to rise. BUT, there is a solution – white whole wheat. This flour is milled from the soft winter wheat berry instead of the more traditional red wheat berry. It is just as nutritious, but it is lighter and has a milder flavor – ie, it’s delicious!
So, after learning all these things, I started experimenting. The first loaf I baked is the one I’m posting here – it turned out the best, though I can’t quite figure out why yet. More experiments and perhaps a control group are needed. My friend Caroline sent me this recipe, and I modified it just a bit to accommodate all the flours in my pantry. My version is below.
White Whole Wheat Rosemary Bread
adapted from Caroline’s recipe
1 1/2 cups room temperature water
3/4 tbs salt
3/4 tbs yeast
3 tsp rosemary, plus a few extra to sprinkle on the top
1 cup white whole wheat flour (I have King Arthur’s brand for all my flours)
1 1/4 cup bread flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp vital wheat gluten (this could probably be omitted, but I used it, so it’s posted)
Preheat an oven to 350.
Dissolve the yeast and salt in the water and let sit for a few minutes or until the yeast gets kind of foamy. Then mix in the rest of the ingredients and mix to form a ball of dough. Spread some flour out on a clean surface and knead for five to ten minutes. The dough should get less stick and sort of springy. Put the ball of dough in an oiled bowl and let rise for 4 hours. I usually just let it rise overnight.
When the dough doubles in size, form it into whatever shape you want, or use a bread pan. Just for vanity, make some slits in the top of the bread using a knife and sprinkle some extra rosemary on the top. Bake for about 35 minutes, then rip a chunk off and enjoy!