Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Whole-Wheat Multigrain Sourdough Bread

sourdough, originally uploaded by Kim De.

Today's recipe is bread. I love bread! I enjoy the bread making process. We dont buy bread the grocery store anymore as I choose to make all our bread.

For the past few weeks I have been making "fast" breads from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. These recipes are good and are very quick and easy to make. They are brilliant on those weeks where I am incredibly busy. But after awhile, I begin to crave a MORE artisan bread - one that takes several hours to craft, and whose flavor reflects that. When I want such a bread, the first place I go is my King Arthur Whole Grain Baking Book. I decided not only did I want grains and seeds, but I wanted a sour bread. This bread fits the bill. It takes several hours to make, but the actual hands on time is minimal. It combines whole wheat and white bread flours, and it calls for sunflower seeds. If you want to venture into this type of crusty bread, this is a good recipe to start with!

Whole-Wheat Multigrain Sourdough Bread (Adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole-Grain Baking)

1/4 cup cracked wheat
1/4 cup cool water
1 cup ripe whole-wheat sourdough starter
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup unbleached bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water
1/4 cup sunflower seeds

THE NIGHT BEFORE YOU'RE READY TO BAKE, combine the cracked wheat and cool water in a small bowl. Cover and set aside to soak at room temperature until morning. Feed your starter.

THE MORNING OF BAKING DAY, combine the cracked wheat and all its water, the newly measured-out amount of ripe starter, the flours, salt, and HALF of the water in a large mixing bowl NOTE:add the whole amount if needed. Under most conditions the entire amount will probably be needed, but I was baking on a very wet and humid day

Once the ingredients are thoroughly combined, knead the dough, by hand or in the mixer, until the dough is springy and elastic, about 4 minutes. If you're kneading by hand, be sure not to incorporate more flour into the dough

Knead in the sunflower seeds once the dough is soft and elastic.

With the dough in its original bowl cover the bowl and LET IT RISE FOR ONE HOUR.

After an hour, the dough will be somewhat puffy, though not doubled in bulk. Turn it from the bowl onto a well-floured work surface and give it a double fold: pat it lightly into a rectangle with
floured hands, and use a bench scraper to fold both short ends in, just as you would fold a business letter; then fold the other sides in. This folding is comparable to "punching" the dough, but it's much more gentle, and it helps to build the dough's strength, as well as redistribute the carbon dioxide produced by the yeast. Return the dough to its bowl, folded side down, and LET IT RISE FOR ANOTHER HOUR.

While the dough is rising, heavily flour a banneton or a bowl or a colander lined with a linen towel. Remove the dough from the bowl and place it upon a very lightly floured pastry mat or other surface.

Flour your hands well and shape the dough into a round. Place it upside-down (seam side up, that is) in the floured banneton or tea towel; cover it and SET IT ASIDE TO PROOF FOR 2 1/2 HOURS.

ABOUT HALF AN HOUR BEFORE YOU'RE READY TO BAKE preheat your oven and baking stone to 425 degrees. Prepare the oven for steam: (I like to have a spray bottle with warm water to spray the inside of the oven)

When the dough is ready to bake, it will be very soft and will feel bubbly and full, and it will be slow to recover when you press it gently with floured fingers. Flip it from the banneton onto a parchment-lined baking peel. Gently brush away any excess flour with a soft, dry pastry brush

Slash the loaf with a very sharp blade. Use the peel to load the bread, parchment paper and all, onto the hot baking stone. Steam the oven by spraying the water into the oven. Quickly close the oven door.

18. Bake the bread for 35-40 minutes, or until it's browned and stays firm if you give it a gentle press or squeeze. (I like to "take its temperature and take it out at 185) Remove the bread from the oven; place it onto a rack and let it cool completely before slicing. (If you can!)

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