Friday, July 15, 2011

Molasses Wheat Bread

Admittedly, the name doesn't quite roll off the tongue and invoke pleasant childhood memories as say, honey wheat bread. But every cookbook seems to have a honey wheat bread in it so I decided to swim against the mainstream while I worked on this bread. I took a little bit from Mr Hamelman's "Bread" and a lot from recipes on TFL.

This is the third recipe I've worked on using my abundant supply of active dry yeast. Ironically, I also set out to see how little yeast I could use on a loaf and get away with it. This loaf needed all of 3/8 tsp, that's teaspoon, for a complete rise and proof.

The bread tastes great. It has a nice soft crumb and speaking from experience, it's a great sandwich loaf. The recipe is added below and fairly complete, competition ready for the County Fair.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

Molasses Wheat Bread

85 g whole wheat flour
85 g water at 85F
1/8 tsp active dry yeast

125 g whole wheat flour
125 g water
< 1/16 tsp, a small pinch, kosher salt

250 g bread flour
95 g water at 85F
15 g, 1 Tbs, unsalted butter, rubbed into the bread flour
15 ml, 1 Tbs, unsulphured medium molasses
8 g kosher salt
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
170 g poolish
250 g soaker

  1. Sprinkle ADY over top of water for poolish and let hydrate until bloom. If you are using IDY, add the yeast to the flour and mix in the water without hydrating the yeast. Add WW flour and stir well. Cover and sit at room temperature for 6-10 hours until doubled in size and bubbles are forming on the surface.
  2. Assemble soaker in a small bowl by dissolving salt in water and mixing in flour thoroughly. Cover and let sit at room temperature while poolish develops.
  3. When your poolish is ready, add the molasses to the water in a separate bowl and dissolve thoroughly. The water may need to be warmed up in a microwave to assist in this. When the water/molasses liquid is at or below 95F, sprinkle the ADY over the top of the liquid and let the yeast hydrate for at least 10 minutes. This step is intentional.
  4. Cut the soaker into small chunks and add to your mixer bowl. Add the poolish to the mixer bowl. Add the molasses/water/yeast slurry to the bowl. Briefly mix the ingredients with a spatula or dough hook. Add the bread flour to the bowl and mix to a shaggy mass, about 45-60 seconds. Cover and let autolyse 20-30 minutes.
  5. Add salt and mix at first speed for 3 minutes. Adjust water or flour 1 Tbs at a time if needed. Mix at second speed for 4 minutes. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 30 seconds. Shape into a ball, place in an oiled bowl, and cover.
  6. Bulk ferment for 2 hours. Stretch and fold at 40 and 80 minutes. At 120 minutes, turn out onto lightly floured surface and preshape into a ball. Cover and let the gluten relax for 10 minutes.
  7. Shape into a boule or batard and place into a floured banneton or on a couche. Cover and proof at room temperature for 60-90 minutes depending on air temperature. A covered, retarded proof can be done in a refrigerator.
  8. Preheat your oven, with a baking stone on the middle shelf, to 450F. When the loaf is proofed, place on a corn meal dusted peel or on parchment paper. Spray the top of the loaf with water and slash.
  9. Load the loaf into the oven and bake at 450F for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 425F for the next 5 minutes. Remove the parchment paper if you're using it and turn the loaf around. Continue baking at 425F for 5 minutes. Lower the temperature to 400F and bake for at least 15 minutes or the internal temperature reaches 202F.
  10. Remove the loaf and place on a wire rack to cool for at least 3 hours.

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