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Friday, August 20, 2010

Everyday Bread #62 - an experimental loaf based on Doris Grant's Whole Wheat

Everyday Bread #62: My version of a Doris Grant Loaf
100% whole wheat, enriched

This was an experimental dough.

I was working with the basic Doris Grant loaf (which see), using some Myrtle Allen/James Beard techniques, and incorporating some of the enrichment of the King Arthur Whole Wheat Bread.

The recipe here gives 2 loaves.  The first one, I put in an ordinary buttered tin.  The second one, I wanted to try as a Lahey-style no-knead bread, as I have baked them before in a casserole dish.

  • 6ish c wwflour 900 g
  • 3 c water 671 g
  • 1/3 c honey 100 g
  • 2 tsp salt 7 g (kosher)
  • 1/3 c oil (68 g)
  • 2 TBSP yeast 27 g


I followed the general instructions of the Myrtle Allen/ James Beard bread, which is derived from Doris Grant: preheat the flour and bowl and tins and casserole dishes at your oven's lowest setting (mine goes only as low as 170 degrees F).

Heat water, honey and oil to about 110 degrees F.
Add yeast to some of this honey-water mix, and wait 5-10 minutes, awaiting it to bloom or froth.

Then take the flour and warm bowl from the oven and stir the yeast and water mixes into the warm flour, until the flour is hydrated.

If pouring into a buttered tin, do it now and let rise 30 minutes, covered.

If baking in a casserole dish, first put the dough on a couche-lined basket that has been dusted with bran, dust the top with more bran, and let rise 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 
If baking in a casserole dish, dump the dough from the couche into the hot casserole dish when the oven is preheated 30 minutes, and cover. 
Place tin or casserole into oven.

Bake for 20 minutes, and then place tinfoil over the loaf in the pan, and take off the lid of the casserole dish.  Bake another 20 minutes.
Remove from tin immediately if it will come easily; otherwise wait 5 minutes before trying again; if baking in a casserole dish, the bread should come out easily when inverted.
Rub butter on the top if you want a softer crust.

Cool on a rack.

My Experience:

The yeast didn't really froth, though I waited 11 minutes.  But I suspect that I activated it; I think that there was just so much yeast, it was too heavy to push up against the oiled water.  I placed the yeast in some hot water that I had melted the honey in, so the honey did drop the heat from between 110-120 degrees to about 100 degrees.  I think that that low temperature might have something to do with the way the yeast didn't jump to attention.

The dough in the pan really expanded quickly.  After 30 minutes, I saw it bulging the tea towel.  I felt good about preheating the oven at that point for the one in the tin.

I have some misgivings about the one in the couche-lined basket.  Lahey advises an 18 hour rise for a small amount of yeast, and I suspect that he is right about the taste developing over time.  However, it is nice to know that one can, in a pinch, in a hurry, use more yeast and get the job done.  It did rise well.  So much so that it was a bit tricky getting it out of the basket without overhandling the dough.

The bread in the tin got stuck as usual, even though this time I used butter and not coconut oil.  I think that it is just the dough: some sticking is just going to happen, no matter what.

I used some foil over the bread in the tin as it baked for the last 20 minutes, but even still it seemed to get a bit browner than the one in the casserole dish.

Neither loaf had much oven rise, although the one in the casserole dish did seem to expand a bit -- enough to take out some of the dough's wrinkles, caused by the couche.

The crumb is as nice as you would want from a 100% whole wheat sandwich loaf.  It is an enhanced dough, or enriched dough, but it is not sickly sweet., like I had complained about the King Arthur Flour loaf.  I think that it is not bad; I'm hoping that my wife will like it, as it is a compromise loaf.  I can still taste the whole wheat, but it is not very bitter.  I am particularly pleased with the way the one in the casserole dish turned out.

Notes to Myself
  • This is a much quicker made loaf than any of the other loaves I have made so far. You don't mess around trying to knead it. The 30 minute rise is sufficient when you use this much yeast.
  • Baking the loaf in the preheated casserole dish is a better idea since it doesn't stick as badly to the container.
  • This is an extremely wet dough, and I probably could have done without this much oil.
  • Try making this one with some seeds or nuts; and/or try precooking some grains so that their gums congeal a bit. Adjust the honey so it isn't quite so sweet (to your own taste).

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