wheaty pan bread

March 3, 2012 § 2 Comments

I’m always looking for ways to incorporate whole grains into our diet, and since I enjoy baking and eating bread, that’s a convenient avenue for me. Last year, we became CSA members of Bluebird Grain Farms in Washington. And while that’s not a farm local to us, I’ve been really happy with the variety and quality of their grains and grain products, and we support good land stewardship this way. They use organic and biodynamic methods to grow and preserve heirloom grain varieties, milling their flours fresh for orders. I’m particularly fond of the emmer (farro) whole, split and cracked grains and flour. The flavor is nutty, slightly sweet and the whole grain has a toothsome chewiness. Learn more about Bluebird farm and a farro risotto recipe here or visit their website via my blogroll link. Yesterday I substituted Bluebird’s cereal blend of farro, rye and flax for the bulgur (cracked wheat) in my wheaty pan bread recipe. This can be a wet dough, depending on how your grain soaks up the water, so I recommend that you mix and knead in your mixer. If you must, add a little more white flour (all-purpose or bread) during the kneading process. The dough becomes less sticky with two bulk rises.

Here are the loaves just before and after baking. I’ve found this bread keeps better than most since the dough’s on the wet side and it has a little butter. The earthy sweetness of the molasses complements the depth of flavor of the grains. It has a lovely aroma and I love it toasted with butter!

Wheaty Pan Bread (makes 2 loaves)

1 cup (6 ounces) cracked wheat or other cracked grain or blend

2 cups (16 ounces) boiling water

3 cups (1 pound) all-purpose or bread flour

2 cups (10 ounces) whole wheat or emmer flour

1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

1 tablespoon salt

1 cup (8 ounces) milk or buttermilk

1/4 cup (3 ounces) molasses

3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) melted butter or olive oil

Pour the boiling water over the cracked grain, stirring to break up any clumps. Let sit, allowing the grain to soak and the water to cool to room temperature.

Place the dry ingredients (flours, salt and instant yeast) into a bowl and mix to blend. Place the cracked grain with the soaking water and the rest of the wet ingredients in the mixer bowl and mix with the flat beater to combine. Add the flour mixture and mix to combine, adding a little more white flour if the mixture seems too wet. Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed for 3-5 minutes until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. Turn the dough out onto a floured board, fold and return to the bowl (punch down) and let rise until doubled again, about an hour.

Butter two loaf pans. Turn the dough out on a floured board again, divide in half and shape into two “logs”. Place the loaves seam down into the pan and place the pans into a plastic bag so the loaves can rise without touching the plastic. Let rise 45-60 minutes while you preheat the oven to 400°F. Steaming the oven is optional for pan bread. When the loaves are well proofed, score down the middle and place in the oven on a baking stone if you have one. After 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 375°F and continue to bake for 30 minutes. Check the loaves by turning out of the pans to see if the sides and bottom have browned. Return the loaves (leave out of the pans) to the oven if needed; total baking time is 40-50 minutes. Lower the heat during baking if needed to prevent over-browning. Let cool to room temperature before slicing.

Slice of wheaty bread toasted with hazelnut butter and home-grown and homemade cherry preserves. Yum!

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