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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Everyday Bread #14

Everyday Bread: An Experimental Whole Wheat Loaf using Lahey's methods

I had it in my mind that I would use some nutritional yeast in the crust of a whole wheat loaf, as an experiment using Lahey's methods.  While putting it together, I thought that it might also be used as an ingredient in the dough.  It turned out to be better in the dough than on the crust.  This is the best whole wheat bread I've made yet, in my opinion.

  • 3 c whole wheat flour (462 g)
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt ( 8 g)
  • 1/4 tsp yeast ( - )
  • 1 c water (228 g)
  • 1 1/3 c buttermilk ( 288 g)
  • 1/2 c nutritional yeast flakes (26 g)
  • For the crust: mix 1/2 c nutritional yeast flake and 1/2 c bran

Stir it together, and let it ferment, covered, for over 12 hours at room temperature.  It will be slow to rise, but it will eventually double.  When it has, it will still be very wet.  Form it into a ball as best as you can, and place it in a linen lined with a bran-yeast mixture.  Place the linen in a basket so that it will not spread.  After 2 hours, cook in a high-temperature oven-safe pot with a lid on it for 30 minutes at 475 degrees.  Then take the lid off and bake another 15-20 minutes.

The crumb is actually quite airy for a 100% whole wheat loaf, and it tastes marvelous.  The crust is just about the right consistency: supportive when one needs to cut it, not so hard that one would break a tooth on it.  On the other hand, the crust does taste a bit bitter, and it is burned in areas.  Wonder if it would be possible to coat the top of the loaf with buttermilk or yogurt instead of bran?  This would have to be done when it is put into the pot to bake.

Notes to Myself:
  • Maybe it is the buttermilk that makes the loaf so airy.  Does the nutrtional flake have any effect on the taste at all?  Try leaving it out in another experiment, to see if it tastes as good as this loaf.
  • Change the crust: perhaps it may be possible to coat yogurt or an egg wash on the surface of this loaf -- perhaps when the lid is removed for the final 15-20 minutes.
  • Is there a way to score these loaves so that they break apart in a more controlled way?
  • Try baking one of these with a few blobs of cheese curd mixed into the dough, to see what will happen.

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