(The picture above is another Mark Luinenburg gem; Mark’s done the photography on our new book). Speaking of our new book…
… this has been a long and wonderful road; tomorrow (Tuesday October 27) is the publication date for:
We are thrilled with the early reviews, and already have already been on TV to talk about the book. On Amazon, the order window has changed from “Pre-Order” to “Order on Amazon”, and bookstores should have it (if they don’t please ask them to order it). It’s a book we wrote because people posted to us in this website and asked us for it (as in, “can you do something similar with more whole grains?”).
The answer: Yes, you can, but you have to make some changes. We’ll be talking more about this on our book tour, which starts tomorrow, and teaching classes about the changes you need to make to succeed with stored whole grain doughs (check our Events tab for details on cities, bookstores, and cooking schools). If you can’t wait, I’m walking through our whole grain Master Recipe here in this post today. I’ll cut to the chase: you need more water, and one extra ingredient called Vital Wheat Gluten (sometimes labeled “vital wheat gluten flour”), which is available in most supermarkets, or mail-order/on-line from anywhere…Whole grains can make for a drier results; all that bran soaks up water. So we increased the water for all the new recipes. But that was only part of it. If you want to be able to store whole grain dough, you need to boost the gluten content or the loaves tend to become dense over the life of the batch. Storing the dough is why our recipes are different (that’s what makes our method different). Vital wheat gluten makes whole grain dough springy enough to be stored in the refrigerator as a large batch. We found we weren’t crazy about the result until we started testing our approach with vital wheat gluten.
What is vital wheat gluten? It’s the protein-rich part of wheat that creates the strands that trap gas bubbles and allow yeasted bread to rise (and stay risen). It doesn’t take much vital wheat gluten to make a difference in a 4 to 5 pound batch of whole grain dough. Just 2 to 4 tablespoons are all you need, so while the whole bag or box may seem expensive, it doesn’t add much to the cost of baking (yeast is a more important expense, which is why we recommend that you buy it in bulk from a food co-op or from Costco).
So where do you get vital wheat gluten? Most supermarkets in larger towns and cities carry it. The two brands in U.S. supermarkets are Bob’s Red Mill and Hodgson Mill, and we tested those extensively. If your local store doesn’t carry vital wheat gluten, you can mail-order it from Amazon; click for either the Bob’s Red Mill product, or the Hodgson Mill product (you can also order directly from those companys’ websites). Amazon carries other vital wheat gluten brands but we’ve never tried them.
We are going to publish the basic whole grain recipe here on our website. Many, many more details are in the book, and we won’t be able to provide all that here on the web. The book also has plenty of recipes that are 100% whole grain; today’s recipe is about 73% whole grain:
5 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (can decrease)
1 tablespoon Kosher salt (can adjust to taste or health concerns)
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) vital wheat gluten (or vital wheat gluten flour)
4 cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees F)
1 to 2 tablespoons of whole seed mixture for sprinkling on top crust: sesame, flaxseed, caraway, raw sunflower, poppy, and or anise
First, measure the dry ingredients into a 5-quart bucket or bowl, and whisk them together (you can also use a fork, or if it’s lidded, just shake them well). Mixing the dry ingredients first prevents the vital wheat gluten from forming clumps once liquids are added:
Now add the water to form a very wet dough. Don’t add additional flour to dry this out:
Cover loosely (leave lid open a crack) and allow to rise for two hours at room temperature (if you decreased the yeast, you’ll need more time). NEVER PUNCH DOWN or intentionally deflate. The dough will rise and then begin to collapse. Refrigerate and use over the next 14 days, tearing off one-pound loaves as you need them.
On baking day, cut off a grapefruit-sized piece of dough (about a pound), using a serrated knife or a kitchen shears:
Now, quickly shape a loaf as you’ve seen in our videos on this website, or on our new Amazon site (but note that the Amazon video leaves out the crucial 90 minute resting time that I’ll talk about in a minute). Should take less than a minute— still pictures don’t do it justice, but basically, you pull the top around to the bottom, rotating quarter-turns as you go. DON’T KNEAD or otherwise knock all the gas out of the loaf:
Cover the loaf loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest on a pizza peel covered with cornmeal or parchment for 90 minutes (40 minutes if you’re using fresh, unrefrigerated dough. This is longer than our 1st book because whole grains take a longer rest than white doughs. Depending on the age of the dough, you may not see much rise; our loaves depend more on “oven spring.”
Thirty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C), with a baking stone placed on a middle rack. Place an empty broiler tray for holding water on any other rack that won’t interfere with rising bread.
Just before baking, use a pastry brush to paint the top with water (we’ve dropped the cornstarch wash) and sprinkle with seed mixture. Slash the loaf with 1/4-inch deep parallel cuts across the top (or a singe lengthwise cut as in the first picture). Use a serrated bread knife held perpendicularly to the loaf:
Slide onto the hot stone…
…and carefully pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray (in the book, we give alternatives for creating that steam environment, which is essential for creating a great crust):
After a 30-minute bake, cool on a cooling rack, and serve however you’d like. You have the basis for a complete, nutritious meal, bursting with healthy vegetable oils (from wheat germ), fiber (from wheat bran), and vitamins. We look forward to hearing more from you as people have questions about the book.
Zoe and I will be on Fox-9 News in Minneapolis-St. Paul tomorrow morning, at around 8:30am— Click here to view…
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