Thursday, March 29, 2012
for the last year or so i have been dabbling in baking bread. i had some great successes, but not in the whole grain department. whenever i baked a loaf of 100% whole grain bread it came out like a brick. too heavy and dense. it was good fresh out of the oven with honey and butter, but terrible for sandwiches or toast.
i gave up baking our bread for a while. i felt torn between eating healthy bread or baking our bread. i started looking at the ingredients for our local 100% whole grain bread that was fantastic as toast and sandwich bread and realized that there was something listed there that i wasn't using: vital wheat gluten. apparently white flour has more available gluten in it than whole grain flour, which makes softer and springier. adding the vital wheat gluten to whole grain flour adds the softness and springiness to the whole grains, while still retaining all of the whole grain flavor and health benefits. awesome!
i found a recipe that has revolutionized my home bread baking. i also just picked up two books from the library that use vital wheat gluten in some of the recipes, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes A Day (i loved their first book) and The Bread Baker's Apprentice. i haven't really gotten into them yet though.
here's the recipe i used, found here in the comments section:
makes two small loaves
4 1/2 C whole wheat flour, plus more for kneading
2 tsp salt
2 T gluten
2 C very warm water
2 1/2 tsp dry active yeast
2-4 T oil
2-4 T honey
Knead about 10 minutes. Make sure you don't add much flour in the last 5 minutes of kneading. Rise until doubled (60-90 minutes). Punch down, knead lightly, rise again until doubled (around 45 minutes).
Shape loaves or buns. Make sure the tops have surface tension when you shape them. Rise another hour or so.
Slash tops of loaves with a razor blade right before baking. Put in preheated 425F oven. Turn down to 325 after 10 minutes, bake another 20 minutes or so.