Bread Baking: Seedy Wheat Bread

[Photograph: Donna Currie]

I'm all for eating healthy food, but it also has to taste good. There's no way I'm going to gnaw my way through a pile of hay just because fiber is good for me. And, truthfully, I like the white breads that I make. If I'm going to eat a whole grain bread, it's got to be as good as those glorious fluffy crusty white breads.


Tips on Making this Recipe...
by hand-kneading »
in a stand mixer »
with a food processor »

Morning toast should not feel like penance, and of all the whole wheat breads I've made, this may be my favorite. It might be the inclusion of sesame seeds that tips the balance, but the bread itself has a nice texture—soft but not gummy or crumbly, with enough body to make it feel substantial. It has a pleasant wheaty flavor with none of the bitterness that sometimes creeps into baked goods made from whole wheat.

The downside of this bread is that it needs to be planned in advance since the whole wheat flour gets an overnight soak in water, but there's little work involved in that.

Whole wheat flour absorbs a lot more water than white flour, and whole wheat flours are not as consistent as bread or all purpose flours, so you might need to adjust the amount of flour or water in the final dough to compensate.

About the author: Donna Currie has been cooking for fun and writing for pay since the days when typewritten articles traveled by snail mail. When she combined those talents in a food column for a newspaper in her area, she realized that writing about food is almost as much fun as eating. She most recently launched the blog Cookistry and has now joined the Serious Eats team with a weekly column about baking.

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Bread Baking: Seedy Wheat Bread

About This Recipe

Ingredients

  • 8 1/2 ounces (about 2 cups) whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups water, divided
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 3 3/8 ounces (1/2 cup plus about 2 tablespoons) bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Procedures

  1. 1

    Combine the whole wheat flour and 1 cup of water in bowl of stand mixer. Cover with plastic and allow to rest at room temperature over night.

  2. 2

    The next day, combine the remaining 1/4 cup of water, yeast, and brown sugar in small container and set aside for 10 minutes until it is foamy. Add yeast mixture to whole wheat mixture. Add bread flour. Knead with dough hook until the dough is elastic, about 10 minutes on low speed. Add butter, salt, and sesame seeds and continue kneading until fully incorporated, about 2 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled, about 50 minutes.

  3. 3

    Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle cornmeal on a baking sheet. Turn the dough out onto floured work surface. Knead briefly, then form into desired shape. Place on baking sheet seam-side down and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside to rise until doubled, about 25 minutes.

  4. 4

    Remove the plastic wrap, slash as desired, and bake at 350 degrees until browned and center registers 210 degrees on an instant read thermometer, about 40 minutes. Cool completely on a rack before slicing.

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