• Samanaa

Whole wheat bread

So, I was actually planning on adding a "Healthy Bakes" category to my web-page, which that was planned for a lot later. But on popular demand (😜), I'm kick-starting the bakes section with this most amazing whole wheat bread.


Before I start with the recipe, please bare with me as I have a few things to say. Firstly, all my bakes are free of Maida and Refined Sugar. I never gave it much thought as to what went inside the food before becoming a mother. Obviously, things changed once I started looking at labels (everybody should make this a habit) before buying anything for my tiny (motherhood does unimaginable things to you!) and was appalled by the chemicals and varieties of sugars that goes into packaged foods. And fortunately during the same time, I stumbled upon the term "healthy baking" and things changed forever and for good. There are so many healthy alternatives we can use with no compromise in taste and quality.


I've been baking bread at home for some time now and have experimented with about 8 recipes, before getting a satisfying result. And trust me when I say this, bread baking is therapeutic and addictive at the same time. It requires a lot of patience and precision. PLEASE USE STANDARD MEASURING CUPS AND FOLLOW THROUGH THE STEPS FOR BEST OUTCOME.



Cup measurement used – standard 1 cup = 240 ml


Ingredients:

For Autolysis

Whole wheat flour (loosely packed)(see Notes - N1) 3 1/3 cups

Water (for Autolysis) 1 1/4 cups


Others

Unrefined sugar/brown sugar/cane sugar/honey 1/4 cup

Instant dry yeast 2 1/4 tsp

Salt 2 tsp

Oil 2 tbsp

Additional water for kneading 2 tbsp


Method:

Mix in wheat flour and water (quantities given under "For Autolysis") and let it rest for 2-3 hours. You need not to knead the dough, but ensure that there are no dry flour pockets on the dough. Do read up more about Autolysis process if interested.

Ready for Autolysis

After 2-3 hours, mix in all the ingredients under "Others" list and start kneading the dough. At this point, the dough will be very sticky (which is exactly how it is supposed to be and helps with the the softness of the bread).

Sticky dough

Once the dough comes together, on a clean oiled counter-top or large bowl, start kneading the flour using stretch and fold method. After kneading for about 15 minutes (you may break in between), the dough will be considerably less sticky and workable. Generously oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, close the bowl with cling wrap and prep it for first rise.


Ready for first rise

The first rise might take about an hour (depending on the climate), so keep an eye till the dough doubles in size.


Once doubled, punch out the air and knead it again for 5 minutes (you may grease your hands with a little oil to avoid stickiness). After kneading, put it on generously flour dusted countertop and using a rolling pin, make a rectangle (the width of which is not more than the length of your bread tin) and roll it towards you. Now, tightly pinch the seams and transfer it to 1 large oil greased bread mould or 2 medium moulds (see notes) and cover it with cling wrap.

Rolling and shaping final log

Now the dough is ready for second rise.


Ready for second rise

This too shall take about 1 hour, again depending on the temperature in your kitchen. Once the dough doubles in size, you may sprinkle some mixed seeds (flax, sesame, pumpkin, melon, sunflower - your choice).


After second rise

Now pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees for at least 10 minutes and place the bread mould/s inside and bake for 30-40 minutes, depending on your oven settings. Mine was done in 30 minutes. Once done, take out the bread, demould it and let it cool on a cooling rack for at least an hour before slicing it (if you slice the bread when it's still warm, it might crumble, so wait till it completely cools). While the loaf is cooling, to make sure that the bread does not dry out, brush it with butter and cover it with a wet kitchen cloth (this ensures that the bread remains soft). Use a serrated knife to slice the bread and consume it the same day or the next. If you wish to store longer, you will have to refrigerate it and and toast it before consuming it.




Notes:

From my personal experience, I got the best result when I used Sharbati Gehu wheat flour, as opposed to normal Chakki flour.

If you do not have cling wrap handy, just cover the bowl with a plate, making sure that there is enough and more space for the dough to rise.

These breads were baked in a microwave oven in convection mode. I am unsure of the settings and temperature if you are using an OTG/cooker.

If you do not have bread tins, go ahead and use any good quality stainless steel cylindrical containers. I have used the above mentioned measurements to make 2 loaves of breads, one in bread tin and the other in steel container. While shaping cylindrical logs, tuck in the dough and place it seam-down. Again, please read your oven/OTG manual to check if using stainless steel vessels is safe.

Baking bread has its own learning curve. More you do, better you get at it, so don't be disheartened if your first attempt does not yield you bread like the ones commercially manufactured.

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